Boiling Point: Beanie-weenies not just for kids or soldiers

Jim Hillibish

We ate a lot of canned beanie-weenies in Boy Scouts. Little did we know they were preparing us for the defense of freedom.

When I was in the Army, the C-ration of choice was beanie-weenies. Everything else, including congealed ham and soggy green beans, was deadlier than a land mine.

If you lucked out and found a can of beanie-weenies in your rations box, it was worth three packs of cigarettes or an equal number of chocolate bars.

Army guys become food crazies, making up for all the rotten meals they eat in the field. Beanie-weenies are one of the few dishes they prepare out of love and respect for the past.

My wife and I were enjoying bowls full when a friend stopped by.

“You’re not eating that, are you?” he said.

“No, I’m just playing with it.” He could not figure out why anybody would eat beanie-weenies. Then again, he’s not an Army vet.

There’s a deluxe comfort restaurant in New York City that, alongside a grilled cheese, presents a nice pile of beanie-weenies for $20. So there, you food snobs.

The most common B-W recipe is a can of pork and beans and a pound of cut-up hot dogs. You must juice it up with a little brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar, plus a dollop of Tabasco. Be sure to add chopped onion and peppers. That should get you through the night.

If I have time, I’d rather make the beans from scratch. Now this is a proper launching pad for your Sugardale Coneys. It takes a little effort, but the payoff is worth it.

So how did it get the name beanie-weenie? Nobody knows. I did have a college friend from Boston who called them “beaner-weiners.”

In the South, they serve beanie-weenies on top of macaroni and cheese. Then they pass out in front of the TV. Too much comfort.


1 pound dry navy beans

1 14-ounce can chopped or whole tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 onions, chopped

2 green peppers, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon molasses

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 14-ounce can beef broth

1 tablespoon brown mustard

freshly ground black pepper

1 pound hot dogs cut into 1/2-inch rounds

Pick over the beans looking for stones. Soak for eight hours covered with water. Drain and load into bean pot. Pour in beef broth and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours. Drain.

Sauté the onions, garlic and peppers in the olive oil until tender. Add to beans. Mix remaining ingredients and add to beans.

Cook on low for at least three hours or until done. Add water or stock if beans are dry.

Add hot dogs in last hour. Serves 6-8.


1 pound hot dogs, cut into 1/2-inch slices

1/2 cup onions diced

1/2 cup green pepper, sliced

1 28 ounce can baked beans

2/3 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon brown mustard

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Combine the hot dogs, baked beans and other ingredients. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serves 4.


They were known as beans and franks for years. Then along came the cartoon “Beany and Cecil” in 1949, the earliest of children’s TV series. The name “beanie” stuck, misspelled to avoid royalties.

According to Operation Sandbox, a group supporting our troops in combat, canned beanie-weenies is a top-requested food item. Nonperishable items may be sent to them at P.O. Box 1003, Oxford, GA 30054, and they will mail them to the troops.

Contact Jim Hillibish at