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Old Hickory House Brunswick Stew

Subject: Atlanta Georgia Old Hickory House Brunswick Stew Recipe
From: Brad
Date: 10/30/2019, 8:15 PM
To: phaedrus@hungrybrowser.com 

On 10/30/2019 1:48 PM, Brad wrote:

Uncle,

This is my first time writing to you,  I am 48 years old now living in Texas, I grew up in the 
metro Atlanta, GA area enjoying eating at The Old Hickory House, they had multiple locations 
around Atlanta, and now, here in 2019 they only have one location left in Tucker, GA.
Over the years I have scoured the internet looking for their Brunswick Stew Recipe and I can't 
find theirs.  I can find hundreds of other Brunswick stew recipes, but all the ones claiming to 
be from Old Hickory House of Atlanta Georgia all invariably include okra, lama beans, potatoes 
or a combination or a single of those 3 ingredients. I mean there are recipes listed "this is 
the real old hickory house recipe",  but it isn't the real recipe. It's like fake news recipes 
or something. 
I was visiting my mother recently who still lives in Atlanta and we ate at the Tucker location 
and there are none of those 3 ingredients in the actual Old HIckory House Brunswick Stew. 
There is also a lot of local drama in Georgia as to what authentic Brunswick stew is, and personally 
I do not care if Old Hickory House Brunswick stew is authentic or not. I just love it from Old 
Hickory House. Now to add a wrinkle to this is there was a restaurant in northeast Atlanta in the 
Marietta area called "Oga's" and they had somehow obtained the recipe for Old Hickory House 
Brunswick stew and it was a dead on match, but they have since now closed taking that recipe to 
the grave.  Next up is a place called JR's Log House in Norcross, GA, they are still in business 
and their Brunswick stew also tastes exactly like Old Hickory House, its alleged a family member 
of that restaurant got the recipe from a fellow family member at Old Hickory House.
I will tell you this Uncle, the web is a maze of alleged old hickory house Brunswick stew recipes 
and they all have some addition of those 3 ingredients which are not in the actual stew. That said 
it would seem you could just pick any listed Brunswick stew recipe and omit those 3 ingredients 
and you would net old hickory house Brunswick stew, but you as a recipe sleuth know its not as 
easy as that. 
Personally as a patron of Old Hickory House since 1972 I find it offensive they would guard this 
recipe so closely, and not at least offer a spice package for sale so those living abroad could 
replicate the stew.  I say this because they are now only down to one location, their business 
is not growing, they have chosen the easy way out time and time again by selling their real 
estate for giant commercial developments, well good for them, but not good for their patrons. 
They refuse to release the recipe.  Any help on this would be appreciated.  Old Hickory House 
is so niche I actually believe people would continue to eat there if the recipe was well known 
because I speculate its easier to just buy it from them than it is to make it at home, but those 
of us who live 1,000 miles away are not so fortunate.
Someone somewhere has to have this recipe, I don't understand why they just don't list it.
very truly yours,
Brad 

Hello Brad,

There is an excellent article about Old Hickory House here:  A Look Back at Old Hickory House

I searched for this recipe  a few years ago, in 2014. See:  12-05-2014

I wasn't able to find an authentic recipe then, and I'm afraid that I can't add anything new today. There are a few recipes on the web that use the name "Old Hickory House" in describing their Brunswick stew recipes, but when you read the details, they have actually nothing more than claims that they "taste like" the Old Hickory House stew. None of them can actually be traced back to "Old Hickory House," and as you say, those recipes include okra or potatoes or Lima beans or one or more of those, which Old Hickory House's stew does not. I also searched for a Brunswick stew recipe from JR's Log House or Oga's, similarly with no success. Note, however, that JR's Log House's menu says that their stew contains potatoes, so it is not the same, anyhow. From their menu at:  12-05-2014

A recipe from J.R.’s grandfather’s kitchen: corn, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and barbecue pork, beef and chicken.

There are Brunswick stew recipes on the web that contain corn and tomatoes and no okra or potatoes or Lima beans (one example below),  but do they taste like Old Hickory House stew? Who can say? Not me, for sure.  Someone who has eaten Old Hickory House Brunswick Stew would have to make the recipe  to compare the taste.

Making a copycat for it is difficult because we don't have a list of the ingredients that Old Hickory House uses. It's almost certain that Old Hickory House uses their own barbecue sauce and/or their own barbecued pork and beef.  Do we have access to those?  Can we make a copycat without them?

The recipe below  may be a starting point, but I have no idea how to modify it to taste like Old Hickory House Brunswick stew. Maybe you can experiment with it.

Currently open restaurants' unique dishes are what gives their customers a reason to keep going back, so they are reluctant to give out their recipes, particularly the ones for their most popular dishes. I sympathize, but the ones that really puzzle me are the ones whose restaurants have been closed for years and who have no plans to open a new restaurant, but who will let their famous dishes vanish into the past rather than reveal their recipes.

Phaed

Brunswick Stew

1 lb. (precooked) BBQ pork
1 lb. (precooked) BBQ beef
1 lb. boneless chicken
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
2 tbsp. fresh basil, minced
1 (16 oz.) can tomatoes
1 can cream style corn
1 can whole kernel corn
1 large onion, grated

Pulverize tomatoes. cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Break up beef.

Mix all ingredients together and cook in Crockpot on low setting for 3-5 hours or until chicken is tender.


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