‘Ketchup’ with Nolan Peters and his hot dog reviews


Photo by Rob Peters. Find him on Facebook at RobPetersPhotography.

Peters with his mother, Casey, at the senior night for wrestling.

As the wrestling season comes to an end soon, so does the commonly enjoyed hot dog reviews by senior Nolan Peters. Peters has been one of the wrestling managers at AL since his freshman year. Although he originally planned on joining the wrestling team as a competitor, the back surgery that he had in middle school hindered him from doing so. 

“I still wanted to stay with the sport,” Peters said. 

As a manager, Peters supports the team by going to every wrestling meet. During all of the watching and waiting, Peters soon realized that he was always hungry at the meets. Thus, the hot dog reviews began. Interestingly enough, Peters claims that hot dogs are surprisingly not his favorite food. But the reason why he chose to review hot dogs is because everybody has a ho tdog at a concession stand. 

Peters began making actual reviews that were viewable to the public in his sophomore year. However, he’s always had the idea in his head.

“It started in freshman year but they were only “mental” reviews where I thought “oh this is a good hot dog.” My sophomore year is when I would type up the review and post it on snapchat. Junior year is the first year where I started video reviews,” Peters said. 

Over the years, his reviews have evolved into the famously quirky videos that many people enjoy watching today. 

“I had to improve it somehow when I had people tell me to keep doing them.”

Peters always starts off his reviews by giving the hot dog the “bun squeeze” test. 

“In order to pass the test, it’s got to have a little give to it. If it’s stale it just ruins the experience of the dog,” Peters said. “Dusty is not a good thing because it means that they just didn’t put much care in the dog.” 

Some of the other criteria that go into the review include taste, texture, bun composition, presentation, variety of condiments, and price. Peters even recalls the most expensive hot dog being $6 at the CB Classic wrestling meet. 

At the end of every review, Peters always rates the hot dog from one to ten which he keeps notes on for every hot dog he’s reviewed that season. In his last review for the season, he crowns the hot dog with the highest rating as the “(ultimate dog)”. Last year’s winner was Glenwood’s chili dog. 

Aside from last year’s winner, the most memorable hot dog to date that Peters’ has had at a wrestling meet is the “rocket dog” at Lincoln Northeast High School that he tasted his freshman year. Although he was not publicly reviewing his hot dogs quite yet, he oh so remembers the giant, bright red hot dog…and of course the deal for a hot dog and a water for $4. 

“When there is a hot dog that I think is the best I always think “is this hot dog as good as the rocket dog?” Peters said.

One hot dog that he actually reviewed in Malcolm, Nebraska comes pretty close to it. 

“It stuck out the most to me because it was better than most hot dogs not necessarily because of taste alone but the price was only $1.50 and there were more condiment choices,” Peters said. “It had sauerkraut. No one has sauerkraut.” 

Some of Peters’ go-to condiments are the tried and true ketchup and mustard. The experienced hot dog eater even recommends to his viewers to not use relish since it causes the bun to get soggy and is quite messy to eat.

On the opposite side of the rating scale, Peters recalls the worst hot dog being the one he had in Shenandoah claiming that it “lied to him.” 

“When you looked at it it looked really big and a nice dog. The color was alright but when I bit into it it was full of lies and meat juice,” Peters said. 

Over time, Peters has turned a very mundane task into a hilariously unorthodox spectacle that anyone will surely get a good laugh out of. 

“People have told me before that they enjoy my reviews and I ultimately just want to make people laugh a little.” 

Since Peters is a senior, the last wrestling meet will mark his last review as well. Not only will the viewers that have followed Peters throughout his reviews surely miss his exceptionally quirky videos, but the rest of the study body will miss his outgoing and charismatic character as well. 

“I hope that when I leave AL someone will keep the tradition of doing hot dogs reviews,” Peters said. “I want someone to continue making people laugh just by eating a hot dog.” 

Even if no one continues Peters’ hot dog legacy, he is sure to be remembered for finding laughter even in the smallest thing and touching hearts one hot dog at a time.

The AL wrestlers will be competing at Districts tomorrow on Feb. 15 so make sure to go watch and find out this year’s hot dog champion on Peters’ final hot dog review on his snapchat using the snapcode provided. You can scan his username here: