Is a Hotdog a Sandwich? No!

Anna Brodhead, Staff Writer

A hotdog. Since 1870 this classic ballpark and picnic food has been putting a smile on millions of people’s faces. Such a simple concept, sausage in bread, that can bring so much joy to so many people. The wonders and delights of a hotdog are being tainted by the idea that a hotdog is a sandwich; now that’s just wrong!

a hot dog is a hot dog”

— Jimmy Kimmel


Although many claim that because a hotdog is meat inside of bread it can be automatically labeled as a sandwich, they’d be wrong. People don’t mind making this sandwich claim against hotdogs but when the same logic is applied to a hamburger, taco, or dumpling, people are appalled at the sheer thought of it. If a hotdog was truly a sandwich, then why do eating competitions advertise their events as a “hotdog eating contest” and not a “sandwich eating contest”. Picture this, you’re sitting in a ballpark with a vendor screaming “get your sandwiches, sandwiches here”. Now that’s just plain crazy. I’m not the only one that holds this opinion either. Jimmy Kimmel shared his thoughts and said, “By my definition, a hot dog is a hot dog. It’s its own thing with its own specialized bun. If you went into a restaurant and ordered a meat tube sandwich would that make sense? No! They’d probably call the cops on you. I don’t care what anyone says, a hot dog is not a sandwich. And if hot dogs are sandwiches, then cereal is soup! Chew on that one for a while.” Jimmy is absolutely right! If we start calling a hotdog a sandwich, then where does it end? Coffee is dirt water, granola is chili, salad is grass? David Schwimmer, who played Ross on F.R.I.E.N.D.S. also chimed in, saying, “… no [a hotdog isn’t a sandwich], because the bread is joined. I define a sandwich as two pieces of bread with stuff between it.” So much talk over this topic has even prompted professional chefs to join in. Rachel Ray just thinks that “a hot dog is a hot dog.” I couldn’t agree more Rachel.

Anthony Bourdain even said that “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 Anthony said, hotdogs’ biggest fans often lie in a sports arena. The University of Georgia bulldogs said, “Order a sandwich at Saturday’s game and see if they give you a hot dog. There’s your answer.” If a whole college sports team can agree that a hotdog is clearly not a sandwich I think it’s clear to see why it’s correct.

As great as celebrity opinions are, the important information comes from the source itself, The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC). On November 6, 2015, the committee came together to answer the question once and for all, is a hotdog a sandwich? Their conclusion, absolutely not! After consulting several USDA regulations on what defines a sandwich, the committee found that the requirements weren’t clear enough, and therefore, could put a hotdog in its own food category. The USDA stated that for a closed face sandwich, it needed to be 35% meat and no more than 50% bread. For an open-faced sandwich, it cannot be more than 50% meat. Where does a hotdog lie in this? There’s a slit in the bread, but it’s still connected. Since the hotdog doesn’t conform to anything but itself, there’s no way it can be a sandwich. The NHDSC president Janet Riley, better known as ‘Queen of wein’, said, “Limiting the hotdog’s significance by saying it’s ‘just a sandwich’ category is like calling the Dalai Lama ‘just a guy.'” Well said Queen, well said.

If the official Sausage Committee wasn’t enough proof that hotdogs aren’t sandwiches, it turns out, most Americans agree with them anyways. In a survey conducted by ibotta, it was found that only 36% of respondents believed that a hotdog was a sandwich. California led the group with 49% of their respondents saying they believe that a hotdog is a sandwich. On the contrary, Vermont led the pro-hotdog pack, with 79% of their respondents saying they don’t believe a hotdog is a sandwich. It seems that this issue may be even more pressing than what was originally thought. Is it an east-coast, west-coast thing? Is there gang affiliation? Is it political? Is a hotdog political?

After absorbing all of this information, it’s clear to see that a hotdog is most definitely, certainly, confirmed, 100% NOT a sandwich. If you still believe that a hotdog is a sandwich, I challenge you; go to Nathans and ask for a sandwich, let me know how it goes!