The Unorthodox Epicure — Presenting The MegaWatt (aka ‘The J.J. Watt Dog’)

It’s nice to know people.

No, I don’t know J.J. Watt. Ashamedly, I’d never really heard of him before moving to the Houston area a couple years ago. But trust me when I say that the mere mention of his name in these parts makes men stand up and salute, and women shudder with delight.

But there’s more to him than his near-genetically perfect good looks or his 275 pounds of purely skillful athleticism. He happens to be a nice guy who gives back — a lot — to his community. And he tends to do it on the fly more often than not, which is really cool, and a huge reason I’ve spent the last couple of months creating and honing a high-calorie hand food in his honor.

Now, among the people I do know is Chef Becca Heflin-Donovan, a Wisconsinite — just like J.J. — and master creator of beyond delicious edibles. There is no one better qualified to help me mix and match the flavors the Lone Star State with those of America’s Dairyland.

After much idea tossing and recipe back-and-forth, I knew I’d reached a culinary crescendo when Becca texted me three simple words: ‘Come to mama.’

The MegaWatt is truly an original, with two totally opposite condiments that meld splendidly, including Becca’s own Cranberry Mustard. The caramelized kraut and onion strings help round out this Texas-Wisconsin wonder. And the fried cheese curds that top it all off? Well, let’s just say that when Wisconsin folks are urged to Live Like You Mean It, I’m pretty sure they’re talking about these crisp gooey morsels of golden goodness.

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The MegaWatt (J.J. Watt Dog)

Bratwurst on bun

5.0 from 2 reviews
The MegaWatt (J.J. Watt Dog)
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 8
Caramelized Kraut
  • 1 can (14½ oz) – Sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 TB – Butter or bacon fat
Fried Cheese Curds
  • 2 lbs – Cheese curds, room temperature (substitute 2 lb. mild cheddar cut into 1½ inch cubes)
  • ½ cup – Self-rising flour, plus slightly more for dredging cheese
  • ½ cup – Beer
  • 1//2 tsp - Salt
  • 1 egg
Crispy Onion Strings
  • 1 – Large sweet onion, halved from top to bottom, then sliced as thinly as possible*
  • 2 cups – water
  • 2 TB – Baking soda
  • ½ cup – Self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp – Black pepper
  • 1 tsp – Salt
  1. Prepare the Fiery Jalapeno Relish and Cranberry Mustard.
Make the Crispy Onion Strings
  1. Combine water and baking soda; soak sliced onions in the mixture for 15 minutes. Rinse well and drain.
  2. Season onions with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss in flour, using a colander if necessary, to get rid of the excess flour.
  4. In a deep fryer or (deep) frying pan, heat oil to 350º F.
  5. Fry coated onions until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes; place on paper plate.
Make the Fried Cheese Curds
  1. Combine flour, beer, salt and egg. The mixture should resemble a thin pancake batter.
  2. Place 4-6 curds in the batter, and use a slotted spoon or mesh skimmer to lift them out (individually) and place in the 350º F oil.
  3. Fry until golden, about 3 minutes, and place on paper plate to drain.
  4. Repeat steps with remaining cheese curds.
Caramelized Kraut (can be made in advance and re-warmed)
  1. Preheat a large skillet/frying pan to medium-high.
  2. Place butter (or bacon fat) in hot pan.
  3. When it begins to sizzle, place the drained kraut in pan — spread out so as to brown evenly.
  4. Allow to cook for about 1 minute, then stir/turn as necessary to brown everything evenly.
Build the MegaWatts
  1. Spread Cranberry Mustard liberally on one side of each bun.
  2. Place brats in buns.
  3. Top brats with kraut on one side, and Fiery Jalapeno Relish on the other.
  4. Add a hefty pinch of Crispy Onion Strings (if you haven't eaten them already).
  5. Place 3-4 fried cheese curds atop everything.
  6. Serve immediately. (If J.J. Watt is your guest, he gets all 8 of these. Otherwise, one per person is quite filling.)
  7. Call your cardiologist and make an appointment. (It'll be necessary, but totally worth the angiogram than will follow.)
*- I use the thinnest insert on my mandoline



  1. Michelle Masters says:

    This born and raised Houston, Texas girl loves me some J.J. I will definitely be making this for friend and family….

    • adamjholland says:

      If you make a few extra and tag J.J., he might show up for dinner. Who knows? Glad you stopped by, Michelle! 🙂

  2. Okay – you had me at “Carmelized Kraut”. As I have mentioned on my personal FB page, my tastes have changed greatly – along with a need to change my diet — since my widowmaker. I now eat sweet relish on my hot dogs — something I never did before. I also eat a special hot dog from Boar’s Head that is very low sodium……….but when you mentioned carmelized kraut I knew I had met nirvana! We are having hot dogs Tuesday and so I’m off to get a can or jar at the store…………..I cannot wait to eat i t on my hot dogs.

    • adamjholland says:

      My bride does the sweet relish thing. I just can’t handle that. I’d rather eat the dog plain. The caramlized kraut though? It’s really good stuff. As for the low-sodium hot dogs, I’ve not tried them. The Boar’s Head pork & beef frankfurters are a regular purchase for me though.

  3. What an interesting recipe! I must say I never tried anything like this before, for sure. I bet it’s incredibly delicious. I’m gonna bookmark this so I can try it this weekend with my family. Thank you for sharing the ingredients and instructions! =)

  4. Good Lord! That hot dog has a lot of goodness going on. And did you say fried cheese curds????? Pinning to my hot dog board. Hope you’re having a fabulous Summer Adam.

    • adamjholland says:

      It’s definitely over the top. I have several toned down recipes to post, but this was sort of a must … since I recently replaced my deep fryer. 😉 I must say, when Chef Becca recommended the cranberry mustard, I was hesitant. But, my goodness! It’s the bomb diggity! P.S. – I’ve been watching your cooking school chronicles and am living vicariously through you.

  5. There are no words…..
    Actually, there are but I need to quote them: “Come to mama!”

  6. Adam, it’d be totally worth suffering through my dairy and wheat allergies to indulge in one of your Mega Watt Dogs (life’s too short not to ENJOY!), although my hubby might disagree given my “Jeckyll & Hyde” reaction to allergens. (He graciously puts up with ’em every time I fall off the wagon. 🙂 Homemade cheese curds, crispy onion strings, and fire-y jalapeno relish with cranberry mustard? Heck yeah. (Remind me not to visit you when I’m not “under the influence” — or bear with me when I am.) Gosh I miss a good dawg!

    P.S. I finally addressed your curiosity re: “Why Life Is Like A Sandwich.” 🙂 Take care, dude!

    • adamjholland says:

      Good to see you, Kim. I don’t cook like this very often (any more), especially considering that what you see in the photo is the result of several tinkering rounds. Fortunately, I still fit in my 36-inch pants after all of that.

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