If I’m Being Frank…

In planning an upcoming post on sandwiches, I pondered the following question:

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Discuss.  Be sure to show your work.


One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.


  1. I had a hot dog with peanut butter and jelly, topped with Cap’n Crunch, recently. If that’s not a sandwich, I don’t know what is. Also, it’s a really nasty sandwich.

    • A real american would have deep fried that.

      Yes a tube steak on a bun is a sandwhich.

      • If I’d been in Memphis, they’d have put bananas on it, fried it, and called it the Elvis. Here it is The Cartoon Dog, and it should remain fictional.

  2. If there be meat undergirded by bread or breadlike substance, yea, even unto a hot dog or a gyro/doner (for ever and always can the Greeks and Turks agree on nothing, not even the name of their greatest joint triumph), it is a sandwich; unless there be red sauce, in which case it mayhap be a pizza or calzone.

    So let it be written, so let it be known.

    Note: You may ask: does this mean that even burritos, tacos, and quesedillas (AKA “the Mexican grilled cheese”) are all sandwiches also?

    Yes. Yes it does.

    American sandwich imperialism knows no bounds.

    • I see heresy in your words, and will have to kill them, with fire.

        • You clearly haven’t read the draft of my sandwich post.

          • I tried, but it was stuck between two blander posts and I couldn’t get to the meat of it.

          • 1.) I hate you.
            2.) You’re really going to need to read it, based on what you just said there.

          • If I really wanted to go out on a limb, I could observe that red sauce, salsa, and ketchup are all tomato spreads of varying consistency and preparation, thereby potentially bringing even calzones and pizzas into the fold; or that meat isn’t strictly necessary (otherwise whence the poor aforementioned grilled-cheese sandwich?)

            I look forward to the Sandwich-American War of 2013.

    • The principle heresy lies in your denial of the Triune Nature of the sandwich in all its forms. Mere breadish undergirdment does not form a True Sandwich: overgirdment of the meatly middle substances and concomitant condiments by a separate piece of bread is likewise required to meet the doctrinal definition.

      The Hot Dog only approaches sandwichtude by vile pretense. Were the bun halves separated, it might qualify as a True Sandwich — but in so doing, the purpose of the bun would be defeated. The condiments and meatly innards would fall out, a truly wretched affair for all but the resident dogs, opportunistic creatures that they are, to seize the hot dog and devour it.

      The open face sandwich is Right Out on this basis as well. Likewise the doner kebab / gyro. Its unitary wrapper excludes it from sandwichness.

      • The problem with this is that it risks excluding sub sandwiches and Philly cheesesteaks as well; a state of affairs that I think we can all agree is undesirable, if not outright calamity.

        Better that ten Hot Dogs should escape, than that one of these other innocents should suffer.

        • If a Philly cheesesteaks isn’t a sandwich… well, what the fuck are we even doing here anyway?

          Also, now I want a doner.

          • Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself.

            I am a Sandwich, I contain multitudes.

          • Oh… no… I agree that a cheesesteak IS a sandwich. If someone decides that it isn’t, than this whole American experiment has failed.

        • The Cheese Steak is an etymological variant on the Steak Sandwich as invented by Pat’s King of Steaks in Philadelphia. There is a nearby pretender to the throne, across the street, Geno’s, provoking considerable disputation in that benighted burg — I am a Pat’s man myself, let hell gape wide before me, I shall not vary from my beliefs in this matter.

          The Steak Sandwich is indeed a sandwich. Pat said so. Let it be engraved in letters an inch deep in solid granite, filled with Cheese Whiz.

          As for the Hot Dog, let all of them escape and be devoured by dogs, lest any innocent suffer. I am a brat man, as are all right thinking people. Wisconsin and Louisiana, my two favourite states in this republic, are replete with instances of excellent Wurst. I make but one exception to my Edict of Expulsion for hot dogs: Nathan’s, and that only out of clemency for those too far from either of the aforementioned States of Grace where better product may be obtained.

          • A good hot dog is very mature. It has to be in its natural casing, of course.

          • My revulsion for the Hot Dog began far away, when first I encountered the Beans with Frankfurter Chunks in Tomato Sauce in a can, in the Meal Combat, Individual. Though I have eaten many revolting dinner over the course of my life, I found this C Ration the second most horrible meal ever — only exceeded in its awfulness by the Ham & Lima Beans C Ration, which I would not feed to a starving man.

            Words cannot describe how hungry a man can get under the circumstances in which I was obliged to eat these C Rations. Ask any veteran of my era about Beanie Weenies or Ham and Mofos. They will attempt to tell you — but words will fail them, too. Indescribable.

          • Jay,
            a good hotdog is seasoned with nitrates and garlic. It is distinct from a brat, and a credible sausage in its own right. I am rather fond of the ones that Trader Joe’s sells, and the samples of Kirkland Signature brand seem decent as well.

            A good hotdog should be something one looks forward to, by and in of itself, with teh bread and condiments mere embellishments that do homage to the hotdog itself.

          • Only by special dispensation, and never on a plenary basis, is any hot dog allowed into the ranks of respectable sausages. Not every sausage is respectable. As Bismarck observed about the making of laws and sausages, those who love either should not watch them being made.

          • I’ve made hot dogs.

            The horror of it is vastly overrated.

          • A hot dog is just a sausage.

            Now, particular hot dogs are made with particularly crappy ingredients. But that is on the maker, not on the lowly dog.

          • Ah, but like Bismarck, you had the good sense to make your own, with recognisable ingredients. Such a sausage would pass muster.

            Others, other sausages, my friend, do not pass muster, inclusive of those unwholesome Beanie Weenies. They would fill me with gas like the Hindenburg, betraying my position, inflicting outrageous indignities upon my fellow troops, reducing esprit de corps. I feel certain they were a Communist Plot to reduce troop effectiveness and morale. And let no man light a match, lest the fate of the Hindenburg befall everyone inside that fetid APC. I remain deeply scarred on the subject of Hot Dogs. Call me unfair. Call me what you like. It mattereth not. I would eat one of your hot dogs. I will extend myself that far. But no farther. No, never.

          • Before we go any further, I trust we are all in agreement that any hot dog worth it’s cow hooves is made with a natural casing… yes?

          • I pass one of the few hot dog restaurants in Austin every day on the way home from work. Passing it up is a daily test of my willpower.

          • One of my happiest memories was the day after Christmas in the town of Kitzingen. The sky was grey and snow was falling. A Turkish man was selling weisswurt on a kaiser roll from his little portable stand. I stood there, the snow melting against the surface of that piping-hot weisswurst, slathered in good German mustard, just the Turk and me, eating in silence, wishing that moment would never end.

  3. My inclination is to say that Hamburgers and Hot Dogs are not sandwiches but they fit the definition. My reaction is largely emotional. I’ve never thought of them as sandwiches.

    • FWIW, most menus tend to have separate “Burger” and “Sandwich” sections.

      Then, of course, their is the patty melt. Which I never understood. Isn’t it just a cheeseburger on regular bread instead of a delicious bun?

  4. Hot dogs and hamburgers are sandwiches, they are just so complex they need their own subset. As a vegetarian, I love hot dogs, but rarely get to eat them. Thank goodness I live near the mecca of dietary accommodations. Vegan and vegetarian hot dogs aren’t the same taste or texture of meat ones, but when you have a craving they work.

  5. For a thing to be a sandwich, it must first be food. Certain things which we call hot dogs are therefore sandwiches, while others are not. The presence of an identifiable meat is a necessary condition. As is the absence of Ketchup.

  6. Hamburgers are sandwiches.

    (A pulled pork sandwich comes on a bun, and it is certainly a sandwich.)

    I’m debating the over/under point Blaise makes above. I don’t think it matters. Maybe it does. I haven’t decided yet.

    A sandwich, however, must be of Anglo descent to be a sandwich. Earl of Sandwich, after all. Gyros, stuffed pitas, burritos, and the like are wraps, not sandwiches.

  7. So I decided to do an experiment. For lunch today, I went to the local Sonic to pick up a cheesy bacon dog on a pretzel bun. “It’s got grilled onions on it too, okay?” the young lady asked me. “That’s awesome”, I told her.

    As I ate it, I asked myself “Is this a sandwich?”

    As it turns out, the answer was “no”.

    So there you go.

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