Are hot dogs sandwiches?

By Branson Hardcastle | Reporter

Hot dogs are a Fourth of July staple that have been in the U.S. since the 1860’s. We even have a contest to see who can eat the most hot dogs in a certain amount of time. There is one question that has been haunting some Americans for decades now. Is a hot dog a sandwich?

This may seem like a stupid question to many people, but the debate is actually much livelier than one might think. Over the course of the last three months, my roommates and I have been discussing whether it is a sandwich or if it is its own entity. I have always been under the impression that a hot dog was a hot dog and nothing else. I went into my research with this mindset and fully believed that it was its own entity.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council released in a statement in November 2015, that said a hot dog is not a sandwich. However, they claim that limiting it to just a hot dog simply doesn’t give it enough credit as food. They believe that forcing it into a larger category of sandwiches limits the possibilities of what a hot dog is.

“Our verdict is … a hot dog is an exclamation of joy, a food, a verb describing one ‘showing off’ and even an emoji. It is truly a category unto its own,” the council said in a news release by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, a sandwich is “two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between” or “one slice of bread covered with food.” Based on this definition, it seems like a hot dog is indeed a sandwich. A hot dog is a cooked sausage served in a hot dog bun. The state of New York actually defines a hot dog as a sandwich in its tax system.

Technically it is a sandwich, but if a hot dog is a sandwich, what else falls in those guidelines? Hang with me as we dive into the depths of the sandwich category. Sandwiches, as mentioned above, can be one or more slices of bread with a filling in between or covered with food.

As crazy as it seems, tacos would fall under this distinction. When I first heard this, I laughed. I didn’t believe that a taco could be close to a sandwich, but as I did my research, my opinion changed. Tortillas are a type of bread and if they are filled with food, then they fall under the sandwich category. This would include food such as wraps, burritos and quesadillas as well.

Open-faced sandwiches are just as they sound, sandwiches that are open and don’t include a piece of bread on top; pizza fits this bill. I know it sounds crazy to call a pizza a sandwich, but according to the definition, it is a sandwich. It has a bread base and is covered with different toppings.

After doing all of the research, my opinion on this matter completely changed. Yes, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council claim that a hot dog is not a sandwich, but their reasoning doesn’t present enough facts. Most of their argument is circumstantial and uses mostly opinion to back up their argument. I believe that you must broaden your view on what a sandwich is and include everything that falls under the category. The sandwich debate is far from over for the general public, and will likely continue until the end of time.