The observation of inhomogeneous, ‘sluggish’ recrystallization in ferritic steels has been extensively documented and discussed, particularly with reference to low carbon steels. Stabilized ferritic stainless steels are also prone to this phenomenon and, in many cases, exhibit the effect more strongly than their carbon counterparts. The situation for stainless steels is exacerbated in part by the topology of the cold rolled microstructure, which is composed of highly elongated and layered grains. In this work an attempt has been made to probe the key features of this process by means of a two-dimensional vertex simulation. Key microstructural characteristics such as subgrain and grain size, topology, misorientation and energy are varied in these simulations in an attempt to elucidate the mechanisms responsible for the final recrystallization. These simulations are compared and contrasted with experimental observations from the recrystallization of an AISI409 stainless steel.