Did You Know | Food

Is A Hot Dog A Sandwich? We Finally Have An Answer To Settle The Debate

Hot dogs often receive a bad rap because people are still unsure about the ingredients that make up the cylindrical meat.

Despite the scrutiny, it continues to be an all-American staple. No Fourth of July party, sports event, or cookout is complete without juicy, fresh off the grill hot dogs.

However, there is something about the beloved meaty treat that has divided the country over the years: Is a hot dog a sandwich?


On one hand, people insist it's a sandwich because it has two of the main components: bread and meat. On the other hand, people say it isn't because of its distinct shape.

More recently, Ibotta, an online shopping cash-back app, revealed the results of their "Q Rating" report, a survey about the shopping habits of Americans during BBQ season, and the majority of Americans don't think a hot dog qualifies as a sandwich.

Only 36% of all respondents believe that a hot dog belongs in the same league as something like a PB & J or grilled cheese, and most of them live in California, Hawaii, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

In the last couple of years, experts and manufacturers have weighed in on the debate, but their conclusions have only fueled the already heated argument.

Popular hot dog brand Oscar Mayer's marketing head Gregory Guidotti argued that a hot dog is a sandwich because "the dictionary defines a hot dog as a sandwich consisting of a frankfurter in a split roll."

Perhaps Guidotti was looking up the definition in a Merriam-Webster dictionary because in 2016 they declared that a hot dog belongs in the sandwich category.

Celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel did not agree with Merriam-Webster whatsover. The late night show host said, "If hot dogs are sandwiches, then cereal is soup." He added, "If you went in a restaurant and ordered a meat tube sandwich, would that make sense? No! They'd probably call the cops on you."

A few months later, the late Anthony Bourdain also got caught up in the debate while hosting a Reddit Ask Me Anything session. The celebrity chef sided with Kimmel, writing, "No. I don't think it's a sandwich. I don't think a hamburger is a sandwich either. The fact that it's in between bread"“the bread is a delivery system, a ballistic delivery system. It is not a classic sandwich, in my view."

"I mean, if you were to talk into any vendor of fine hot dogs, and ask for a hot dog sandwich, they would probably report you to the FBI," he continued. "As they should."

So what is the right answer?

According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC), a hot dog is not a sandwich. It is a category on its own.

In a press release, the council describes a hot dog as not only a food, but also as "an exclamation of joy, a food, a verb describing one "˜showing off' and even an emoji."

"Limiting the hot dog's significance by saying it's "˜just a sandwich' category is like calling the Dalai Lama "˜just a guy,'" said Janet "Queen of Wien" Riley, president of the NHDSC. "We therefore choose to take a cue from a great performer and declare our namesake be a "hot dog formerly known as a sandwich."

The council explained that much like an ice cream sundae, which is now simply referred to as a "sundae," the terminology has also changed for a hot dog, which used to be called a "Coney Island Sandwich" or "Frankfurter sandwich," in the late 1800s.

The NHDSC rejected the USDA's suggestion that a hot dog falls under the sandwich category.

"While we thank the USDA for their careful regulation and inspection of our products, regulatory brevity is not their strength.  We hope our position offers America some clarity and peace of mind. No matter how someone defines a hot dog, this much we can all agree on"” it is THE great American food, beloved by all."

So there you have it! This will hopefully put an end to this absurd debate once and for all.

Do you agree that a hot dog is not a sandwich?

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.