The Archaic Reason Hot Dogs Come In 10-Packs And Buns In 8-Packs

When barbecue season arrives and you're ready to throw some hot dogs on the grill, you might encounter the return of a common and frustrating imbalance: the number of hot dogs versus the number of buns sold in a single package. Anyone who grills regularly has likely questioned why hot dogs often come in packages of 10, while buns are typically sold in bags of eight. The answer isn't as simple as grocery stores hoping to make more money on buns. In fact, grocers have been selling hot dogs and buns like this since the 1940s. The explanation for both packaging decisions comes down to practicality.

Like most meats, hot dogs are sold by the pound. With each weighing around 1.6 ounces, a bundle of 10 brings these barbecue favorites to a full pound. This made pricing easier for butchers back in the day, and companies have continued selling hot dogs based on how much they weigh. Meanwhile, hot dog buns are most commonly baked on pans that hold eight rolls, in groups of four. Because this is still the most popular pan size in bakeries, buns continue to come in packages of eight. However, that's starting to change as consumers and companies call for better balance.

Heinz is finally addressing this common frustration

Consumers aren't the only ones fed up with the disparity between the number of hot dogs and the number of buns sold in a package. Condiment giant Heinz launched a petition to fix this problem, dubbed the Hot Dog Pact. Through, Heinz vowed to "change the hot dog industry for the better" by urging companies to sell these products in even packs. The petition has more than 35,000 supporters at the time of this writing. And bread brand Wonder has since joined the fight, beginning to produce buns in packs of 10.

This is exciting news for anyone who's complained about having more hot dogs than buns — and judging by the responses to Heinz's petition, that's a lot of people. "It's annoying to have extra hot dogs!" one signer wrote. Another proclaimed, "Every hot dog deserves a bun!!"

Seeing how easily hamburgers are paired with their buns, it's hard to disagree with their sentiment. And since pans now allow bakers to make buns in quantities of 10 or more, it only makes sense to adapt. Hopefully, more bun companies will follow Wonder's lead. The change would come as a relief to hot dog lovers everywhere.

Alternatives to 8-packs of hot dog buns

Although Wonder has begun producing 10-packs of hot dog buns, other major manufacturers have yet to follow suit. And even Wonder's 10-packs are only available in Ontario. Most consumers simply don't have access to them. Fortunately, there are alternatives until the push for 10-packs gains further traction.

A number of companies sell larger packs of buns under labels like "family size." Ball Park and Lakeland are among the brands that produce 12-packs, while Sara Lee, Klosterman, and Freihofers offer 16-packs. Often, consumers can find buns in bulk while shopping at retailers like Walmart, Sam's Club, and Costco.

Still, even these larger packages don't create a balance between the number of hot dogs and buns sold. To reach an even number of both products, consumers would need to purchase five 12- or 16-packs of buns and six or eight 10-packs of hot dogs. It's not an ideal fix for anyone who's hosting small get-togethers or grilling dinner. Buying five 8-packs of buns with four 10-packs of dogs isn't much better.

What to do with leftover hot dog buns

Purchasing so many packages of hot dogs and buns just to ensure that none go uneaten can often prove as wasteful as throwing out leftovers. For customers who don't want to store dozens of dogs and buns in their kitchens, there are other options.

Anyone with leftover hot dog buns can put them to use in creative ways, eliminating the problems caused by the poor dog-to-bun ratio. Extra buns can be used as the bread for smaller subs, giving lunch sandwiches a fluffy and delicious outer layer. As The New Yorker notes, normal-sized buns can also be chopped into smaller pieces to make homemade pigs in a blanket. Consumers would have to calculate how many hot dogs and buns would be necessary to ensure none go to waste, but the end product could make a worthwhile addition to a barbecue.

With so many foodies putting new spins on s'mores, graham crackers could also be swapped out for leftover buns. Hamburger buns have been used to enhance this summer dessert, so why not hot dog buns? They'll make s'mores fluffier and easier to eat, and they may even prove less messy than the original combo.