Stand By Me Childhood Cookout (#79)
March's movie was Stand By Me. This film was based on Stephen King's book "The Body" which was loosely based on his own childhood adventures with friends. The film came out in 1986, but the story takes place in 1959. The entire movie has a strong nostalgia message, so it was important to me that our theme reflect that.
In this story, a group of kids leave home on a quest to find the body of a missing kid. This trip involves camping overnight and having to buy some food to cook over a fire. For this reason, I decided to do the theme of a childhood cookout.
It's been warming up lately, so we held this movie night in the backyard and cooked over an open campfire. I wanted to cook something nostalgic that a kid might make. My mind kept going to beanies and weenies. As a kid, this was super easy to make as all it involved was opening a can of baked beans, slicing some hotdogs, putting it all in a pot and heating it up. Back then, I knew nothing about seasoning, but I didn't really need to either. Also, both hotdogs and baked beans are precooked. As a kid, that meant I could cook it without having to worry about undercooking it. This was basically a foolproof meal that I could cook myself with no real supervision necessary.
As I imagined this group of kids looking for something to heat over a fire, I put myself in their shoes. If I had been there, I would have put some baked beans and hotdogs in a pot, placed it in the hot coals, stirred it on occasion, and called it done. So, I decided that that would be our meal for the night. Of course, I had to elevate it some. That's where good seasoning comes in. Unfortunately, I did not measure how much of each seasoning I used, so the measurements below are an estimate. Increase or decrease spices as desired.
Campfire Beanies & Weenies
- Chop the hotdogs into small disks. Mix in a bowl with canola oil, salt, and pepper.
- Put seasoned hotdogs in hot cast-iron pot or pan and stir until they have good color to them. They may start to char a little, but that's good for flavor.
- Add the can of baked beans and stir thoroughly. It will look really watered down, but that's okay, it will thicken as it cooks.
- Begin to stir in seasonings. I would start with only a little, so you can taste and adjust as you go. The goal is to get those good smokey flavors. I ended up using more cayenne and smoked paprika than I originally thought, but the dish was not spicy.
- Stir the pot regularly to keep it from burning. Take the pot off the heat when it reaches the desired consistency. Overcooking will make it too think, and undercooking will come out soupy.
- Definitely cook this over a real fire if you have the option to do so. The smoke from the fire enhances the flavor profile.
- If you stand next to the pot while stirring, you 100% will get smoke in your eyes. If you squat down beside the pot while you stir, it significantly reduces the risk.
- I don't eat pork, but if you do and want to enhance this dish, some chopped uncooked bacon can be added with the beef hotdogs to add extra fat and flavor.
For dessert, I baked some blueberry pies. If you are not familiar with the movie, there is a scene that talks about a pie eating contest. The pie in the scene appeared to be blueberry, so that is why this became the dessert. I won't share the recipe with you because it didn't hold its shape when sliced. The flavor was great, but it came out more like a blueberry crumble than a pie. Went great with vanilla ice cream.
Despite the failings of the pie, the night was a big success overall. Food was tasty. Movie was great. Watching it outside with a projector and a campfire added to the vibe.