Hot dog buns: cut down or across?

I apologise if this has been discussed ad infinitum already.

I recall - with my notoriously poor memory - that when I moved back from the US to England in the mid-1970s, I thought it odd that English people served “hot dogs” (that were often buttered, and used English pork sausages rather than frankfurters, and were usually crap) with the bun cut vertically through the smooth top of the bun, rather than across the bun.

Eating hot dogs tonight, it occurred to me that cutting them downwards seemed more sensible, as it allowed the base of the bun to act as a “hinge” and prevented the two halves from separating so readily.

Then casting my mind back to a trip to NYC a couple of years ago, I think that maybe the buns of the vendors’ dogs were indeed cut vertically.

Irritatingly, Wikipedia has two photographs of hot dogs in their buns, and one bun is cut vertically, and one horizontally.

So, which is the correct way?

They are? They both look horizontal to me. Which is as it should be.

And butter on a dog is Pure Evil.

But not as bad as ketchup. Ketchup is the Evil Clown of hot dog world.

I’m not sure what you are talking about.

Hot Dog buns come precut, so you don’t have a choice.

The photos on Wiki look the same to me.

I think he’s talking about one being turned on its side.

You have a choice in what you buy. I’ve seen both types in stores here.

I’m partial to the side-cut. I tried the top-cut a while ago, and it doesn’t open wide enough; the sausage sort of rests on top of the bun instead of nestling down into a full, bunly embrace. That might be okay if you had a dog with nothing on it, but start piling onions on top and they fall completely off the dog and onto the plate.

Define “side” in this context!


On second observation, I think you may be right.

For a bun on its side, the cut would be parallel to the table surface. Upright, it would be perpendicular.

I suspect part of the confusion is that our buns aren’t usually pre-cut:

We make the decision
Where to make the incision.

ETA: hold on, Lib, you’re confusing me. To me, the “top” is the bit that was on the top when it was being baked - the smooth, brown, rounded bit.

Perhaps Lib, like me, is having trouble figuring out what you mean. I’m just not picturing the difference between “down” and “across”, other than possibly being the orientation of the bun, but that wouldn’t make a bit of difference in “the cut”. In other words, if you cut “down”, and rotate the bun 90 degrees, then voila! the cut is now “across”.

Obviously that’s not what you mean, or you wouldn’t be asking, but that just underscores than I’m really totally completely confused here, help!

I think what you mean by a horizontal cut is parallel to the the smooth, brown, rounded bit, while a vertical cut is down through it. I’ve never seen it done that second way.

But it’s been years since I’ve seen that style of bun anyway. The kind I see are apparently called New England style. They are split down the top, and have no crust on the sides. Apparently, a whole bunch are baked together from one big slab of dough. Then they are cut alternately all the way through, then half way through, etc.

OK. Let’s agree on the “upright” position of the bun.

The bun was cooked in a certain orientation. It had a top and a bottom when it was cooked, and to me that is indicated, when a bun is taken out of its bag, by having a flattish bottom, and a smooth, roundish top.

Lay a bun on the table in the orientation noted in the previous paragraph. “Down” therefore refers to the same word we use in daily life with regard to our normal definition of the word - i.e. towards one’s feet. “Across” refers to what we normally define as horizontal, with regard to the direction of the earth’s pull.

To illustrate my confusion with your confusion, imagine I was asking about the difference between cutting a car in half vertically or horizontally, and people saying “it depends what side you lay the car on”.

That’s because one of the buns in the wiki link is laid in its side so the cut look like it’s a “downward” cut (leading me to conclude that you’re simply confused, as I have never encountered a downard cut bun in my 33 years of hot dog eating across this country). Buns are cut “across,” as you say and then served on their sides such that the dog is facing up. The cut always goes in the same place - where the rising top seperated from the bottom. Re: the ineffectiveness of your analogoy – buns are a lot easier to pick up than cars.


This all reminds me of that scene from Funny Farm when the movers are looking at the map. “Where da hell’s north? Where’s south? Which way do ya hold this thing? Who drew this fucking map?”

I’d say that answered my question, and we English are doing it wrong - were it not for Robot Arm’s reply, dammit.

But cars taste better with mustard.

The confusion comes because the photos you linked to are both cut the exact same way (through what you call “the top”) and one hotdog is lying on its bottom, while the other is lying on its side. You need to present a photo that actually shows it cut through “the side” if you want us to understand what you’re getting at.

I think I might know what you’re getting at, but the difference comes primarily in the type of bun, not the type of cut. There are two type of buns, one which has a crust, if you will, only on the top and bottom, and raw (white) sides. This is only cut from the top. The other has a crust over the entire thing like a small sub roll and is cut through the side.

Hold on a minute- we have only addressed two of the three possible axes. Cut across in the last axis and you now have a bun for cocktail franks.

I don’t see why it would matter since you eat it cut side up.

Here’s something that would work better. insert a long knife into the end until almost through to the other side. Core out the bun. Shove in the toppings and wiener. Feed it to the wiener dog.

Googling “New England Style Hot Dog Buns” produced this, among other things:

My husband fondly remembers a bakery here in San Diego that served hot dogs in fresh, toasted, buttered vertically sliced rolls. It’s gone, though.

Here’s a [del]letter D[/del] hot dog bun in cross section:
While this is the normal eating orientation for a side cut bun, it is not the baking orientation - it has been rotated 90[sup]o[/sup] clockwise. A top cut bun in this diagram would be cut from the right, and its “hinge” on the left.

I think the question is, what kind of weirdo cuts their bun from the top? (Assuming it’s not precut.)

Ah, you mean deli style. This is how they serve sausages in a bun.