Last weekend, I found myself having a Really Great Conversation. You know, the kind where a small group of people who have just met need to come to a common understanding and then realize, rather quickly, that you’re all already on the same page (and, ergo, that you’ll all be good friends for a good long time).
Setting: A house in Osage Beach, MO, 5 feet from Lake of the Ozarks.
What’s Up: A group of girls staying in the house for a Bachelorette Weekend discuss a trip to the local Hy-Vee for provisions. Some are lounging on the dock a few steps from the house, some are inside.
Jeanelle: What time is it?
Sarah: About 11am.
Jeanelle: … I could… use a beer.
Sarah: Agreed. Now is a completely appropriate time for a beer run.
Jeanelle: Excellent. I’ll ask the girls outside what they want.
…a few minutes pass…
Jeanelle: Geralyn said she’d make out with me if we got some Bud Light Lime. So, obviously… that goes on the list. The general consensus, though, is “anything that comes in a can and a 24 pack.” Laura pointed out that we might also just pick up some stuff for lunch while we’re out. Like, maybe for sandwiches and stuff. Oh, and Sunny also said something about a “full buffet at the Hy-Vee”…?
Michelle: Oh yeah, the Hy-Vee has a buffet.
Jeanelle: But… it’s a grocery store.
Sarah: Oh no, the Hy-Vee here is more than just a grocery store. It’s nothing short of magnificent.
Jeanelle: [eyes wide] … Wow.
Michelle: But it looks like the sun’s coming out – I think we should take advantage of that and eat here.
Jeanelle: Yes. And in that case, Sunny also said that she wanted an onion. For her sandwich.
Michelle: Will do.
Sarah: What else do we have planned today? Like, does Kristy [the bachelorette] want to do anything before we go out tonight? Should we try to find something premade so we can eat quick?
Jeanelle: Nope. Kristy wants to hang by the lake all day and drink beer from a can and shove that can in a hot pink koozie. She has also considered going out on the paddleboat.
Sarah: So we’re laying around and drinking today, is what you’re saying.
Sarah: [eyes wide, looks at Michelle] We should make whiskey dogs.
Amanda: [just walking in] YES.
Jeanelle: … what… what, pray tell, are whiskey dogs???
Michelle: Whiskey dogs are cocktail weenies cooked in ketchup, brown sugar –
Sarah: – and whiskey.
Jeanelle: That’s it?
Michelle: That’s it.
Jeanelle: THAT IS SO DIRTY.
Amanda: Sure is. And delicious.
Jeanelle: Do you… make these whiskey dogs often?
Sarah: Yeah, I mean, for parties and stuff.
Michelle: They’re really easy, and they’re good.
Jeanelle: And dirty.
Michelle: And dirty.
Jeanelle: Well then. Let’s make ’em.
We pile into Michelle’s wee Saturn Ion and coax it up and down the hills of the surrounding terrain. We pass Kay’s Restaurant where I am told there is a stellar breakfast buffet, a Maid-Rite sandwich shop, a bar called Wobbly Boots, and then… pull into the Hy-Vee Mothership parking lot. We tumble out of the Ion – all five of us in variations of the bathing-suit-coverup-flip-flop combo – and behold…
Sweet fancy pickles, you guys, this store is enormous.
Good thing we had a list, is all I can say. We walk into the fabulous arctic blast of air-conditioning and, immediately to our right, lay eyes on The Buffet. It IS magnificent. It’s a roundup of every kind of comfort food that exists to Americans: Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, fettuccine alfredo, spaghetti & meatballs, garlic bread, lasagna, pork fried rice, General Tso’s chicken, crab rangoons, egg rolls, cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza, sausage pizza, sausage & mushroom pizza, mushroom & pepper pizza, Hawaiian pizza, supreme pizza, Waldorf salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, 7-bean salad, Jello salad, a deli counter, and a shrine to Paula Deen and Baby Jesus.
(I mean, no. But yes. But… no. But kinda.)
But onward, homies. We had whiskey dogs to make, beer to buy, and sunburns to get.
So we get the cocktail weenies. And ketchup, and brown sugar. And whiskey. (So then Coke. And two… no wait, it was three 24-packs of beer. And some bread & cheese & lunchmeat. And an onion, don’t worry. And chips. Which happened to be ridged. So then, you know, french onion dip. And salt & vinegar chips. And Oreos. So then milk. And you know, and all that.)
And then we get home. And we crack beers. And we dump ketchup in a pot. Like, the bottle. And then we dump whiskey in a pot. Maybe a cup. And then we throw in brown sugar. I’m not sure how much got in there because, honestly, at this point, I was quite busy digging out the salt & vinegar chips. (Obviously.) There might have been a tablespoon of brown sugar, or maybe two… or maybe more. (Ladies who were there: Please feel free to fill in this mystery using the comments section. Chicago thanks you.)
And we put it over medium heat and went down to the dock. For… a while. The whiskey dogs probably simmered away for the better part of an hour, stirred just about as often as a girl would come in the house for more beer or chips. (Gee, you know, as I read this: I do consider my writing to be quite frank and without very much lipstick, but gracious-and-wow do I ever sometimes paint myself as the very shiftless, belching girl with a swimsuit wedgie I secretly aspire to be.)
When they were done – which, really, is simply the point at which you’ve decided the mixture tastes less like boozed ketchup and more like barbecue sauce if barbecue sauce wore jean shorts and a scrunchie – they were nothing short of addictive. A little crusty from where some had stuck to the bottom of the pot, and all of them covered in a slick goo so sticky that sometimes rendered it necessary to eat two wee dogs at one time. Perish the thought, I know.
I mean, yeah, all it is is cocktail weenies simmered in tangy, weird sauce. We’ve all had these. (Yes, even you over there. At that Super Bowl party a few years back? Ohhhhh yes. You remember now.) But I do believe the whiskey has something to do with the magic of this. It definitely lends something special to the flavor, whether it’s a measurable thing or just psychological. Because you feel so awesome and proud to say “WHISKEY DOGS.” And, really, anything with whiskey in the name is guaranteed to be kind of baller in its own way.
(P.S: We did end up going back to the Hy-Vee buffet for dinner that same evening. Nothing gets a girl ready for a night out like a solid foundation of industrial-grade pepperoni pizza and beef lo mein.)