National Hot Dog Council Has Spoken: A Hot Dog Is Not a Sandwich

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A man had his profits taken away by the officer after selling hot dogs. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

A hot dog is not a sandwich, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council ruled on Friday after days, or perhaps decades, of sizzling debate. The issue was particularly contentious this week, as some Americans celebrating National Sandwich Day were unclear whether hot dogs could properly be consumed on this most joyous of occasions.

The council, an authority on the matter, ruled that hot dogs in fact transcend sandwiches, occupying a higher level. "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," the council's president, Janet Riley, said in a statement. "We therefore choose to take a cue from a great performer and declare our namesake be a 'hot dog formerly known as a sandwich.'"

In making its decision, the council consulted hot dog history books and noted that in the late 1800s, a hot dog was indeed referred to as a "Coney Island sandwich" and "Frankfurter sandwich." However, it did not allow this to sway the decision that a hot dog is not a sandwich, arguing the terminology has evolved since that time.

The council also took into consideration the U.S. Department of Agriculture's definition of a sandwich: "U.S. Department of Agriculture guidance also suggests the hot dog, as meat between bread, falls into the sandwich category, but the regulations paint a muddy picture as they hinge on the question of 'open' or 'closed' which could ignite a second round of debate where the hot dog on a bun is concerned."

With all this in mind, the council felt comfortable ruling that the hot dog was neither an open nor a closed sandwich but something greater altogether. "A hot dog is an exclamation of joy, a food, a verb describing one 'showing off' and even an emoji. It is truly a category unto its own," the hot dog authority concluded.