Yes, it's true. Ibotta, the cash-back app that gives you cash for shopping online, recently shared its findings from their "Q Rating" report. The report, a joint-survey, and study of more than 220 million users of Ibotta, analyzed consumer's behavior when it came to shopping around the summer BBQ season. Using the receipts from purchases associated with grilling (hot dogs, buns, hamburgers, condiments) Ibotta was able to share the 2018 Q (as in BBQ) rating report.
According to the report, the top states which purchase grilling supplies is Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Alabama. Vermont, Delaware, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia purchased the most barbeque staples while Utah, Ohio, North Dakota, Maine, and Michigan purchased the least. Hot dogs were the staple of the grill in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and New Mexico while hamburgers reigned supreme in New Hampshire, Deleware, Texas, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Along with analyzing the receipts, Ibotta also asked users if they believed a hot dog was a sandwich. 36% of Americans agreed, considering a hot a sandwich. Looking at states specifically, California came out on top with 49% of users stating that it is a sandwich. On the other side of the country, Vermont balked, with 77% of users stating it is not a sandwich.
So, is it a sandwich?
Many hot dog lovers are tied to the identity of hot dogs as their own food group, delicious with ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut and reminiscent of baseball games and barbecues. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council agrees, saying that the hot dog is not a 'wich but a treat on its own. NHDSC President and 'Queen of Wien' Janet Riley states, "Limiting the hot dog's significance by saying it's 'just a sandwich' category is like calling the Dalai Lama 'just a guy.'"
Brought to New York City from Europe in the late 1800s, the hot dog was first referred to as a "Coney Island Sandwich" or "Frankfurter sandwich," however, today we simply refer to the food item as a hot dog due to its ambiguity of falling under the sandwich category.
On the other side of the hot dog-sandwich debate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) points out that the hot dog is considered a sandwich using its definition of a sandwich. The USDA regulatory definitions state that a closed sandwich must contain 35% cooked meat and no more than 50% bread. A typical sandwich consists of two slices of bread (in the hot dog's case, a bun fills in for the pieces of bread) that enclose the meat.
Adding to the hot dog categorization argument, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the dish as, "a frankfurter with a typically mild flavor that is heated and usually served in a long split roll." Which brings up the question, "Would you consider any kind of sausage in a roll as a sandwich?
And if we're opening up the conversation, what about burritos or tacos, or even pop tarts for that matter? Does tortilla count as bread, and what about foods like ravioli? It seems like a dangerous game to start asking such questions.
While a hot dog isn't your classic 'wich (like a Reuben sandwich or a hoagie) the great hot dog debate still goes on. And there's no doubt that it'll continue for years to come.
This article was originally published on June 10, 2019.