Pro vs Con: Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Hot dogs richly deserve to be inducted into same family as BLTs, PBJs

As the weather warms up, it can be expected that families everywhere are firing up those grills, while inadvertently firing up the age old debate on whether or not hot dogs deserve a rightful place in the sandwich category. What makes hot dogs different from other sandwiches? They are portable, handheld, and involve meat nestled between two halves of bread covered in condiments. The only difference being they are slightly cylindrical and eaten vertically, rather than being prismatic and eaten horizontally. But are we really going to allow geometric semantics to stand in the way of sandwich equality? A hot dog also has extreme structural integrity. It is built like a valley, and it prevents spillage for maximum enjoyment. With regular sandwiches, the meat will just slip right out the bottom if you are not careful. That just is not an issue with hot dogs. If anything, the hot dog should be held in higher esteem. If you think about it the hot dog is like a super sandwich. Not only is a hot dog handheld, it can be eaten single-handedly. Imagine yourself at a cookout. You are chatting, you are strolling and looking fly with your hot dog and no plate. You get thirsty, all you have to do is reach in the cooler and grab a soda. Now you can have your dog and your drink simultaneously. Now let us use that imagination once more, just for the fun of it. You are at a Washington Nationals game. You are sitting near left field with a fresh weiner. Bryce Harper approaches the plate and on the first swing, he sends it soaring towards your seat. Hysteria breaks out over who will recover the fly ball. When the crowd clears, you prevail holding the very ball in one hand and your frank in the other, triumphantly. There are just endless scenarios where hot dogs prove their superiority over your average everyday sandwich. It is a sandwich with added features. End of story. -Michelin Vaughn

Hot dogs, sandwiches, cannot ever be considered same as one another

Merriam-Webster defines a sandwich thusly: “an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other filling between them, eaten as a light meal.”
The keywords of that definition, and the basis upon which I will rest my argument are the integral two pieces of bread necessary for a sandwich to be a sandwich. There should not be any disagreement on the fact that, unless you have made some egregious errors in preparation, any good hot dog should consist of one piece of bread, a split roll to be exact, encasing your choice of meat and condiments. This is not simple semantics, it is the basic facts of the issue.
While a hotly contested school of thought in most other fields, I believe applying Aristotle’s Essentialist philosophyㅡthe view that all things have a set of attributes or an essence without which it would not be the same kind of thing with the same kind of identityㅡto a debate on gastronomical definitions such as this is not going too far.
The simple fact then is that the essence of a sandwich is its structure. It requires the careful alternation of two or more pieces of bread and filling of your choosing. A hot dog does not alternate, a hot dog encases, it absorbs. A hot dog and a sandwich do not share the same essence of structure, experience, or appearance and therefore can never share the same identity and function; they are just not the same thing.
If that is not enough, a court case in 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts ruled officially that a sandwich requires at least two slices of bread, a legal standard that your average hot dog does not meet. The debate really does not have to go any further.

-Jack O'Grady