Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich?

BY: Groupon Editors |Aug 25, 2017

"What's the meaning of life?" "Why are we here?" "Is the Boston cream pie really a cake?" These are just a few of the questions that have plagued mankind throughout history. Yet no question has stirred as much controversy as this one:

"Is a hot dog a sandwich?"

It was a question that sparked a heated debate, even amongst our staff. So to finally get an answer, we turned to the most reliable source we could think of: our readers. We posted a Facebook poll asking, "Is a hot dog considered a sandwich?", and the answers we received gave us a lot of food for thought. Below, we highlighted our favorites and sorted them into two camps.

Yes, a hot dog is a sandwich.

"Yes because of the bread it is a sandwich if it didn't have bread than it would be just a 'hot dog'." - Kaeylor J.

The bread argument proved to be a popular one:

"Anything between bread is a sandwich." - Moonchild D.

"It's on a Roll so i guess it's a Sandwich." - Andy G.

"Well of course it is, but that bun needs to be grilled/toasted. " - Becky P.

And then there were the circular arguments:

"You find it under sandwiches on a it definitely isn't a salad." - Kathy C.

"No, it's a sub!" - Toupal B.

"Which is a sandwich!" - Josh W.

"A grinder " - Barbara S.

We'll leave the "is a hot dog a salad" debate for another day.

No, a hot dog is not a sandwich.

"Hot dog buns are the equivalent to sliced-bread end pieces. No one makes sandwiches out of the end pieces. Therefore, in my opinion, a hot dog in a bun is not a sandwich." - Rodney G.


"NO! It's a HOT DOG! if it were a sandwich it would be called a hot dog sandwich!! same goes for a burger, it's not called a burger sandwich, it's just a burger! sandwich implies it's between two slices of bread (aka turkey sandwich, bologna sandwich, ham sandwich etc.)" - Tim B.

Wait, is a burger a sandwich? We're starting to feel so confused!

"No sandwiches have the two pieces of bread attached to each other so it is not a sandwich." - Dave K.

"When was the last time someone came up and said, 'I'd like to order a hot dog sandwich'? Never." - Jim P.

All sound arguments. But then, there came the comment that really blew our minds:

"They are 2 separate things, a hot dog is a wiener on a bun where a hotdog sandwich is a wiener split down the middle and put between 2 pieces of bread." - Craig S.

This just got a lot more complicated.

The experts weigh in.

Clearly, we were going to have to look elsewhere to finally answer the hot dog/sandwich question. As it turns out, this debate has been raging for quite some time in the online world.

Merriam-Webster (yes, the dictionary folks), caused quite a stir on Twitter in 2016 when they declared that the hot dog was, indeed, a sandwich. A sandwich was, in their expert opinion, "two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between [...] If you want a meatball sandwich on a split roll to be a kind of sandwich, then you have to accept that a hot dog is also a kind of sandwich".

At this point, we're starting to wondering if everything we ever knew about hot dogs (and life, really) is wrong. If the dictionary says a hot dog is a sandwich, it must be, right?

Thankfully, plenty of other experts are willing to take on the Merriam-Webster folks.

Famed 10-time hot dog eating champion Joey Chestnut declared on Twitter that the hot dog "stands free and independent from the tyranny of the sandwich." International hot dog eating champ (and Chestnut's nemesis) Takeru Kobayashi wholeheartedly agrees, proving that nothing can bring two rivals together quite like a debate about what is and is not a sandwich.

In July of 2017, Louisville-based newspaper The Courier-Journal entered the great hot dog/sandwich debate by issuing a correction apologizing for incorrectly identifying hot dogs as sandwiches 10 times between 1887 and 1966.

But only one source had the power to truly put all of this controversy to bed.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, after great and lengthy debate (we assume), finally drafted an official policy on what they deemed the "Hot Dog as Sandwich" issue.

"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.'"

So there you have it. The humble hot dog, once relegated to mere sandwich status, has since transcended to become something else entirely.

Of course, we still think one of our Facebook followers said it best:

"Sometimes a hot dog is just a hot dog." - Veronica B.

Where do you stand in the "is a hot dog a sandwich" debate? Tell us in the comments!


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