A hot dog isn’t a sandwich and never will be

By: Jack Rechsteiner, managing editor

Once every couple of years, people gather together around an issue to raise their voices, lock eyes and debate each other over passionate, high stakes issues. The largest and most pressing of these issues is obviously this one: Is a hot dog a sandwich?

You can argue it both ways, which is what makes the debate so enticing and delectable. But I am here to settle this beef, once and for all. A hot dog is not a sandwich, has never been a sandwich, and never will be a sandwich.

Firstly, there is the broad fact that no one ever calls hot dogs sandwiches. Have you ever heard someone order a hot dog sandwich? If you have, you may want to get them some help. It seems as though people only consider hot dogs sandwiches when someone tries to say otherwise. It’s a reactionary argument without any substance or grounding.

If the logical fallacy of that argument wasn’t enough, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council ruled on November 5, 2015 that the hot dog is not a sandwich. The authority of all things hot dog and hot dog-related said, definitively, that they do not consider the hot dog a sandwich. To go even further than that, though, the United States Department of Agriculture defines a sandwich as “two slices of bread or the top and bottom sections of a sliced bun that enclose meat or vegetables.”

So, I propose that we set some parameters for a Sandwich Benchmark Test:

  1. A sandwich must structurally consist of two pieces of bread that hold another food type.
  2. A sandwich must be a fundamentally portable finger food.
  3. A sandwich must be eaten horizontally.

Under these conditions we can determine that a burger is a sandwich, as well as an ice cream sandwich, an Oreo and a grilled cheese. Things that would not be sandwiches, though, are wraps and burritos because they fail the first benchmark, open-faced “sandwiches” and bread bowl soups because they fail the second benchmark, and tacos and hot dogs because they fail the third benchmark.

On a closing note I’d like to leave all of you, whether you are a sandwich purist or a hot dog heathen, with a quote from one of the most respected television personalities when it comes to food:

“The fact that it’s in between bread – the bread is just a delivery system, a ballistic delivery system. It is not a classic sandwich, in my view. I mean, if you were to walk into any vendor of fine hot dogs and ask for a hot dog sandwich, they would probably report you to the FBI. As they should,” says Anthony Bourdain.

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