Tailgating with Joe Drozda: Keeping warm this season

Onion soup is just one warm recipe to help during chilly tailgates. (Submitted photo)

Onion soup is just one warm recipe to help during chilly tailgates. (Submitted photo)

Commentary by Joe Drozda and Bob Bley


Once again, as we drive to the game, we can’t help but notice that all the corn and bean fields have been harvested and warm days seem to have vanished. Most of the fall color for trees is gone as well. So what does this mean?

It means that we’ve pressed that little weather icon on our phones at least two dozen times. It means that we are going to have to find good ways to enjoy a tailgate party without shuddering from the cold. So here are some basics things to remember. Staying warm requires understanding two key principles: conduction and convection.

Conduction is the transfer of heat between two solid surfaces that are in direct contact with each other, such as when you stand on cold pavement. Convection is the transfer of heat between a mass (such as your body) and a moving fluid or gas (such as a cool wind that whips around every square inch of you). Understanding both of these chilling mechanisms, as well as the workings of your body’s built-in thermoregulatory system, will help keep you warm when you next cold-weather tailgate.

  • Dress in layers so you can keep the wind out and be able to remove items so that you don’t sweat when your body does heat up.
  • Avoid the wind by setting up on the lee side of your vehicle or having a canopy-tent with a walled side.
  • Have a heat source. The best one is the sun, but if there is no sun then have your grill hot and in your seating area.
  • Keep your body hydrated.
  • Keep your body “furnace” stoked with hot foods, hot beverages, and slow-burning food calories from proteins.

A great option is a soup. Here’s one that tastes great and will warm your body as well.



1 lb. onions sliced

2 tsp. fine sugar

2 heaping tbsp. flour

8 cups beef stock (or 10 cubes bullion in 8 cups H20)

4 tbsp. butter

Salt (unless you use bullion which already has a lot)


French bread

Gruyere and/or Mozzarella cheese


In a soup pot, brown onions slowly in butter until they become transparent. Add sugar and cook just three more minutes before adding flour and cook another minute. Add beef stock and bring the whole mixture to a boil while stirring. Lower your heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Salt and pepper the soup as you like it, let it cool, and then refrigerate the soup (overnight) in a large square, re-sealable container. On game day pack the container of soup into your food cooler along with your other foods. Use a separate cooler for drinks so that the foods stay cold until you prepare them.

At the game, pour the soup into a large pot and heat on a Coleman stove or your grill. (You can also use a regular grill to heat soup, but allow more time.) Just before serving the soup, grill cuts of French bread on one side, then after turning them over, place the cheese on top until it starts to melt. Set the hunk of bread atop this beautiful soup in individual bowls. Coleman also has nice metal coffee mugs that go great as soup bowls for this mixture. They help the soup warm the hands as well as the heart. Go team!


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