This is one of the most popular dishes you can make in a big cast iron pot: Southern style Brunswick stew. This is basically a thick meat stew where you take all of the meat you have available, throw it in a big pot, and stew it in tomato sauce with a corn and lima beans. And as anyone knows, in order to make Brunswick stew, you have to use a BIG cast iron pot…because if
This stew is slow cooked for a long time in a big cast iron pot, and it needs to be prepared 16 to 24 hours before being served.
The night before: Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Unwrap pork shoulder, chicken, and other meats. Cut the skin off any meat, such as pork or chicken. Leave the bones in. Heat up a large cast iron dutch oven (very large!) by heating on the stovetop for 15 minutes on medium. When the pot is hot enough to sear, add oil to pot and let ot heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pork shoulder to the pot, and turn it in the hot oil to sear and brown all sides. Add chicken pieces and other meats to the pot. Coat the top of the meat with a basic rub of salt, pepper, garlic powder. Add other spices to your taste, if you want. Cover the pot, and place it in the oven to slow-cook for 9 to 10 hours.
Add dried beans to a large bowl. Add 4 teaspoons salt. Add 2 quarts room temperature water to the bowl and mix it all together. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let it sit 12 hours to soan and soften the beans.
The next day:
Using a colander, strain the beans and discard the soaking water. This is salty water, so we can't re-use it. Rinse off the beans, to remove salt residue from the surface. Place the beans in a saucepan, stock put, or dutch oven, and add enough fresh water (tap water is fine) to cover the beans. You don't need to salt the water again. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, and boil the beans for 30 minutes.
While the beans are heating, prepare the tomato sauce. In a large bowl, mix together crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, Old Bay seasoning (or your preferred cajun spices), and 1/2 cup barbeque sauce.
Chop and dice mirepoix vegetables: celery, onions, carrots. If you want to add other vegetables such as bell pepper, mushrooms, potatoes, etc., you can do so. Place a large cast iron pan, skillet, wok, or frying pan onto the stovetop and heat it to searing temperature by pre-heating for 15 minutes on medium heat.
Remove the dutch oven from the oven and place it on the stovetop burner. Using tongs or other utensils, pull any bones out of the meat. The bones should pull out easily, because the meat is thoroughly cooked and falling apart. Shred the meat using two forks. Cover the pot and let it rest, while the vegetables are prepared.
Add bacon to the frying pan, and cook the bacon enough to render the fat and produce bacon grase. Add diced vegetables, and fry them in the bacon grease until the vegetables are soft. Add the vegetables and bacon to the pot of shredded meat, and mix everything together.
Add the tomato barbeque sauce to the pot of meat and vegetables, and mix everything together. If you want to add hot sauce or other seasonings, you can do so.
Add three cans of corn to the pot of meat and vegetables, and mix everything together. If you are using potatoes in this stew, add them and stir them into the pot.
When the beans have boiled for at least 30 minutes or longer, add the entire pot of beans and boiling water to the pot of meat and vegetables. Stir everything together. Cover the dutch oven with its lid. Turn the stovetop burner on low-medium heat, and bring the pot to a simmer. Simmer the stew for two to four hours, stirring every half hour or so.
You can serve this dish over rice, or just scoop it into a bowl and chow down.