Is A Hot Dog A Sandwich?

Shash Wighton
|5 mins read

Today we need to address something of an inconsistency, something which has offset the balance of the universe.

There appears to be a problem that has broken all laws of physics, a problem that tears apart families and has set events into motion which simply cannot be reversed.

Okay, it’s quite possible that I’m being a little dramatic here, but seriously, is a hot dog a sandwich?!

In reality, it’s something that has plagued the minds of people worldwide ever since Merriam-Webster’s dictionary published on their website that a hot dog is indeed a sandwich on the May 27, 2016.

This made waves in communities of both hot dog and sandwich enthusiasts worldwide, and it’s an argument that is still apparently yet to be solved.

So is a hot dog a sandwich, or is a hot dog simply a hot dog?

Let’s take a look at both sides of the coin before we give you The Official Fact Site Answer you’ve all been waiting for.

A Hot dog is a sandwich, and here’s why:

Two beautiful hot dogs with mustard and good ole ketchup

When anyone has a question they need an answer to, they will tend to conduct a brief search on the internet via Google.

One of the key sources of information on the internet that most people generally refer to in times of doubt ends up being the Wikipedia article on whatever topic they’re curious about.

In this case, Wikipedia defines a hotdog (or hot dog, if you please) as a “grilled or steamed sausage sandwich where the sausage is served in the slit of a partially sliced bun.”

Now Wikipedia isn’t ruled by any one person, instead, they state in their About section that “Anyone with internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles.”

If the Wikipedia entry for hot dogs classes them as a sausage sandwich, this means that enough people out there are happy enough with this conclusion, and as such surely we can just accept this fact and move on with our lives?

The second most compelling argument in the case for hot dog sandwich-hood comes from analyzing the contents of a hot dog.

If you were to analyze the contents of a hot dog you would find it to generally consists of a sausage such as a frankfurter (or veggie sausage, if you will), a variety of condiments, and either mustard and/or mayonnaise or even (god forbid, let’s not start this discussion) ketchup.

This, everyone can agree, is a hot dog. But what if we replace the sausage with something else, like some slices of meat, a few falafel, or a bit of shredded pork?

I’m pretty sure that we can all agree that this constitutes a sandwich.

So what then, is a hot dog, other than a sandwich filled with a frankfurter?

No way José, a hot dog is a hot dog, is a hot dog!

Delicious ham sandwich with lettuce and tomato

As with anything in life, there are always two sides to a story, and the case of the hot dog is no exception.

One key argument toward the humble hot dog’s separation from the sandwich lies in the history of the two.

Hot dogs originated somewhere in Central Europe, quite possible in either Frankfurt, Germany, or in Vienna, Austria, perhaps even both at the same time.

They came from a part of the world where someone was simply looking for another way to eat a sausage, and from this humble origin, the hot dog was born.

Sandwiches, on the other hand, are a very British invention. It was in fact none other than the Earl of Sandwich who is credited for the invention of this simple yet tantalizing culinary delight in 1762.

As the story goes the Earl of Sandwich was an avid gambler and a bit of a lazy man.

He wished for a type of food that could be eaten between two pieces of bread, a meal that he could still eat while at a gambling table.

See, this comes down to the heart of what a sandwich is, and what a hot dog is.

While a hot dog is focused primarily on the frankfurter sausage, a sandwich’s focus is more on the concept of putting some other form of food between two pieces of bread.

It’s quite possible that the answer has been in front of us all along, anyway.

Who better to make a concrete decision on the question other than the establishments dedicated to serving them?

If you go to any self-respecting café that serves both sandwiches and hot dogs you will find the answer right in front of you.

Sandwiches will be under one heading, and hot dogs are listed separately, quite often under their very own heading.

Surely if a menu separates the two, then it must be true?

So is a hot dog a sandwich or is it simply a hot dog?

Hot Dog vs Sandwich

It’s okay, you can all relax now. The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here, it’s time to end this argument before any more friendly family dinners are spoiled by another bitter feud.

At the end of the day, we give names to things for a reason.

A chair is a chair, a bench is a bench, and while some might argue that a bench is a chair, it’s just a silly argument.

Why? Because we call a chair a chair, and we call a bench a bench. They are different things.

Take stones, pebbles, and rocks, for example. I could go out to the river and find an example of all three, and while the lines between them may be blurred, I will inherently know which is which if I held them in front of me.

So what does this mean for the humble hot dog?

If I was to place a sandwich and a hot dog in front of me, I could easily see that one is a hot dog, and one is a sandwich.

I don’t see a sandwich and another sandwich with a frankfurter filling it.

So is a hot dog a sandwich? Absolutely not!

…or is it?

Did you know that the sandwich was created by the Earl of Sandwich in 1762?

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