Joey Chestnut has been robbed. There's no such thing as a plant-based hot dog.

Radical vegan nomenclaturists have now DESTROYED the Fourth of July by getting competitive hot dog gulper and true American hero Joey Chestnut banned from the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

This outrage stems from Chestnut’s decision to sign an endorsement deal with the plant-based brand Impossible Foods. While that company was fine with him patriotically guzzling Nathan’s encased meat products, the folks at Nathan’s canceled Chestnut, saying he now represents a “rival brand” of hot dogs.

They’re referring to an Impossible Foods plant-based hot dog, which, and I can’t say this loudly or emphatically enough, IS DEFINITELY NOT A HOT DOG.

Joey Chestnut puts away one of 62 hot dogs and buns, enough to win his 16th Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Joey Chestnut puts away one of 62 hot dogs and buns, enough to win his 16th Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Joey Chestnut shouldn't be banned over a vegan 'hot dog'

I live in Chicago, where hot dogs are taken rather seriously, and I can attest that the only plant-like things associated with an actual hot dog are a pickle, neon-green relish, tomatoes, pickled sport peppers and whatever happens to be in mustard. And all of those things are strictly OUTSIDE the hot dog itself.

Before the vegetarian or vegan militias come to string me up with hemp rope, let me say this: There’s nothing at all wrong with plant-based foods. They're better for the environment, they're healthier and they're actually quite tasty.

But a plant-based anything is not now, nor has it ever been meat, and it needs to stop pretending otherwise. Because when non-meat “hot dogs” start pretending they’re hot dogs, people like Joey Chestnut get hurt. And when arguably the greatest professional self-gorger of all time suffers, we all suffer.

Don't try to pretend plant-based 'meat' is meat – it's just not

Plant-based food companies attempting to simulate meat are a bit like sex-robot companies attempting to simulate sex. You might come close, but it’s always gonna be a little weird.

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It’s absurd to me that officials at Nathan’s would view any alleged hot dog by Impossible Foods or any other brand as a rival because there’s no universe in which a plant-based hot dog is going to rival a real, juicy, near-perilously unhealthy, made-of-various-meat-parts, salty, tasty … what was I saying?

Anyway, plants aren’t meat. Let’s move on from that and be OK. If you’re serving me an Impossible Burger, it might be super tasty, but you’re not serving me a burger. You’re serving me flavored vegetables in disc form, and that’s just fine. Call it “Flavored Veggie Disc” or “POSSIBLE Veg Saucer” or whatever.

Plant-based meat is not meat. Let's get over that and move on.
Plant-based meat is not meat. Let's get over that and move on.

Call meatless hot dogs 'Veggie Pipes.' DON'T LIE!

Same with hot dogs. A plant-based dog is a tubular salad. Perfectly fine, but definitely and under no circumstances a freakin’ hot dog. Call them “Bun-Worthy Salad Sticks” or “Veggie Pipes.” But do not call them hot dogs. That is a lie, and lies prevent good people like Mr. Chestnut from eating 60 actual hot dogs in a period of time that violates the laws of gastroenterology.

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You don’t see meat companies making broccoli out of sausage and trying to call it Unbelievable Broccoli, do you? Of course not. Although I would enjoy eating sausage broccoli if I’m being honest.

I demand justice for Joey Chestnut. Let’s all just try to stay in our lanes and things will be fine.

Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on X, formerly Twitter, @RexHuppke and Facebook facebook.com/RexIsAJerk.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Joey Chestnut ban is out of line. Plant-based 'meat' isn't a hot dog!