Alabama Camp Stew (a.k.a Brunswick Stew)

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 Hearty and delicious, this easy old-fashioned Alabama camp stew recipe (a.k.a Brunswick stew) is made with canned meat, diced tomatoes, beans, corn, and onion. It will fill you up and keep you and your family grinnin’ like a possum eating a sweet tater!



If you happen to live anywhere near Alabama and go to the grocery store to get the ingredients for this, chances are the cashier will ask if you’re making camp stew. Mama remembers having camp stew as a child around campfires, at family gatherings, and even in the school lunchroom. This recipe is as old as the hills and is often known as Brunswick stew outside of my stomping grounds.

So, why is it called camp stew? The name came from it being so easy to make while camping since it can be made entirely out of canned goods. Yep, to make my Alabama camp stew recipe you’ll need canned meat, canned tomatoes, canned corn, canned beans… and chopped onion. The instructions are as simple as adding everything to a stockpot, letting all the flavors simmer and mingle together for an hour, and serving. My kind of recipe!

The many variations of camp stew

This is my easy camp stew recipe, but there are so many ways to make it your own. Some people add potatoes, some leave out the onion and opt only for canned goods, and others add Worcestershire sauce or hot sauce. Add more corn, less corn, lima beans instead of butter beans, etc. This is easily modified so go with your favorites. I would try to keep the meat the same, though, because a lot of the flavor comes from that sauce.

This is one of the most delicious and flavorful stews to ever touch a spoon. My friend Jyl has a firm policy in her family that she always doubles the recipe because folks can’t help but come back for seconds, thirds, and often fourths. The recipe below will serve about 6 people.

Make it how you like but I suggest trying it this way first because you’ll likely be hooked from the get-go and the first bite will tell you exactly why this stew is so famous in sweet ol’ Alabama.

If you love this stew you are going to love some of my other recipes like BBQ Joint Stew, Traditional Beef Stew Recipe (Without Tomatoes)Our Family’s Southern Chicken Stew Recipe, and Easy Chicken Stew Recipe.

Alabama Camp Stew (Brunswick Stew) Ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

  • Canned pork in BBQ sauce
  • Canned beef in BBQ sauce 
  • Canned chicken breast
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Butter beans or lima beans
  • Canned corn kernels
  • Onion

Helpful Kitchen Tools

How To Make Alabama Camp Stew

First, let’s do the prep work. Peel and dice your onion, then open all of your cans but don’t drain them.

Toss it all into your stockpot (or a Dutch oven, whatever’s handy), liquid and all.

You shouldn’t need salt or pepper unless you just really want to add it. But I suggest tasting it first. 

Put all of this in a pot over medium heat and stir often until it comes to a boil.

Then reduce heat and simmer, stirring from time to time, for 30 minutes to an hour. 

Cooking camp stew on a campfire

If you are cooking this over a fire, just stoke the fire, put the ingredients in the pot, stir it a lot, and try your best not to let the bottom scorch. Eat it when you grow tired of messing with it.

Dump all ingredients in a pot, stir, and simmer for an hour.

Enjoy your delicious camp stew! 

If you are making my Bags To Dishes meals, this is a great addition. Simply leave out the onion and the entire recipe is shelf stable.


  • Store leftover stew in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • You can also freeze the stew for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating as above.

Recipe Variations

As mentioned above, there are many ways to make this camp stew recipe your own:

  • Add different vegetables like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, celery, frozen peas, or green beans.
  • Use different canned beans: black beans, kidney beans, or cannellini beans.
  • Use only canned pork or only canned beef. Alternatively, you can make your own with shredded beef and barbecue sauce or pulled pork. As for the chicken, you can use shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken breast.

Recipe FAQs

The main difference is that Brunswick stew or camp stew is made with beef, chicken, and pork, not just beef like a beef stew.

What goes with Brunswick stew?

If you’re not making campfire stew, serve your Brunswick stew with cornbreadjalapeño cornbread muffins, Dutch oven bread, buttermilk biscuits, or homemade dinner rolls

How do you thicken Brunswick stew?

You shouldn’t need to thicken this stew, but the best way to thicken any stew is with a cornstarch slurry. Mix together 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (or flour) with 2 tablespoons of cool water and add it to the stew. Wait a minute and repeat as necessary.

Is Brunswick stew a Southern thing?

Yep, Brunswick stew is a Southern staple.

You may also enjoy these sensational stew recipes:

Lentil Stew

Ground Beef Stew

Easy Chicken Stew Recipe

Traditional Beef Stew Recipe (Without Tomatoes)

Our Family’s Southern Chicken Stew Recipe

Smoked Sausage and Beef Stew in the Crockpot

Alabama Camp Stew

Hearty and delicious, this easy old-fashioned Alabama camp stew recipe (a.k.a Brunswick stew) is made with canned meat, diced tomatoes, beans, corn, and onion.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: stew
Servings: 6
Calories: 205kcal


  • 3 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 14-ounce can whole kernel corn
  • 1 14-ounce can butter beans, baby lima, or lima beans
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 10-ounce cans beef or pork bbq in sauce
  • 1 10/12-ounce can chicken breast


  • Dump all contents into a medium-sized stockpot, including the liquid in all of the cans.
    3 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes, 1 14-ounce can whole kernel corn, 1 14-ounce can butter beans, baby lima, or lima beans, 1 chopped onion, 2 10-ounce cans beef or pork bbq in sauce, 1 10/12-ounce can chicken breast
  • Place over medium heat, stirring often, and bring just to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer, stirring from time to time, for 30 minutes to an hour.


Calories: 205kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


Never be afraid to try something new. 

Remember, amateurs built the ark. 

Professionals built the Titanic.

Similar Posts


  1. This is handy to have on hand in the winter when the power goes out here in the TN mountains. We shovel the snow out of the fire pit in the back yard, build a fire, pour the ingredients into a pot and huddle around till it is heated thru. Castleberry still makes the canned meats. If you can’t find them at your store ask them o add them to their stock.

  2. Hi Christy– I’m late to the party here but pretty intrigued by this recipe. I’ve got few qualms about mixing meats as chicken and sausage gumbo is one of my faves, but I live amongst the rolling cornfields of southern Illinois where the only meat in the can at my small town grocer is Spam. This recipe looks like a great crockpot meal for the busy back to school season that’s upon us – we put up freezer corn so could I substitute that for the canned? Also would BBQ pork from our deli or rotisserie chicken shredded be okay? I enjoy your blog and I love that you serve the Lord with all your heart. Thank you!

    1. Hi Victoria!!! It does make a great slow cooker meal, you certainly can use frozen corn and I am not sure about deli meats. In theory it should work but so have never made it with them so I can’t say for certain. I would love to hear back if you try it!!

  3. When I couldn’t find Castleberry’s BBQ I got desperate and went to my local BBQ joint. I got a 1/2 pound BBQ Chicken, a 1/2 pound of BBQ Pork and made this with that. It worked beautifully. Couldn’t find the beef but it was still really good.

  4. I couldn’t find the Castleberry Pork or Beef in bbq or any other brand anywhere here in N. TX. Amazon doesn’t carry it any more. The Castleberry site wants you to buy 12 cans at a time. I couldn’t even find canned beef or pork at Kroger. So I tried buying some prepared pork and beef bbq in the refrigerated department. The recipe turned out way too sweet.

    I sure would like to have this in my cooking arsenal since it is so easy and apparently good. Guess I would have to add some cooked beef, cooked pork and some bbq sauce. All that makes it not as easy.

    I can’t be the only one with this problem. Any ideas how to substitute Christy or anyone?

  5. I have made the for years I got mine out of an old Southern Bell Pioneers cookbook. I live in Atlanta and the canned bbq meat is hard to find I substitute Lloyds or Corkys but it makes it more meaty. I also put a can of creamed corn in it. Delicious!

  6. I have searched all the grocery stores in my area and none of them sell the bbq pork or beef. Could not find any canned bbq pork and beef. What would you recommend using? I was really excited to try this but now just disappointed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe or Post Rating