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Oscar Diaz’s BrunsMex Stew

Oscar Diaz | October 8, 2020

Brunswick stew has nearly endless variations, and this birria-inspired spinoff is no exception. Oscar Diaz developed this recipe with smoked goat shoulder. With his blessing, our friends at the Southern Foodways Alliance tested it in a home kitchen with an oven-roasted chuck roast. Both methods and proteins result in a deeply flavorful stew. Diaz says lamb shanks or a lamb shoulder would also work well, and you could braise the meat instead of smoking or roasting. In other words, make this stew your own. We have a feeling you’ll make it again and again.

Prep Time
3-12 hours
Cook Time
1 hour
Cook it With Our
Oscar Diaz’s BrunsMex Stew Recipe


  • 10 dried guajillo chiles
  • 6 dried ancho chiles
  • 5 dried pasilla chiles
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 whole allspice berries
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup white distilled vinegar
  • 4 pounds bone-in goat shoulder or boneless chuck roast
Salsa Molcajete
  • 7 ripe tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 fresh serrano chiles, stems removed
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola
  • ½ cup diced potato
  • ½ cup diced carrot
  • ½ cup diced white onion
  • ½ tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 cup cooked fresh butter beans (or thawed frozen butter beans)
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (or thawed frozen corn)
  • ½ cup cooked black beans (rinse if using canned)
  • 3 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 batch salsa molcajete
  • shredded meat
  • reserved bones from cooking meat, if using
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)
  • pickled onions for garnish (optional)
  • tortilla strips for garnish (optional)


  1. Devein and deseed the chiles. Working in batches, toast chiles in a hot, dry skillet for 30 seconds per side. 
  2. Add toasted chiles, tomatoes, and ½ cup water to a pot. Simmer, covered, over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. 
  3. Add tomato-chile mixture and all other marinade ingredients to a blender and purée until smooth. Strain through a mesh strainer. With gloved hands, rub the marinade all over the meat. Place the meat on a wire rack over a sheet pan and allow to marinate overnight. Transfer leftover marinade to a jar and store in the refrigerator. 

If smoking the meat: 

  1. Prepare your smoker with hickory wood chips (or your preferred wood chips). When the smoker reaches 225 degrees F, add the marinated goat shoulder. Brush on some of the reserved marinade periodically over the first three hours. Keep the smoker at 225–250 degrees F. After three hours, brush the meat liberally with marinade and wrap it in butcher paper or banana leaves. Return meat to smoker and allow to cook until the internal temperature reaches 185 degrees F. Depending on the type of smoker, this may take anywhere from 6-9 hours. 
  2. Remove meat from smoker and allow to rest for 45 minutes. Shred all meat, reserving larger bones. 

If oven-roasting the meat: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan or roasting pan with aluminum foil and place the marinated chuck roast in the pan. Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 22 degrees F and continue to cook until meat is falling apart. (Begin checking for doneness after 2-2½ hours total cook time.) Remove from oven. Shred the meat when it has cooled enough to handle. 
Salsa Molcajete
  1. Char tomatoes, garlic, and chiles in a dry skillet over medium-high heat or under a broiler, turning occasionally. When the garlic has dark brown spots on both sides, remove it from the heat. Let the serranos and tomatoes continue cooking until charred all over and soft all the way through. Allow everything to cool slightly before transferring to a blender. Add a generous pinch of salt and blend a few pulses at a time. Taste and add salt as desired. Do not over-blend—you want a thick and chunky consistency.
  1. Heat oil in a large rondeau pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add potatoes, carrots, and onion. Sauté until the onion is slightly translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring often, about 3 minutes. 
  2. Add remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 30-40 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. The stew should be on the thicker side. If it is too thick, add water ½ cup at a time, stir, and let simmer. If it is too thin, thicken with a cornstarch-and-water slurry. 
  3. Ladle stew into bowls and garnish as desired with cilantro leaves, pickled onions, and thin fried tortilla strips.
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Contributed By: Oscar Diaz

Chef Oscar Diaz is the chef of Cortez and Jose and Sons, two Raleigh restaurants that meld his Mexican heritage and his Southern home.

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