I suppose you could have it without meat......brunswick stew and grilled cheese sandwiches are my favorite winter meal.Originally Posted by josh.p., post: 22746
Recipes for Brunswick stew vary greatly but it is usually a tomato-based stew containing various types of lima beans/butter beans, corn, okra, and other vegetables, and one or more types of meat. Most recipes claiming authenticity call for squirrel or rabbit meat, but chicken, pork, and beef are also common ingredients. Some versions have a distinctly smoky taste.
The stew essentially resembles a very thick vegetable soup with meat. The key distinguishing factor between soup and Brunswick stew is the consistency. Brunswick stew must be thick; otherwise, it would be vegetable soup with meat added. Most variations have more meat and vegetables than liquid.
The main difference between the Georgia and Virginia versions have been the types of meat used. The Virginia version tends to favor chicken as the primary meat, while the Georgia version tends to favor pork and beef. As there is no "official" recipe for Brunswick stew, it is possible to find chicken, pork, beef, and other types of meat included in the same recipe.
 Debate on the Origins of Brunswick Stew
A debate currently exists as to whether Brunswick Stew was actually originally made near the town of Brunswick, Georgia, or in Brunswick County in southern Virginia.
In Georgia, a plaque on a pot in Brunswick states that the first Brunswick stew was cooked in it on July 2, 1898, on nearby St. Simons Island. A competing story, however, claims that the dish hails from Brunswick County, Virginia. According to one legend, the camp chef of a Virginia state legislator invented the recipe in 1828 on a hunting expedition and everyone was immediately hooked. Some Georgians may be ready to concede the point; nevertheless, the dish has enjoyed great popularity there, and in many parts of the South. 
Today, Brunswick stew, like Burgoo, a famous part of Kentucky cuisine, is most notable for being sold for church fundraisers throughout the South.
In most areas where Brunswick Stew is being sold for fundraising it is cooked in large iron pots over open flame or gas. Unlike soup, the stew is usually allowed to simmer and cook for long periods of time. This may be attributed to the older tradition of putting wild meats into the stew, which would require longer cooking times to make the meat tender depending on the meat.
Mrs. Fearnow's - A popular brand of canned Brunswick stew. In the 1920's Lillie Pearl Fearnow began making her stew on Hope Farm in Virginia. This stew is still being made using the same recipe. This brand is now owned by Castleberry's Food Company.