The Great Sausage Debate

Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich? It’s complicated.

One side says, ‘of course’ while the other says ‘no way’ and there are lots of opinions of whether a Hot Dog is a Sandwich. With arguments ranging from ‘vehement yes’ to ‘positively no’, one thing is certain: the Hot Dog is one popular…food.

Before we get drawn into the debate (hint: as the Sandwich Authority we have a pretty strong point of view), let’s explore Hot Dog Lore and why people people get so excited about this question.

The origin of the Hot Dog is somewhat murky. Some say Vienna or Frankfurt created the Hot Dog (hence their nickname as Frankfurters or Vienna Sausages). The truth? No one really knows. Despite its unknown origin, we believe the Hot Dog has a special place in American Cuisine.

All American Hot Dog

Five Fun Facts

  1. Hot Dogs are one of the most popular handhelds in the US – last year, nearly 1 billion pounds of hot dogs sold at retail stores. That’s more than $2.4 billion in retail sales.
  2. On Independence Day alone, America eats 150,000,000 Hot Dogs – when lined up, that’s enough Hot Dogs to travel from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles more than five times.
  3. Synonymous with Baseball, ballparks sold 19.4 million hot dogs last season according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
  4. People seek out hot dogs in HUGE numbers. There are 61,400,000 results for “Hot Dog” on Google. There are 13,500,000 listings on YouTube. Feel free to search “Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich?” on those.
  5. No Hot Dog conversation is complete without including the record for Hot Dog Eating Contests. The record? At a qualifier in 2016, Joey Chestnut ate a gut-busting 73.5 in 10 minutes. Gulp!

Hot Dog Recipes? There’s no lack, there either. Click on the photo below for one we especially love.

Let’s get to the heart of the matter.

Those who say ‘YES’ to the ‘Is a Hot Dog a sandwich?” question have a strong argument.

According to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary, a sandwich is “two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between”. Based on that definition, a Hot Dog IS a sandwich. When the folks behind the dictionary tweeted the ‘news’ last year, many people freaked out. In fact, a Twitter Poll by The Today Show found that 80% of respondents disagreed and said ‘NO’.

Those who disagree and say “NO” when asked “Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich?” have powerful backers, too.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council is one of the groups taking ‘offense’ to the Hot Dog being claimed by Sandwich Fans. They were so upset they issued a press release:

Limiting the hot dog’s significance by saying it’s ‘just a sandwich’ is like calling the Dalai Lama ‘just a guy’. Perhaps at one time its importance could be limited by forcing it into a larger sandwich category (no disrespect to Reubens and others), but that time has passed. We therefore choose to take a cue from a great performer and declare our namesake be a “hot dog formerly known as a sandwich”.’

Is a Hot Dog A Sandwich? What does Sandwich America think?

A reminder of our Mission: Sandwich America® is a place where sandwich lovers can unite and celebrate all things sandwich.

For us it’s simple. Hot Dogs are part of the Family. They are special in their own right, of course. For us to call out – or cast aside – any sandwich would be like a mother turning her back on her child.

That’s just something you don’t do!

As the Sandwich Authority, we invite everyone to be a part of the national conversation. What do you think? Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich?

Either way, we asked our friends over at The Food Channel to cook up a recipe for a new Firecracker Hot Dog sure to please everyone. Take a look at the video (or click the photo above).  And, click here for more Facts, Figures and Folklore from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

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