Thursday, February 14, 2008

Beanie wienies for grown-ups

I was talking to a friend of mine from Delaware the other day, and mentioned beanie wienies. “Beanie wienies?” she said. “What’s that?”

I was shocked. I thought everyone grow up eating beanie wienies, the simple yet satisfying mix of pork and beans with sliced hot dogs.

Perhaps it’s just a name thing as some people might know them as frank and beans, though I think beanie wienie is much more fun to say. And while there are canned versions made by Van De Camp sold under the name Beenie Weenie, it’s not that hard to slice your own hot dogs into a pot of beans—such a cinch, in fact, that a kid could do it. I know I did and my mom also grew up making herself beanie wienies. But what about beanie wienies for grown-ups? Even though it’s considered a kid food, they are still satisfying on a cold snowy day, no matter how sophisticated your palate.

The summer after I graduated from high school, my parents went on vacation without the kids, shipping my little brother to my grandparents and leaving me home alone with only one rule: no parties. So, naturally, my friends and I decided to defy my parents and throw a party. But as we considered ourselves burgeoning adults, instead of having a blow-out with kegs and crowds, my best friend Laura and I decided instead to host an elegant dinner party for 8. We made our boyfriends wear ties while we girls wore heels and our pearls. I trotted out my family’s good china, silver flatware and table linens and played Vivaldi on the stereo. We thought we were tres sophisticated.

Laura and I served several hors d'oeuvres such as bacon-wrapped dates, spinach-stuffed mushrooms, a cheese plate and toast points with cheap caviar we bought at Randall’s. (And it was these little bites that ended up getting me in trouble with my parents as my mom found toothpicks all over the house, not to mention mushroom and spinach on the ceiling since I’d turned on the blender without the lid. I was busted!) We served a salad and then it was time for the main course. When planning our menu, we couldn’t decide on what to cook so we decided to be silly and serve our childhood favorite—beanie wienies.

Our guests thought it was hilarious and it was a fun way to say good-bye to childhood, dressed up in our Sunday best slurping beanie wienies from fine china. But what we hadn’t done was make them from scratch or more flavorful by adding spices or condiments. And while I was thinking about this party, I realized it was probably the last time in my life I’d eaten beanie wienies. Twenty years is too long.

I set out to make my grown-up beanie wienies by making baked beans from scratch. Most of the time, I just doctor up a can of beans with ketchup, mustard, etc.—and it’s good. But after seeing a Mark Bittman recipe for baked beans that used dried beans and didn’t take all day, I started with that. I used pintos instead of navy beans, because for me they’re meatier and have more surface area to sop up the sauce. And I decided to keep the recipe simple, like they would have been made by a cowboy long ago, since some allege that beanie wienies were originally chuck-wagon fare.

Using only salt pork, molasses, coffee, chile powder and mustard, after several hours in the oven these baked beans were rich, smoky, fiery, slightly bitter and slightly sweet—definitely not your canned pork and beans! Throw in some slices of good quality hot dogs and I now had beanie wienies complex enough that an adult would enjoy them, though just sweet and silly enough that a kid would love them, too. Beanie wienies—welcome back into my life!

Did you grow up eating beanie wienies? How did you make them?

Beanie Wienies for Grown-Ups (method adapted from Mark Bittman)
Ingredients:
1 pound of pinto beans
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 pound of salt pork, diced
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup molasses
3 T chile powder (I used a mix of ancho and chipotle chile powders)
1 teaspoon pequin or cayenne
2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup of black coffee
Pinch of baking soda
8 good-quality hot dogs, sliced into ½ inch thick slices

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. Soak the beans in a pot filled with 8 cups of water overnight, or do a quick soak by boiling the beans in 8 cups of water and then covering the pot with a lid for one hour.
3. Heat the canola oil in a large pot on medium, and sauté onions until translucent, about 10 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.
5. Stir in the molasses, chile powder, cayenne, mustard powder and brown sugar.
Add the soaked beans, and stir in coffee, baking soda and diced salt pork.
6. Add enough water to cover beans with two inches of water.
7. Cover the pot, and place in the oven. Leave alone for 2 hours.
8. After two hours, stir beans, add more water if needed, cover and then leave in the oven for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on beans tenderness.
9. Take pot out of the oven, and taste beans. Make taste adjustments with mustard powder, chile powder, and molasses if necessary. The beans should be tender at this point. If they're not, cook covered a while longer until they are.
10. Turn up heat to 400 degrees, uncover pot, and add hot dogs and cook for 30 more minutes or until sauce is thick.

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59 comments:

Jennifer said...

I grew up in northeastern PA and we would have beanie weenies on occasion. It was one of the first things I learned to make, and one of the childhood favorites that doesn't disappoint in adulthood (spaghettios, anyone?) I haven't made these in a few years, but I think my hot dog and bean loving husband might be in for a treat this weekend!

JustKelly said...

Mmmmm yes I remember beenie weenies! We did them just like you said while growing up. A nice can of suped up beans with sliced hot dogs. I had almost forgotten about this childhoon treat! I think I'll make some this weekend....I know my kids will love it :D

Sandy said...

We are expecting snow this weekend and I think I'll just make a pot of these this weekend.

Thank you.

Mom said...

Now I finally know all the details of that party!
You were so busted.
We kept finding toothpicks for years.
Hearing it now, I'm actually kind of proud that you would throw that kind of party of all kinds of parties when the house was yours.

Alanna said...

I'd give high odds to this being the very first recipe copied onto a 3x5 in a fifth-grade hand. And the spelling still defies my brain, even after losing my high school team a state win on a TV "intelligence" (early bad reality) show by spelling it wrong. So I just call them hot dogs, that I can spell write. :-)

Becky said...

I made more beanie weenies after I left home and was on my own. Still make them from time to time. I use the canned beans, saute the dog slices with onions, and then add all other ingredients and bake in the oven, with cheese on top! Yummy. I want to try your scratch recipe soon.

Bikerchickz

Tommy said...

Wow, no mention of any cocktails being served ?
Were you able to find a good wine to serve with the beans ?

Nicole said...

oh my god those sound so good!! Happy valentine's day, Lisa!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Yep! We always called them franks and beans, and the beans were vegetarian (and the franks were good beef franks, from Nathan's). I haven't had them in years -- but these photos look so delicious that I'm definitely going to have to try a grown-up version of the pork-free kind.

Jodie said...

Alas, I hated hot dogs as a child. So I refused to eat beanie weenies! Now that I know about good kosher hot dogs that taste better... maybe we'll try them.

Lizard Eater said...

Must be something in the air! Last night I made a grown up version of hot dog/mac and cheese casserole.

KMDuff said...

I haven't had beanie weenies in years! We had them like you said - a can of pork & beans with hot dogs added. This recipe looks really fun. It should satisfy my family b/c I'll be happy making it from scratch and they'll be happy eating hot dogs & pork & beans. Yum! Great post.

Cara said...

my older brother and sister had a song that was all about beanie weanies. hahaha. love it!

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

What fun! I have to try your recipe. I love the Applegate organic, grass-fed hotdogs you can find here: http://www.applegatefarms.com/great_organic_hotdog.shtml

They're the only hotdogs I will eat these days, actually.

Tace said...

I think I have had beanie weenies before but not often and that's ok by me. Not a fan of hot dogs. When I was a kid parents often made Mac'n'cheese with hot dogs cut up in it.
Your grown up beanie weenies look delicious and hearty, perfect for a cold day I bet.

Kevin said...

Hot dogs and beans reminds me of camping when I was a kid. I have not had them in a long time. These hot dogs and beans sound pretty good!

Anonymous said...

never had them but know what they are! are you sure it was Randall's? Aren't you from the Dallas area? We had Tom Thumb and Houston had Randall's.

Meeta said...

WOW! I do like the flavor of coffee here. Although I lived in Houston for a while I cannot ever remember having something like this. I now think I was missing out on a lot. BOOHOO!

Dayna said...

This was one of my fav's growing up. So much so, when I went to college, my dad gave me a CASE of the Van De Camp beanie wienies!

Later in college (TAMU) and early married life, I would cut up sausage (Eckridge mostly) instead of hot dogs. That's my version of grown up BW!! And sausage goes great with MacNCheese too!!

Brave Sir Robin said...

What a wonderful story!!

That is just perfect!! My folks hardly ever left town. I did the same thing pretty much, but it was my first time to roast a duck.

Wonderful, wonderful story.

BTW - Nathan's are the way to go, although Boar's Head are pretty darn tasty as well. Hebrew National in a pinch.

:)

Dee Davis said...

I have to say that I really love this blog. I'm not much of a blog reader. But I actually have this one emailed to me. And usually have a ridiculously silly smile on my face after reading it. Blame it on the Texan lost in Manhattan syndrome, I suppose, although you couldn't pry me from this city if you tried.

Beanie Weenies brought back memories I had totally forgotten about. My father traveled when we were kids so most of the week, it was usually just my mom and my brother and me. And Beanie Weenies were standard fare -- along with macaroni and pancakes (not served together of course). My mom didn't much like to cook. So when dad was gone, anything was fair game.

Anyway, we had the TV dinner kind. But as I kid I thought they were amazing.

Oh and... remember the mom and dad out of town week too. Only my party was the beer kind and my little brother was home. Not my best weekend. (There were beer can tabs in the picture frames -- I was busted too)

ANyway, thanks so much for this blog. A little bit of Texas in the city.

Homesick Texan said...

Jennifer--I'd forgotten about Spaghettios! I might have to find some this weekend.

JustKelly--Your kids are in for a treat!

Sandy--They're perfect on a snowy day--so comforting and warm.

Mom--Yep, we thought we were too sophisticated for a regular blow-out. Sorry about the toothpicks.

Alanna--It's spelled so many different ways, I don't know which is correct. But you're write (ahem), hot dogs work just as well.

Becky--Cheese on top? Mmmmm...why didn't I think of that?

Tommy--A splash of Bourbon in the beans probably wouldn't hurt.

Nicole--Happy Valentine's Day to you, too!

Lydia--Nathan's makes a darn good frank--I actually prefer the ones you can make at home to the ones they serve out on Coney Island.

Jodie--The better the dog, the better the beanie wienies.

Lizard Eater--I love hot dog/mac & cheese casserole! That's another dish I haven't had in forever!

KMDuff--I can't think of anyone who wouldn't like hot dogs and beans.

Cara--Do you remember the lyrics?

Sally Parrott Ashbrook--That's what I used in this recipe! Great flavor and great snap.

Tace--If you don't like hot dogs, the beans are good on their own.

Kevin--It's a total camping dish--just heat them up in a dutch oven over the fire.

Anon--I was born in Dallas but grew up in Houston, so yep, it was Randall's.

Meeta--The coffee does add a nice depth to the flavor. And boo hoo indeed you never had these while you were in Houston. Though I reckon you can find all the ingredients in Germany to make it now for your family.

Dayna--A case! That's true love! And Eckridge sausage would be just as good in these beans, too (and as you say, probably even more grown up!)

Brave Sir Robin--You roasted a duck? Very sophisticated!

Dee Davis--Thank you! Your comment puts a big smile on my face. It's always a blast doing the blog and I'm pleased as punch it makes others happy as well. As for macaroni and pancakes--have you ever heard of macaroni pancakes? They sell them at Shopsin's in Essex Market and while I haven't tried them, they sound pretty good.

Melissa said...

Your post brought back so many memories. I haven't made beanie weenies in ages. Now I'm craving them. We had them practically once a week when I was a kid. The other option was sauerkraut and hot dogs. I remember picking the pieces of the hot dogs out of the sauerkraut.

Hugh said...

When I went camping as a kid my dad always used to make "Beaners 'n' Weans". He thought it was hilarious every time he said it. Us kids loved it.

Kate / Kajal said...

Hello ... sorry but i had to tag to :P
more on my blog ... looking fwd to see what u have to say.
Cheers

Fizzle said...

So, growing up my mother used to make beanie wienies too! We used to add a little more than just your beans and hot dogs though, that surely isn't enough flavor!

Mom's Beanie Wienie Recipe (Shhh don't tell it's a family secret!)
1 Medium Size (15oz) Can of Pork & Beans
1 Package sliced hotdogs
1 Can of Whole Kernel Corn
1 Can of Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup (Do not add water)

After turn your stove top to about medium and let simmer stirring on occasion to make sure and mix all those fine flavors together!

For an added treat, while that is cooking get a package of crescent rolls, slice a package of hot dogs in halves and make yourself some Wiener wraps!

Enjoy ballas!

Bron said...

This might just be the ticket to cheer me up after our week of rain. Looks delicious!

toni said...

Yep - we called them franks and beans. Canned beans, sliced franks, and as such, they never made it to my adult life. BUT - using pintos, adding spices and COFFEE??!!! Wow! Love that thought!

Cynthia said...

I won't mind having some of that right now.

terri (The Burning Kitchen) said...

These look awesome!!

White On Rice Couple said...

Growing up, hot dogs were a staple in our household. We ate them with everything- noodles, rice, soup and spaghetti(to this very day, mom still puts hot dogs in her spaghetti sauce). We would also indulge in many cans of pork & beans on hot rice. But we would always ask ourselves, where's the pork??!! I'll have to make this for my brothers now that we're grown up (kinda) and especially because it's a reminder of what we ate so often as kids...but with lots of pork! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Holy Cow! I am a Texas girl through and through, living in NJ for about 8 years. I just stumbled onto your blog by searching (desperately) for a decent tortilla recipe. I am thrilled beyond all rational thought to find a Texas version of the recipe, not to mention, having browsed about your blog, all the fabulous other things that I can't wait to make! Thank you, thank you for writing this blog and finding what sounds like the perfect Texas tortilla recipe!

Kris B.
NJ

ex-tex said...

wow! you are pretty much my hero! i grew up on beanie wienies, esp bc hotdogs were the only thing my dad could cook, and my mom went out of town on occasion! thanks for this recipe. i have a suggestion though - ive got a hankerin for some gazpacho. any ideas??

Anonymous said...

Beanie Weenies Texana:

Swing by the market in Roundtop TX, pick up a pound of (raw) bratwurst, poach it in Shiner Boch and onions for a few minutes, then grill it over mesquite until done, slice into quarter-inch medallions, throw it into your bean concoction and then we'll talk

Brave Sir Robin said...

btw -

I used your recipe for tortillas this weekend.

Yes!, they are exactly like the ones in my favorite local Mom & Pop Mexican place. (I live in South Texas)

(Well, except that their's are properly round and mine are kinda shaped like Texas. That rolling thing is harder than it looks!!)

Thanks, the recipe is great!

Homesick Texan said...

Melissa--I used to pick the hot dogs out of my sauerkraut as a kid, too--it was just way too tart and sour. But I'm now a big fan.

Hugh--That sounds like such a dad thing to do!

Kate--Thanks for the tag! You're now the third person to tag me--I better get cracking!

Fizzle--Corn, eh? Very interesting! And don't worry, your secret is safe with me!

Bron--It definitely chases the rainy-day blues away!

Toni--Ever since I saw an old Texas cookbook published in the '30s where almost every recipe called for coffee--I've been a fan (and I'm still kicking myself for not buying the cookbook when I saw it at the used bookstore).

Cynthia--It's good stuff!

Terri--Thanks!

White on Rice Couple--You're welcome! I've never heard of hot dogs and noodles or hot dogs in spaghetti sauce--though I often put bacon in my spaghetti sauce so it's not too much of a stretch. And yes, those cans of pork and beans never had pork in them--just little white specks of fat. Always so disappointing!

Kris B.--Welcome! And I hope you enjoy the tortillas!

Ex-Tex--I adore gazpacho, but it's best when the tomatoes are in season. Watch this space this summer!

Lisa--Yep, canned beanie wienies are pretty disappointing--they're usually too sweet and the hot dogs have lost their snap. And I'm with you--I'm so ready for February to be over!

Anon--If I had access to Shiner Bock and bratwurst from Round Top I'd make these in a heartbeat!

Brave Sir Robin--Hurrah! I'm so pleased you enjoyed the tortillas. And don't worry, sometimes mine come out the shape of Texas, too.

Mama T said...

Hi - can you help a metric Canuck and tell me how much a pound of pinto beans is in grams? And if I can't find salt pork (not sure where to look) can bacon do too?

Tea said...

I love it than when you had the opportunity to throw a party you cooked a nice dinner rather than throwing a kegger!

We foodies get started early, eh?

Mrs. Fox said...

Wow! I just discovered your blog. Great recipes and thanks for bringing back fond memories. My mom is from Texas and Tex-Mex has always been home cooking to me.

ann said...

Oh man! That image of you and your friends dressed up in your Sunday best (with pearls! who had pearls in high school? that's fab!) is just awesome! Beanie Weanies were such a treat to me as a kid because they were verboeten. My mom considered them "junk" food, so I only ever got to sample this ambrosial contraband cuisine when I went to friends' houses. I like the idea of yours better, but I'd use kielbasa ;-)

The Yummy Mummy Cooks Gourmet said...

I loooooove dishes that the kids will gobble up and are also pleasing to adult palates.

Thanks for this one...I'm throwing it on the menu!

Kim

Julie said...

Beanie weanies is such a great name -- lots more fun than franks and beans. I know I say this all the time about your stuff, but once again... my husband would so love this. And it would have been a perfect meal for the icy weather we had today.

Homesick Texan said...

Mama T-A pound is about 454 grams. Salt pork is usually next to the bacon at the grocery (or you can ask your butcher for some) but if you can't find it bacon works, too.

Tea--Yes we do!

Mrs. Fox--Welcome and I agree, nothing says home more than Tex-Mex!

Ann--I think having pearls is a Southern thing. Heck, there was a time in my life when I wore them every single day! (Of course, there was also a time in my life when I wore bows in my hair--but I prefer not to discuss that) And I have to agree that kielbasa is an excellent substitution.

Yummy Mummy--I hope you and your family enjoy!

Julie--Ha! Your husband clearly has excellent taste! And yep, it's perfect for icy days.

Dee Light said...

I am loving your recipes. You cook the way we eat. I will be back for sure!!

melissa lynn said...

thanks for posting!

i have been searching for a recipe for this! :)

Bren@Flanboyant Eats said...

nice to meet you! Isn't Cynthia wonderful! I'm so glad to be her friend as well. And, I sure hope you were able to catch the Emeril Green show on Monday? If so, I'd love to know what you thought!

I'll be sure to visit now that I know where you are!

great wieners by the way! very nostaligic!

SteamyKitchen said...

I loooove the name! heehee! it's what I called my son andrew when he was in my tummy - little 'beanie weenie!"

~Madeline~ said...

I made this the other night for my boyfriend who loves hotdogs. Me, not so much. However, I couldn't get enough of this, I even had seconds!

James said...

I love your blog

Concerning this recipe...

I find the flavor a bit flat..almost like some moles I've tried. It's possible that for me the reason is that I drink a good house or espresso blend and that's what I use here; not Folgers or some other less boldly flavored coffee. Also my wife likes things a little less "hot"...so here are the alterations I made that make it come out a little different.

It needs some acidity, so I've been adding apple cider vinegar to balance the flavor more. You could use any type of vinegar but I thought apple cider vinegar would go well with the sweetness already there. You have to add this to taste but I've found 3 or 4 tablespoons usually does the trick. I also add some jalapeno juice which also adds flavor and acidity.

To cut down on the heat for my wife, I cut the red pepper in half (or not at all)

It needs salt.

To make it a little more "grown up" I also use sausage instead of franks. I cut it into 1/2 slices and then quarter them.

As with all cooking, it's all a matter of taste. I'm attending culinary school and I like to play with my food until it tastes like I like it. So I just thought I'd throw in a few ideas for others to play with.

Keep up the great work!

James said...

I forgot to add that you can use smoked paprika instead of chipotle chile powder to give it that smoke flavor without the heat.

Goes great with cornbread too!

katie said...

So good Lisa, thank you! My husband said it reminded him of growing up-which I can rarely do. I used some Belleville smoked sausage, it was a great cheap meal with your cornbread recipe. I am going to post some pictures and the cost breakdown to my blog for Blogging the Recession. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Growing up in Texas, my Mother never served hot dogs, so eventho I had heard of beanie weenie (sp) I had never had it. I did try this recipe and am still licking my lips. The flavors are so smoky sweet, oh my gawd! I swear I died and went to Texas!

Jamie said...

We followed this recipe pretty close but we did it in a crock pot...actually very good. We also went without the salt pork and used TWO pounds (two packages) of hot dogs. VERY good.

HomegrownTexan said...

I grew up in the Austin area. We never had baked beans, and the few times I had them elsewhere they tasted too sweet to me. I'm weird about mixing my sweet and savory though (i.e., I don't like to do it). My mom made "beans 'n' weenies" with the same kind of beans we had at BBQs: Ranch Style beans (back before there were a million different varieties, and they still said "husband pleasin'" on the can).

I just had some today, only I didn't have Ranch Style, so I made mine with Hormel chili (with beans) instead.

cindy* said...

i love beanie weinies! these look exceptionally delicious!

Anonymous said...

Great recipe, I always called this recipe Hobo Stew...made it seem more exciting somehow, lol. Love your website! Grew up in Texas but live in upstate NY now (34 yrs).

paintgurl40 said...

I grew up in Chicago, but my parents were from Georgia. She used to make beanie weenies but she used sausage instead of hot dogs sometimes. I haven't eaten this in years so I can't wait to try this recipe...with sausage and bacon!

Love your blog btw, I made the chicken fried steak with gravy a few months ago and LOVED it!

Anonymous said...

I live in New Zealand, so there is no chance of obtaining salt pork . Would a ham hock or bacon hock work here instead?

It's the worst thing about gawking at delicious food blogs from the USA such as yours... We don't have things readily available such as guajillo, arbol, pequin, ancho, or habanero chiles (we spell it chillis), salt pork, Rotel or pepperjack cheese.

Anyway, I shall continue finding the necessary substitutions. Thanks for a great blog!

Jo

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Jo--A ham hock or a bacon hock would be a fine substitution.

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