While the age of immediate access to all available knowledge has stolen the mystique from many things in the world, the hot dog remains a mystery in many ways.
Is it a sandwich? What exactly is it made of? What’s the best way to cook one?
These are all questions we’ve wrestled with, but one of the most enduring enigmas surrounding this enticing entree involves the buns that they are served in. More specifically: Why aren’t hot dogs and hot dog buns sold in packages of matching counts?
While the counts vary, if you scan through your local grocery store, chances are you’ll find a pack of Oscar Mayer hot dogs that includes 10 franks and a bag of Wonder buns that are sold in a 12-pack. Or, you may find a 14-pack of Nathan’s hot dogs to go with an eight-pack of buns from the store’s own brand.
This discrepancy makes getting a matching number of hot dogs and buns for a large gathering a math problem worthy of Will Hunting’s skills. But it turns out there is a good reason for the issue.
The experts of all things hot dogs run the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council and its excellently named website, Hot-Dog.org. In a section that answers frequently asked questions about the culinary treat, the group posted an explanation for the misaligned count between these two savory soul mates.
“Hot dog buns most often come eight to the pack because the buns are baked in clusters of four in pans designed to hold eight rolls,” the NHDSC writes. “While baking pans now come in configurations that allow baking 10 and even 12 at a time, the eight-roll pan remains the most popular.”
While hot dogs themselves are typically sold in packs of 10, mostly due to the weight of 10 hot dogs equalling roughly a pound, there are some brands that have switched up their quantities to match bun counts. For example, Ball Park sells its hot dogs in multiples of eight and Kahn’s does the same thing with its bun-sized franks.
So there’s that mystery solved, but if you were still wondering whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich, the NHDSC firmly says, “No.”