Controversy Alert: A Majority of Surveyed Americans Think a Hot Dog Is a Sandwich

Hot dogs remain a lightning rod of controversy.
Hot dogs remain a lightning rod of controversy. / pjohnson1/iStock via Getty Images

The quickest way to get into a heated verbal altercation with friends or family is to take a hard stand on whether or not a hot dog should be considered a sandwich. It is, after all, a filling hugged between a bread bun, though its exposed meat tube might better fit the definition of an open-faced sandwich.

No less an authority than Oscar-Meyer head of marketing Gregory Guidotti asserted hot dogs were indeed a sandwich in 2017. In 2018, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) returned fire by declaring that the hot dog was unequivocally not a sandwich but an uncategorizable “exclamation of joy.” But what do consumers think?

Outdoor furniture retailer recently conducted a survey of 1000 Americans on a variety of polarizing food debates, including whether a hot dog should be relegated to sandwich status.

In a blow to hot dog autonomy, 56.8 percent of respondents said they believed hot dogs were sandwiches. (Feel free to drop the glass you’re holding and slide down to the floor, shaken.) Opinion was divided across generational and gender lines, with 63.5 percent of baby boomers siding with the sandwich as opposed to 50 percent of Generation Z and 60 percent of men insisting the grilling treat met the definition.

If you want to confront hot dog sandwich deniers, you have some experts to back you up. States like California and New York have written food policies that define hot dogs as sandwiches.

History is on your side, too. Hot dogs were once known as “Coney Island sandwiches” or a “Frankfurter sandwich.”

If you find the idea of classifying hot dogs as a sandwich appalling, you’ll have to rely on semantics. Consider that many definitions of a sandwich include two slices of bread, not a conjoined bun, and that tube-shaped meat may not properly constitute a filling. You can also bring out the big guns in the form of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which defines a sandwich as “meat or poultry filling between two slices of bread, a bun, or a biscuit” but doesn’t consider hot dogs or burritos to fall under that umbrella. 

What happens when you wrap a hot bog not in a bun but in a single slice of bread? Maybe save that discussion for next year.

In other hot takes, 63.4 percent of respondents prefer boneless over bone-in chicken wings; 65.2 percent believe eating pizza crust is optional; and 30.9 percent prefer traditional French fries over curly or steak varieties.

The one thing almost everyone can agree on? Seventy-five percent would reach for an edge brownie over a center piece.