We spent last week camping at a nearby state park. Each day I tried to have someone over to spend time with us either on the kayaks or the beach or eat a meal with us and then sit around the campfire talking.
One of my favorite evenings was one of the simplest. I invited my friend and her three children over for a wiener roast. I had not had a wiener roast in years; I don’t think I have ever had one with my children.
When the evening was all said and done, I realized how simple, fun, and relatively inexpensive the evening was to host. If you are looking for a casual and fun gathering to host for your friends, try roasting hot dogs over a campfire.
The Best Practices For Hosting A Wiener Roast Party
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How To Cook A Wiener (hot dog) Over A Campfire
Before we go into the supplies you will need for your wiener roast, I want to explain how to cook a wiener over a campfire.
You can cook hot dogs in three ways. You can place the hot dogs directly on a campfire grill, making sure that it is not over the flame, yet still near enough to the heat of the fire. If your campground fire pit has a grill but you question its cleanliness, you could place a greased cast iron grill pan on top of the fire pit grill and cook them on top of that.
The third and I think the best way to roast wieners is using roasting sticks. Put the roasting end either up the middle of the hot dog (vertically) or place the hot dog horizontally on the roasting stick. I prefer the horizontal method as I think the wiener is more stable that way and therefore less likely to fall into the fire.
Supplies Needed For a Wiener Roast
1. A Fire Pit
Every wiener roast begins, of course, with a fire pit. We had one at our campground, but if your neighborhood allows backyard fires, you could buy a backyard fire pit and host the party in your backyard. You could also make a fire pit using ideas found on Pinterest.
And if your neighborhood won’t allow a wood-burning fire pit, they may allow a propane one, which will work for a weenie roast just as well as a wood-burning one, although it might cook the hot dogs at a slower rate.
You can squat around the fire to roast your hot dog and marshmallows, but that will not be comfortable for long so I suggest gathering up all the camp chairs you own and asking your guests to bring theirs.
3. A Table
Placing a table near the fire and filling it with all the makings for hot dogs and s’mores, plus drinks, cups, plates, and sides, will make it super simple for everyone to prepare their food.
We love our folding table that adjusts to different heights for get-togethers like these. As you can see in the picture above, we leave ours bare, but if you want to, you can cover it with a wipeable tablecloth and secure it with tablecloth clips so that it doesn’t shift if it happens to be windy out.
4. Roasting Forks
We used inexpensive marshmallow roasting forks and they worked just fine for both hot dogs and marshmallows.
5. Hot Dogs, Buns, And Condiments
Make sure to have enough hot dogs, buns, and condiments for everyone. I allowed two hot dogs per person, and we had plenty leftover. Buy your hot dogs on sale and freeze them to keep the cost of the get-together low. Buy no-name brand condiments to keep costs low too.
I stuck to the standard hot dog toppings of ketchup and mustard (I also wanted relish, but it got left behind at the house). If you want to take things up a notch, offer a few extra toppings like sauerkraut, coleslaw, bacon, nacho cheese sauce, coney sauce, chili, beans, and grilled onions and peppers.
You don’t have to stick to regular hot dogs either; you could provide veggie dogs, beef, turkey, frankfurters, and polish sausage.
One last way to add a bit of variety is to provide hot dog buns with sesame seeds and white and whole wheat buns.
6. S’more Makings
S’mores are the perfect dessert to serve at a hot dog roast since they are made over the campfire too!
Don’t forget the classic ingredients of marshmallows, graham crackers, and milk chocolate bars. While you are at it, throw in a few adventurous ones, like peanut butter cups, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and Rolo caramels.
Like hot dogs, I suggest you allow for two s’mores per person when buying your supplies so that you have more than enough (or three per person if you happen to be friends with a bunch of sweet tooth people).
7. Make It A Potluck
I asked my friend to bring chips and pop, and she didn’t mind. This keeps the cost of dinner lower for both host and guest. It also keeps the host from getting overwhelmed by the preparations. So ask your friends to bring a side dish, a dessert, or something to drink.
A few great additions to the cookout would be potato salad, tortilla chips, salsa, or a plate of cut-up vegetables with dip.
8. Don’t Forget The Watermelon
To make sure we ate something healthy, I brought a watermelon to the campground and sliced it up to serve with the hotdogs, chips, and s’mores.
If your watermelon ends up being too ripe to eat, here is a recipe for Watermelon Strawberry Lemonade Slushy that all your guests will love.
9. Fire Safety Is A Must
If you have little ones, make sure you go over the rules of how to roast wieners and marshmallows safely. Ensure an adult is close by the fire at all times during the evening. Don’t forget to put the fire out when you are done.
10. Make Clean Up Simple
We used paper plates and cups. We placed a garbage pail right by the food table and pointed it out to all the children so that they had no excuse not to toss their garbage where it belonged. This meant there was minimal cleanup needed when the evening was over.
(Thrifty tip: we labeled the cups with a Sharpie marker so each guest only used one for the whole evening).
Looking for ideas for summer fun with friends? Check out my post 10 Thrifty Summertime Friendship Gatherings.
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