It’s sort of like Brunswick Stew, only no chunks of vegetables everything is chopped fine, pureed, or ground.
I’m told some people make it using a pig’s head as the main ingredient. Hoppin’ John (a guy from Charleston who’s written a few books on Southern cooking), if I read him correctly, just simmers pork butt with ketchup and water till it falls apart.
I do a home version which I adapted from a good Brunswick Stew recipe I found, and is almost as good as what I’ve had in restaurants. It makes a small (compared to what someone would make for a BBQ) amount, and includes ground pork, mashed potatoes (I usually use instant), minced onion, water, chili sauce (the bottled ketchup type, like Heinz), mustard based BBQ sauce (outside S.C. I imagine you could just substitute plain ol’ French’s type mustard and adjust the seasonings), worcestershire sauce, tabasco, brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic and liquid smoke.
I can’t recall the amounts – I think I experiment by trial and error each time I make it. Anyway, I put everything in a crock pot on low and let it cook all night and into the next day, stirring occasionally, until it’s smooth, rust colored, and about the consistency of a very thick meat sauce or a thick chili without beans. Then you ladle it over cooked rice. Mmmmmmmmm…..
Note, some people also add other ingredients – like they may use a mix of chicken and pork (and sometimes beef), or they add pureed lima beans or ground up cooked liver. Some people also add some chili powder or paprika for extra color. I’ve tried them. They’re good, but not necessary.