STEWIE! BBQ Beefy Short Rib Brunswick Stew

Rabbit-Free Brunswick Stew

Sorry, I needed to clarify that before proceeding.

Okay, the GIF. Wrong Stew-ie, but I love that little, animated guy.  What other evil baby’s cheeks could you pinch while he devises a plan for a  trebuchet that launches machetes directly at Lois?

This brings us to this month’s Daring Cooks challenge..the ‘STEW’ in the STEWIE, Brunswick stew!  I love stew; all kinds of stew, all kinds of meats in stews, but not wabbit (yes, I meant to type ‘wabbit’).  The thing is, Brunswick stew is sometimes known for being bunnylicious.  Granted, there are all kinds of meats you can use in this stew, from chicken to pork to turkey, some with bunny, some without, but in my stew, no bunny, thank you.  Never tried rabbit, do not want to try rabbit, and will never ever try rabbit.*


Maybe it’s the fluffiness or quivering nose, or maybe it’s the fact that I used to have guinea pigs (not in the same family, but sort of similar, right?) guinea piglets that had cute, little fluff ball babies. I don’t know the reason for sure, but they’re so soft and poofy that I don’t see them as something that needs to be basted with my gastric juices or something that will make me burp. They’re adorable pets to me, not food.

I know, my ‘chef meter’ just bottomed out.

Beef (Short Rib) Brunswick Stew loaded with awesome veggies, in a rich BBQ gravy.

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

Ingredients for Beef Short Rib Brunswick stew

Brunswick stew is a super thick stew with a colorful, sometimes debated, history, loaded with meat(s), rich stock, veggies and I suppose whatever suits your taste in terms of spices, heat, and a little something acidic to cut the richness. According to definition, this stew is supposed to be thick enough that ‘the paddle stands up in the middle’.  This stew is also categorized as sometimes using beef. In other words, it really seems to stress bunny, pork, and/or chicken, and even squirrel in some parts.

Well, since my squirrel slingshot is broken**, I decided to go with the least authentic or expected Brunswick stew meat, the one with the label of sometimes prefacing it; the low meat on the Brunswick totem poleBeef. However, not just any cut of beef; short ribs, a marbled cut on the bone that morphs into amazing bites of succulent and tender manna when slowly braised.

Beef (Short Rib) Brunswick Stew loaded with awesome veggies, in a rich BBQ gravy.

I started by cutting the meat from the bone into bite sized chunks, then using the short rib bones, first roasted under the broiler, then simmered with vegetables and herbs to make a beautiful, rich, 8 to 12-hour long simmered beef bone stock. I omitted the beans from the recipe, and added parsnips, a mix of mushrooms like cremini and beefy portobellos, and some fresh herbs like thyme and parsley. I also used cut up grape tomatoes in lieu of the larger whole tomatoes (less liquid = an overly chunky stewie) and kept some of the corn on the cob, sliced into disks. The latter was mostly for presentation because, well, unless you eat cob (or like to crack your teeth or break your jaw), it’s pretty impossible to stick a fork in it, and the small round makes for difficult cob cleaning nibbles. It is possible, albeit awkward!

What led me to this idea was memories of this amazing Sancocho ‘stew’ we used to get in the South Bronx, with corn on the cob, sazon seasoning and sofrito. I need to get me some of that soon!

Anyway, they kept the corn on the cob larger than disks.  What was I thinking? DISKS??

Do NOT make my mistake, which you see in the photos. Cut all the corn OFF the cob, or do NOT cut the corn on the cob into disks! Cut it larger than a disk!!

Beef (Short Rib) Brunswick Stew loaded with awesome veggies, in a rich BBQ gravy.I found these retro 70’s looking things (uhh, ashtrays?) in a box in my parent’s attic. Probably not the best or prettiest choice to photograph and serve this stew in. A What was I thinking? MOMENT.

The final touch to the stew was homemade BBQ sauce.  No idea why, but I just felt it needed a little BBQ sauce stirred in. The stew turned out absolutely delicious, the short rib meat melt-in-your-mouth tender, the vegetables sweet and succulent, and yes, a paddle, well, a fork, stood up in the middle of it. Was my take on Brunswick stew really Brunswick stew? Would I be turned away from Brunswick stew competitions if I tried to enter? Would mountain folk throw rabbit feet at me?  Probably. Regardless, I will be making this again, tonight in fact, due to several requests for more.

BBQ ALL Beef (Short Rib) Brunswick Stew loaded with potatoes and veggies, in a rich, slow simmered, homemade short rib stock! BBQ Beef Rib Brunswick Stew

For the ‘bunnylicious’ or other meat(s) recipes for Brunswick Stew, click HERE. Oh, and don’t forget to drizzle and stir your favorite BBQ sauce into my version of the stew! It really amps it up! If you want to make it from scratch, you can try THIS ONE on my site.

* Yes, I think cows, piggies and chickens are cute too, but I don’t often see them bouncing through my yard or hanging out in pet shops. In fact, whenever I encounter and pet cows, piggies or chickens, I can’t eat them until the memory subsides, which sometimes lasts months!

** Just a joke, I do not own a squirrel slingshot, nor do I kill or eat squirrel. There’s always that one person who might take me seriously.

STEWIE! BBQ Beef Rib Brunswick Stew
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 12 servings
Make the stock the day before you will making this stew, so it can chill overnight for easier 'defatting'. Also, of course you can use your favorite beef stock if you don't feel like making this beef rib stock, but the time it takes is SO worth it!
Short Rib Stock
  • Bones from 5 lbs short ribs (after you cut the meat off, obviously lol)
  • 1 large parsnip, cut into chunks
  • 1 large carrot, cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large stalk of celery, cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a few whole sprigs of thyme and parsley
  • ¼ lb slab bacon, rough diced
  • 2 Serrano, Thai or other dried red chiles, stems trimmed, sliced, seeded, flattened
  • All the raw beef chunks cut off the short ribs
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt for seasoning, plus extra to taste
  • 2-3 quarts beef short rib stock (ingredients above - (recipe below)
  • 2 Turkish Bay leaves
  • 2 large celery stalks
  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, or other waxy type potatoes, peeled, rough diced
  • ¾ cup carrots (about 3 small carrots), peeeled and chopped
  • ¾ cup parsnips (about 3) peeled and chopped
  • 3½ cups onion (about 4 medium onions) peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob (about 4 ears)
  • 3 cups chopped mixed mushrooms (your favorites)
  • 4 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half, or just roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Tabasco sauce to taste, if desired
  • BBQ sauce to drizzle
  1. Cut all the meat off the short ribs, then cut the meat into chunks, and set aside in a bowl, covered in the fridge, until ready to make the stew.
Make short rib stock
  1. Arrange the short rib bones on a shallow baking sheet and rub both sides with oil, then lightly season both sides with kosher or sea salt and black pepper. Make sure they're in a single layer, none overlapping (as best you can. If it's not possible, do it in batches.) Place under a preheated broiler and cook about 6 to 8 minutes, Turn each bone over and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes, until brown. Place the bones on a platter or in a bowl and pour some water into the hot baking sheet to deglaze it, scraping up all the meat scraps, fond and juices. Set aside.
  2. In a large stock pot, drizzle some oil at the bottom and bring it to a sizzle. Throw in all the vegetables. Cook until all the vegetables brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add all the browned short rib bones on top of the browned vegetables and pour in cold water until just covered. Pour all the scraped up scraps and fond from the baking sheet on top of the ribs, vegetables and water. Now add more water until the bones are completely covered. Add in the bay leaves and a few sprigs of thyme and parsley, and about a tablespoon of whole black peppercorns. Stir in the tablespoon of tomato paste. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. When it boils, turn down the heat to low and let simmer for 4 to 8 hours, 12 at the most (if you have the time) for a really flavorful rich stock!
  3. Place a large strainer over a large bowl or pot and very slowly all the stock with the vegetables, bay leaves and herbs, into it. Pouring it slowly keeps it more clear for some reason. When you pour it in fast, it results in some foam. Once you strain all the bones, meat bits, vegetables, bay leaves and herbs from the stock, discard them. Leave the stock alone for about a half hour to let all the impurities settle at the bottom. Strain it a second time through a fine mesh strainer. over another large pot or bowl. Pour very slowly as you do not want the impurities on the bottom to get into the strained stock. Dump the impurities at the bottom into the trash.
  4. Let the stock cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight to let the fat rise to the top and solidify so you can spoon/pull it off easily. The stock will be gelatinous. Warm it gently to loosen it up before adding to the stew.
  5. You should have about 4 quarts of stock. You will need 2 to 3 quarts for the stew, so freeze the leftover quart or 2 of stock for later use in something else.
Make the stew
  1. In the largest stockpot you have, 10-12 quart or even a Dutch Oven, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until it just starts to crisp. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside. Reserve most of the bacon fat in your pan, and with the pan on the burner, add in the chiles. Toast the chiles until they just start to smell good, or make your nose tingle, about a minute tops. Remove to bowl with the bacon.
  2. Season liberally both sides of the short rib chunks with sea salt and pepper. Place the beef in the pot, a little at a time as not to crowd the pan because you don't want to steam them, you want to sear off all sides of the beef (you just want to brown them, not cook them completely.) Remove the beef chunks to the bowl with bacon and chiles. Set aside.
  3. Add 2 cups of your short rib (beef) stock to the pan to deglaze it, making sure to get all the delicious, brown goodness that cooked onto the bottom of the pan (the fond) scraped up. The stock will become a nice rich dark color and start smelling good. Bring it up to a boil and let it boil away until reduced by at least half. Add your remaining stock, the bay leaves, celery, bacon, chiles and any liquid that may have gathered at the bottom of the bowl they were resting in. Bring the pot back up to a low boil/high simmer, over medium/high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover, remember to stir every 15 minutes, give or take, to thoroughly meld the flavors. Simmer, on low, for approximately 1 ½ tto 2 hours. The celery will be very limp, as will the chiles. Taste the stock. It should taste like the best beef soup you’ve ever had!
  4. With a pair of tongs, remove the short rib chunks to a colander over the bowl you used earlier. Be careful, as by this time, the beef will be very tender and may start to fall apart.
  5. Remove the bay leaf, celery, chiles, bacon with a slotted spoon, and discard.
  6. Return the meat to the pot. Add in your carrots, parsnips and potatoes, and stir gently, allowing the stew to come back to a slow simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, for at least 25 minutes, or until the carrots, potatoes and parsnips have started to soften.
  7. Add in your onion, mushrooms, corn and tomatoes. As you add the tomatoes, crush them up; be careful not to squirt juice straight up into the air, which would require the cleaning of the entire stove top! Simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring every so often until the stew has reduced slightly, and the onions, mushrooms, and corn are tender. Remove from heat and add in the vinegar and lemon juice. Stir to blend in well. Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce if desired.
  8. You can either serve immediately or refrigerate for 24 hours, which makes the flavors meld more and makes the overall stew even better. Serve hot with a drizzle on the top of each bowl of stew of homemade (or your favorite sore-bought) BBQ sauce, stirring some of it into the stew.

BBQ ALL Beef (Short Rib) Brunswick Stew loaded with potatoes and veggies, in a rich, slow simmered, homemade short rib stock!

I also made this stew in an instant pot for instant pot beef short ribs. Hmm, it was ok; I just prefer things made the old-fashioned way.

This entry was posted in Beef, Daring Cooks, Dinner, Lunch, Soups/Stews, Vegetables and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to STEWIE! BBQ Beefy Short Rib Brunswick Stew

  1. Summer says:

    Hey buddy dear….i love that pic ,the cute part of it………..Lisa gurl,didn i tell ya u rock…u always do ……what a delicious stew u have popping here ….absolutely delicious…love that corn and the pic of the basket with the veggies…can i come with u to pic veggies from the garden too ………

  2. jo says:

    Haha .. the little guy looks like in a daze. Must have been the BBQ short ribs. I would too .. so give me some, give me some. Love your version totally! What a great recipe!

  3. Wic says:

    I adore you, you little bunny friend.
    it looks delicious and I love the presentation.

  4. angelica says:

    excellent choice to go with beef, it sounds delish! And I totally agree with you on the “wabbit”. I’m not particularly fond of them but the thought of cooking (and eating) them just feels………wrong! Great job on the challenge 😀

  5. Rosa says:

    That stew look really nourishing and delicious!



  6. shellyfish says:

    I’m so glad you don’t really have a sling shot! Well, except for self defense, because that’s different. You passed the spoon test! Missed you! 🙂 Glad to be back.

  7. innBrooklyn says:

    Good looking stew! i love how pretty the corn looks on the cob.
    Its funny to read about everyone’s different reactions to the rabbit. I decided to give it a try myself to see how it was and thought I was so very daring. then I read audax’s post and realised crocodile was a much bolder choice!

  8. Anula says:

    Great looking stew! I love your presentation 🙂
    Cheers. Anula.

    P.S. I also LOVE that little guy Stewie – that’s the main reason why I watch Family Guy… 😉

  9. 5 Star Foodie says:

    The stew looks so good and I love your presentation! Just perfect with the homemade BBQ sauce!

  10. Balise says:

    Awesome pictures, I’m hungry just looking at them. And the BBQ sauce is very intriguing to me, I may thy this with my leftovers 🙂

  11. Hmm, I will definitely pass on the rabbit too. No thank you! And that goes double for squirrel. But I will take a lovely little serving of your beefy stew. What a fun idea to add the BBQ sauce and I love the way you’ve presented it in those lovely little glasses. Looks like a winner to me!

  12. Evelyne says:

    So what is your address again? I am coming over for a bowl of stew NOW! love your creativity on this one.

  13. What glorious photographs of stew I love the cherry tomatoes and the mini corn cobs superb effort and your photography is so colour and vibrant well done. LOL LOL about the sling shot we don’t have squirrels here in Australia but we get koala but nobody is going to make one of those into stew for the same reason you said too cute and furry. Excellent work my dear Lisa. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  14. ap269 says:

    Loved reading your post. Hope you won’t kill me, but I did use rabbit in the stew. And guess what, we even have guinea pigs at home. Don’t worry, we had 2 before I made the stew and both of them are still alive. I’ve heard that in South America they eat guinea pigs. Now, THAT is something I would NOT try. ;o)

  15. Sophie says:

    Hello dear!

    what a colourful & flavourful stew this certainly is!!

    Superb food!

    MMMMM,…many grets from sunny Brussels!

  16. chef_d says:

    I love love love your version of brunswick stew! Looks so extra yummy!

  17. mangiodasola says:

    Wow. Wow. Wow. You keep amazing me with your challenges. You really did a good job on this one, too!!! The stew looks perfect and so rich.

  18. Wolf says:

    Lovely, lovely job!

    I so want to try your version now.}:P

  19. Megan says:

    This stew looks absolutely mouthwatering! I love the big pieces of corn in there and all the veggies… and I think short ribs were a good substitution for squirrel. 🙂 Thyme and sage are two of my favorite herbs… it all looks and sounds amazing!

  20. GasGrillChef says:

    Well, now I’m hungry! Thanks. I looks great!

  21. Great photos! I love seeing the chunks of corn and tomatoes in the stew. I never think about corn on the cob just cut into chunks like that but I bet it actually makes a big difference in flavor 🙂

  22. Shelley says:

    Well heck! Short ribs call out to me for BBQ sauce, too, so I think it makes perfect sense! I love your take on this stew – it looks so yummy and filling. Awesome job on the challenge!

  23. Valerie says:

    Fabulous stew! I love the corn kept on the cob, and the short ribs (I tried to get some, couldn’t find any). And the BBQ sauce is a great addition!

    And, having owned a bunny for 9 years, I can only agree with your refusal to cook with rabbit (although, I have eaten it, as a child – and objectively, it doesn’t taste bad).

  24. climbhighak says:

    I guess I am that one person. Squirrel tastes just like a skinny rabbit. Rabbit is wonderful. You saw my rabbit post, if that didn’t change your mind then I don’t know what would.

    Your choice of shortrib was truly inspired. I have been reading about a burger at spotted pig that uses a blend of ground shortrib that looks and sounds out of this world.

    Why is it that I kept thinking of the conversation in ‘Pulp Fiction’ between Travolta and Jackson about the merits of pigs and dogs while reading your post?

  25. Arlette says:

    Hello My friend
    What a gorgeous and yummy stew… loaded with fresh veggies and topped with BBQ Ribs…what is better than that…you gathered all the yummy flavours in one dish…Talk about the dish and the amazing photos…

    I love your presentation… oh by the way… I did taste the rabbit one time… to be honest the meat is very dry… we didnt enjoy it… I recommend moose ,deer or venison

  26. Jamie says:

    Gosh, I used to eat southern-style Brunswick Stew at a local BBG joint when I was a kid and have always sworn that I’ll make it one day but never have. Now here you are rubbing my nose in this luscious Brunswick Stew! Delicious! Gotta make it now! And seriously? Rabbit? I love it! Just buy it naked and headless and you’ll never know that you are eating a bunny! *hugs*

  27. Jamie says:

    Oh p.s. I added you to my sidebar faves blogroll! I love reading your posts!

  28. shaz says:

    Err..will you stop talking to me if I admit to liking wabbit? It’s easier over here cos they’re considered pests. Anyhoo…that looks like one awesome stew ! Never heard of Brunswick stew before but if it looks this good, I’m hoein in 🙂

  29. Hilary says:


    Your site is wonderful! I had no idea you were quite the photographer as well as cook. I’m still waiting to see the photos of those incredible asparagus quiches you made for my formal “informal” baby shower! The girls are still talking about them, including my picky Mom!

    Thank you so much, again!!

  30. Lori says:

    HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. Let me just dig in to that.

  31. MandyM says:

    For some reason, when I think of stew, I only ever think of lamb or beef. Using short rib sound incredible though! Looks fantastic Lisa! 🙂

  32. Sue says:

    Such a colorful “stick to your ribs(no pun intended)” stew! I’ll have a bowl, please! 🙂

  33. Oooh, this looks good. The colours are great. Hearty comfort food at its peak!
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    *kisses* HH

  34. Honestly, I haven’t seen Brunswick stew with rabbit in a long time. Your stew looks great.

  35. I love Stewie! LOL! And your pictures are magazine-worthy. Great job, as always.

  36. One look at that hunky BBQ slathered stew and I’m ready for summer. In a bowl. And a beer. Wow!

  37. Elle says:

    Short ribs really are the perfect cut for long slow cooking…so your stew probably WOULD pass the Brunswick Stew test, if there was such a thing. Very pretty, too with the bright colors of the veg.

  38. Jenni says:

    Great job on the stew!! Love the idea of BBQ Short rib stew! Definitely still southern and hearty! I bet it was delicious!

  39. Your stewie looks fantastic Lisa! 😉 Haha I do love Stewie, he’s so devilishly good as is the idea of using beef short ribs too!

  40. Juliana says:

    Oh Lisa, what a great looking stew…the colors of this dish are so vibrant and inviting…cannot resist, I want to dig in it…

  41. I am crazy over short ribs. They make the most amazing dishes with their succulent layers of fat. The dish looks yummy – but Stewie is the star. Beavie would love Stewie!
    Will you make it again? Obviously the answer is yes, and what better reference is that for trying it out?

  42. I have a lot of food issues (picky eater), but for some weird reason, I don’t mind eating rabbit. Makes no sense. But, I completely understand your point of view. Your stew looks great with the pieces of corn and grape tomatoes!

  43. suezumout says:

    Your stew looks so good! I love the mini corn cobs. Short ribs look like the way to go.
    OK Stewie cracks me up! A friend won a Stewie doll at an amusement park for my 7 year old daughter and now Stewie’s her favorite pal. She has no idea how devious and offensive he is. She thinks he is the cutest thing ever.

  44. I am so glad to come back from holiday to enjoy your Brunswick Stew. Totally solid and delicious (as great as I have expected, everytime)…

    Sawadee from Bangkok,

  45. Dan says:

    Not a stew fan but the vegtables and colors are beautiful. Your photos are really good and love the wine in the background – makes me want to eat it regardless of my vegetarian preference.

  46. Michelle says:

    Wow. That’s beautiful!

  47. Esther says:

    The stew looks wonderful. I failed to make it due to hosting Daring Bakers this month but may have to try it later. Sorry to hear you arn’t well and hope you get well real soon !

  48. Denise says:

    This is the embodiment of comfort food, Lis. Love the touch of Barbecue sauce. Kind of reminds me of a kicked up Hobo stew..ever have that?

  49. trissalicious says:

    I don’t know what I love more. The picture of Stewie or the short ribs in the delicious stew you made! No, actually I do – the short rib stew with the BBQ sauce to top it off! Great job on the challenge Lisa.

  50. Ha ha..bunnylicious–love it! This stew looks really good and perfect for our gloomy weather we’ve had here in Oregon lately. 🙂

  51. Pingback: C

  52. junglefrog says:

    Beautiful looking stew Lisa! This will have to be one to make for later for me as I missed the challenge (again…)

  53. bed frames says:

    What beautiful photos you got here! I like it! I am staring at the red meat and I missed it. It has been a while.

  54. Jack says:

    The stew looks really delicous. Good photo I might add..


  55. Love the humour – and absolutely incredible photography…. I love short ribs. The Stew looks really really really good… YUM!

  56. Pamela Shockley says:

    Lisa, I can’t find the actual recipe. Can you help me out? Thanks.

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