If you never heard of it before, and someone told you they enjoy eating “Beanee Weenees”, you’d probably have quite the smirk on your face, with various things going through your mind on what that might be. No question this is probably one of the most whack names for a food product. Oh? It’s a food product? Well yes. Why? Did you think otherwise? lol
Van Camp’s Beanee Weenee came up in comments on a recent post titled “Vienna Sausage Party“, when Kyle K mentioned a favorite “hanabaddah dayz” fishing trip grub of his, being a Pork & Beans ‘n Franks sandwich.
Of course everyone “old school” who grew up in Hawaii knows Van Camp’s Pork and Beans, and likely ate their share of it, just as much as Vienna Sausage, and the most infamous canned meat product of all, SPAM. However until now, as far as I can recall, I NEVER heard of Van Camp’s Beanee Weenee before. Have you?
Well, after reading through all the reviews on Amazon about this nostalgic tiny can of beans and wieners, it’s apparently very popular across the American southern states, dating back decades ago, akin to our history and affinity for SPAM.
That said, the other day I decided to try Beanee Weenee for the first time, checking all the local supermarkets for it, where the best deal I found was $1.77 “Buyer’s Special” price at Don Quijote, regular $1.99. Which is high by mainland standards of course, as according to them Amazon folks, you can get it up there for about $1 or less at the megamarts and such, or equivalent right from Amazon Prime with free shipping. However I’m not about to order a whole case of the stuff, that’s for sure.
One Amazon reader also mentioned that Kroger and another supermarket chain on the mainland have their own knock-off version of Beenee Weenee.
So here I have this one can of the original Van Camp’s Beanee Weenee, trying to figure out how I should review such an old school product that’s been around for decades, yet I’ve never tried before.
Back again to them Amazon reviewers, lots of them say they enjoy eating Beanee Weenee either hot or cold straight out of the can. I can see that, as I’ve had my share of desperate moments eating Pork & Beans “cold” from the can, however I prefer it heated up. Others suggest they like to jazz Beanee Weenee up with the addition of onions, hot sauce and/or brown sugar. Some also say they like to eat it with crackers, including this rather interesting combination, being graham crackers. We’ll do some modifications, however first let’s try it OEM, as is.
Opening it up, not surprisingly, all it appears to be is Pork & Beans with hot dog slices replacing the otherwise sparse little chunks of pork fat.
And? As said previously in how it looks like Pork & Beans with slice hot dogs in it? Well, that’s EXACTLY how it tastes like. The “Weenees” themselves, which are described in the ingredients as “Chicken Franks”, tastes pretty much like Vienna Sausage. No surprise there. It’s quite mushy, with no casing, hence no “snap” at all. Do these sliced Chicken Franks enhance the what is otherwise what tastes like Van Camp’s Pork & Beans? Yeah, I’d say so. It definitely gives it more meaty substance than the sparse bits of pork fat in Pork & Beans.
Sampling Beanee Weenee heated up direct in its own can over a pan on the stovetop, I’d say yeah, heated up is much better than at room temperature, as it brings out the flavor of the tomato-based sauce much more. It also “decongeals” the fat in the chicken franks, making it taste more meaty, and not so, well, canned.
If not for the totally hilarious and catchy name, I think the romance of Beanee Weenee is the size of the cute little, or should we say “Teeny Beanee Weenee” 7.75 oz. can with convenient pull-tab lid it’s packed in. That alone certainly makes this a welcome companion for any outdoors fun, whether hiking, camping, fishing, or at the beach.
Now if you happen to be eating Beanee Weenee at home where you have the luxury of other ingredients to jazz it up, do what I did and add some sliced onions, brown cane sugar, apple cider vinegar and a dash of Worcestershire Sauce (or you can try Shoyu). Along with that, screw the Chicken Franks (Vienna Sausage knockoffs) it comes with; they’re relatively lame. Leave them in there, however add some REAL “Weenees” to the party, as I added some smokey, case-snappy slices of Johnsonville Beef Brats. Dude, FOR THE WIN! Much, MUCH BETTER! That simple enhancement took it from 1 SPAM Musubi to 5!
If convenience isn’t your priority, you’re much better off getting a can or two of Van Camp’s Pork and Beans on sale for half the price of Beanee Weenee, with twice as much product. Then use that savings to add some good quality sausage to it, along with your favorite “secret seasonings” as suggested above. That’s the way to go.
Not leaving well enough alone, you don’t think a canned meat product can get past The Tasty Island without becoming “Musubi-fied”, do you? Heck no! Above, what I did was use the same Beanee Weenee can as a musubi mold, stuffing a layer of rice, then in the middle of that, some Beanee Weenee, then topping it again with a second layer of rice, like a sandwich. I then popped it out (using plastic wrap as a liner to do that), resulting in what you see. Finished it off with a wrapping of Nori, and topping it with a Johnsonville Beef Brat “Weener” just you know what’s in it… kind of.
And? Nah, didn’t work. The pressed musubi rice pretty much fell apart due to the liquid state of Beanee Weenee. Also, the combination of Beanee Weenee and rice to me didn’t work, because it’s not salty enough. Which is weird, because this tiny can is packing 850mg of sodium, beating the likes of a Big Mac, or one bite of anything from Cheesecake Factory or PF Chang’s.
Summing it up, I give Van Camp’s Beanee Weenee 1 SPAM Musubi (average) for texture and taste, 5 SPAM Musubi for its compact and portable can size, and 5 SPAM Musubi for marketing genius with it’s totally ROTFLMAO name. ;-)
What? Van Camp’s Beanee Weenee
Where did you get it and how much was it? Don Quijote (Kaheka), $1.77 per 7.75 oz. can
Big Shaka to: The name. Huge nostalgia with the mainland southern folks. Compact, easy-to-carry can size, with convenient pull-tab lid. Good when heated right in the can. Easy to vastly improve flavor with just a few simple additional ingredients. If you take it as a portable meal on a fishing trip, you can also use it as bait; fish are said to like it. Eating Beanee.
No Shaka to: Overall texture and taste is rather bland, belying its very high sodium content. Sliced chicken franks are too mushy and lack taste. Relatively high price @ about twice the price of Pork & Beans for half the can size. Fish that like eating this. Eating Weenee.
The Tasty Island rating: 3 SPAM Musubi (averaged from the rather lame taste and the super cool ‘n funny name)