At Ole Time Barbecue, customers are considered family.
"It's more than just a restaurant," said owner Ben Hart. "I've had customers that ate every single meal of their day here."
The restaurant, which opened 27 years ago in Raleigh, North Carolina, is known for its southern comfort food, and the signature dishes are what make people come back for more.
But with the onset of COVID-19, the roadside joint has scaled back hours and employees. Hart even had to lay off his sister.
"The amount of business has slowed down coming through the door," said Hart. "But the amount of work has doubled."
Despite the challenges they've faced during this time, the Harts are still doing what they can to get food to customers and also do their part in the community by making sure front-line workers get fed through meal donations.
They also started a $5 "pay it forward" program to which customers can donate.
Although Ole Time is based in the Tar Heel state, Hart is bringing a taste of its southern comfort to everyone with their budget-friendly Brunswick Stew, which he also says includes items that are already in your pantry. Get the recipe below!
Ole Time Barbecue's Brunswick Stew
2 cups of water
4 cups of crushed tomatoes
2 cups of chicken stock
1/3 cup of Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup of vinegar based or tangy bbq sauce
1/2 cup of a sweet bbq sauce
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup of sugar
1 can of green beans
1 can of lima beans
1 can of corn
4 chopped potatoes
1 chopped onion
1 chopped carrot
1 stick of butter
2 pounds cooked and shredded meat of your choice: pork, chicken or turkey all work well
Melt down 1 stick of butter and add in 1 chopped onion. Caramelize the onions.
Mix together the following in a bowl to create a base: Worcestershire sauce, vinegar based bbq sauce, sweet bbq sauce, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, sugar and chicken stock.
Once onions are caramelized, mix in your base and bring to a simmer.
Pour green beans, corn, and lima beans into a slow cooker. Add potatoes, carrots and 2 cups of water.
Once you have brought your base to a simmer, pour over vegetables in slow cooker.
Add in 2 pounds of pork, chicken, turkey or a mixture.
Add in 4 cups of crushed tomatoes and cook on medium to high temperature for at least four hours or until carrots and potatoes are tender.
If you are using leftovers in your stew, make sure the temperature comes up to at least 165 degrees.
For authentic Brunswick Stew, your spoon must be able to stand up on its own in the slow cooker!