David Bancroft’s Cast Iron Brisket Brunswick Stew and Cornbread Combo
The cast iron legend comes saddled with a whole bunch of “dos” and “don’ts” that can make cooking with it quite daunting. So, who better to give you the lowdown on all things cast iron than James Beard-nominated chef David Bancroft? Watch this episode of Prime Cuts: Cast Iron Edition as Bancroft and his friend John Cassimus show you how to create a mouthwatering brisket Brunswick stew and cornbread combo, using nothing but good, ol’ fashioned cast iron.
Brisket Brunswick Stew
When selecting your meat, David stresses that you don’t have to limit yourself to brisket. Brunswick stew is a campfire stew after all, meaning you can add any meat that suits your fancy. Possum, raccoon, squirrel—if you can smoke it, it’s perfect. However, for this recipe, he’s using fresh pit-smoked brisket from his restaurant Bow & Arrow, which he had going for about 18 hours, “low and slow,” in the pit.
David uses a splash of Worcestershire sauce to notch up the flavor on his stew, going against the rule of never using vinegar in cast iron, as it eats away at the hardened metal if left exposed to it for too long. Addressing this bit of cast iron lore, he says it’s a-okay to add vinegar as long as your kettle has been properly seasoned.
Once the stew is near complete, Bancroft and Cassimus add some seasoning to really make the flavors pop. David throws in his homemade barbeque sauce and John adds his rub—a concoction so secret that not even he remembers what he used to make it. But, they emphasize that you can use any rub or sauce you want to really make this recipe your own.
Follow Bancroft’s brisket Brunswick stew recipe and become a cast iron pro!
One of the benefits of baking with a cast iron skillet is that it every inch of it gets warm when placed over heat, providing an even temperature that results in an even cook. So, for this cook, Brian and John use a miniature cast iron skillet, the perfect size for making small servings of cornbread to pair with some delicious brisket Brunswick stew.
The trick to making cornbread on cast iron is to get the skillet as hot as possible, which creates a great, crispy sear for the crust. And, to take that crust to the next level, Bancroft likes to use his “secret ingredient”—melted salted butter.
Once the cornbread is cooked all the way through, Bancroft spoons on his signature honey butter hot sauce: a mix of salted butter, honey, and hot sauce. He says the magic of this glaze is that you can choose whatever hot sauce you want to achieve the taste and heat you desire.
To finish off the cook, he sprinkles on some benne seeds (a shorter, heirloom sesame seed) for some toasty and nutty flavor. However, if benne seeds are hard to come by, David says sesame seeds are a great substitute.
Follow Bancroft’s cornbread recipe to make a cast iron side your backyard guests will love.