Baptists stirring up a stew Saturday

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

What better way to warm up the wintry cold in Brunswick County than with Brunswick stew?

That’s what members of Soldier Bay Baptist Church in Ash are doing at their second annual Brunswick stew fundraiser from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 9.

Oren Knicely, a previous winner at Brunswick stew cook-offs in Shallotte, will prepare four recipes for the church-building fundraiser.

Stew will be sold by the quart to go or by the bowl with hushpuppies and a drink. Desserts will also be available.

Knicely plans to prepare about 70 gallons of stew.

He’s been cooking Brunswick stew for four years, garnering awards three times. He’s also competed in Brunswick, Ga.

“I love to cook and see people eat,” Knicely said.

An ongoing debate is whether the stew originated in Georgia or in Brunswick County, Va. But it’s also an apropos dish for Brunswick County, N.C.

“I believe it really originated in Brunswick, Ga.,” Knicely said. “It’s just a really meaty food.”

He combines beef, pork and smoked chicken with tomatoes, corn, carrots, potatoes, onions, okra and celery, along with an array of secret-ingredient spices.

You know it’s genuine Brunswick stew when a boat paddle can stand up in the middle of a vat of it, Knicely explained.

He said it takes 24 hours to cook.

The Shallotte resident isn’t a member of Soldier Bay—he attends Shepherd Assembly on Old Shallotte Road.

“But they need help, so we’re going to help ’em,” said Knicely, who also cooks Boston butts, chicken bog and oysters.

His last stint was cooking for an event about five weeks ago at Brunswick Christian Recovery Center on Ash-Little River Road. He and his wife, Pat, won first place in the Brunswick stew cook-off at Shallotte’s first Christmas on the River event last Dec. 1.

Soldier Bay Baptist Church is at 3905 Whiteville Road (N.C. 130) at the corner of Longwood Road in Ash, about 9 miles northwest of Shallotte.

For more information, call church pastor Charles Smith at 287-3425 or 470-5815.


Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.