Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich? Hello Weighs In

July 6, 2021
Kelly C. Bawden, MS, CCC-SLP
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We find ourselves living in what can only be described as trying times. The existential dread is palpable at even the most lighthearted occasions, and humanity is inundated with questions for which there are no easy answers. 

Questions like, "Is a hot dog a sandwich?"

We here at Hello pride ourselves on facing challenges head-on, interrogating our beliefs, and taking a stand when we feel the conviction to do so. And it is in this spirit that we posed that very question to the entire Hello staff

Is a hot dog a sandwich donut chart in pink 78.6% no 21.4% yes

Nearly 80% of THFers believe that a hot dog is not, in fact, a sandwich. We can break down their rationale into six main categories:

Bread ≠ Bun

These folks rely heavily on the shape, size, composition, and functionality of the bread product to define "sandwich."

"Hotdog= 1 piece of bread, split open; can also be eaten out of the bun and is STILL a hotdog. If you take the ingredients out of a sandwich, it is no longer a sandwich." - Heidi Peters, SLP

"A sandwich is defined as: 'an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other filling between them, eaten as a light meal.' A hot dog is meat between one piece of bread... a bun... not two pieces of bread." - Debbie Welch, OT 

The Dog Stands Alone

Driven by a strong desire to recognize the essential and unique place that hot dogs hold in the collective consciousness, these people feel that to classify a hot dog as a sandwich prevents it from meeting its full potential and does not value its singular contributions to the culinary world or human experience.

"What sets a hot dog apart is its form: it's a specially-designed shape and concept. It can be eaten by itself, in a corndog, or on a bun (not bread). To me, it's analogous to a Slurpee or an Icee. Those are stand-alone concepts because of their form, and although served in a cup, often with a straw, they are never referred to or considered as a "drink" or a "beverage". They're a Slurpee or an Icee. Likewise, a hot dog is never considered nor included as a sandwich on menu items. It's a hot dog!" - David N-T, SLP

"As a Chicagoan, calling a hot dog a sandwich grossly undersells its significance and deliciousness." - Kayla Jordan, SLP

"Your Honor, if you say, "Do you want a sandwich?" there is not one American that would then say 'Yes I will have a hot dog.' I close my case." - Meagan Tuhy, Marketing Director

Moral Opposition

Though their reasons are varied, there are people among us who are staunchly against hot dogs and therefore will not entertain any discussion of their taxonomy.

"Hot dogs should be illegal.... period. I have these strong feelings because it was a staple in my early years of childhood." - Christy Strange, OT

"I don't like hot dogs so I'm having a hard time promoting them to a more recognized food category." - Ashley Northam, SLP

"Although I despise hot dogs, in the age of rampant cancel culture I think hot dogs deserve to keep their unique spot within the barbecue food genre. Let's not lump hot dogs in with the many other amazing sandwiches out there, which usually include more veggies and fancier ingredients." - Lauren Forgione, Office Administrator

Meat Shape

Quite simply, tubular meat does not a sandwich make.

"The shape of the meat and subsequent configuration of the bread distinguishes the two. (Stay with me, here...). The cylindrical hot dog can roll out; therefore, the bun is not sliced all the way through. Deli meat and etc. cannot roll out; therefore, the bread can be sliced all the way through. It's kind of like the "On Top of Spaghetti" song. The hot dog is the right shape to escape. The slice of corned beef? Not so much." - Mary Thompson, SLPA

"Sandwich insides are flat, or at least flat-ish. Not tubular. Spherical in one instance: meatball sandwich." - Rachel Malmon, SLP

"A sandwich is made up of protein and/or veggies that are sandwiched into between bread. It can have condiments such as mayo or mustard. A sandwich can be made with peanut butter and/or jelly - which is spreadable and has a relatively smooth consistency. It can also be made with egg salad which also has a relatively soft and smooth or mushed consistency. Meat in sandwiches comes in slices. A hot dog is not sliced, mushy, or spreadable. Therefore it is not a sandwich." - Sarah Blanchard, SLP

Slippery Slope

Those who fall into this camp offer up examples of other sandwich-and-hot—dog-adjacent foods from around the world as thought experiments to suggest that, if we were to let hot dogs into the sandwich category, it would be hard to know when and where to draw the line and society as we know it may fall as a result.

"Hot dogs and hamburgers have a unique status in the sandwich world. Although technically they are meat between bread, they use buns rather than sliced sandwich bread. Similar in character to gyros and wraps. Cousins, perhaps, to the sandwich!" Heather Emery-Hendrick, SLP

"We have to draw the line somewhere, or someone may say a taco is a sandwich too." - Sarah Kurts, SLP

"It's similar in shape and size to a burrito, and a burrito is absolutely not a sandwich." - Laura Holden, SLP


Ketchup plays heavily here. Those in the toppings camp argue that other meat-based sandwiches share toppings (I.e., lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard) while the hot dog generally does not accept such accouterments. (Editor's note: we acknowledge that ketchup on hot dogs is, in and of itself, a highly divisive topic and are not examining this issue at this time.)

"You don't typically put ketchup on a sandwich but it belongs on a hot dog! There is also no room for veggies in a hot-dog situation, which you would have the opportunity to include in your standard deli sandwich." Emily Halvorson, SLP

why is a hot dog not a sandwich bar graph

But what of those 21.4% of Hello staff who feel that hot dogs are indeed sandwiches? What do they have to say? They are remarkably in-step in their responses, almost universally making the simple argument that a hot dog is a piece of meat between 2 slices of bread and therefore is a sandwich.

"Sliced bread item + meat + toppings = sandwich. Cylindrical shape is irrelevant." - Jenny Peddicord, SLP

"Top and Bottom Bread Blankets = Sandwiches." - Heather Higgins, SLP

So, there you have it. And should you ever want to know where any individual Hello staff stand on this particular issue, we're excited to announce that our new website (due to launch this fall) will feature the ability to filter by hot-dog-sandwich stance. Whether it be the passionate voices of the naysayers or the elegant pragmatism of those in favor, such conviction of belief is a cornerstone of the Hello culture. We are proud that our staff are willing to take a stand and are confident that, whatever hard-hitting issue may rise to the fore, THFers will be there to meet it with aplomb.