Tailgating with Joe Drozda: Cold weather food survey

Be prepared to serve everyone two servings of this turkey chili. (Submitted photo)

Be prepared to serve everyone two servings of this turkey chili. (Submitted photo)

Commentary by Joe Drozda and Bob Bley


Football season, in our part of the nation, begins around Labor Day and ends usually after Thanksgiving.  Early in the season tailgate temperatures are in the high 80s, with a hot sun that burns us.  This is when we need shelter from the sun, we hope for a breeze and we use sunscreen to protect our skin.  This is the time of the year we serve cold foods and cold beverages.  In a short three months things change a lot.

Usually by late season we are expecting cold weather.  This is when we eat hot foods and drink hot beverages.  This is when we try to find a way to sit in the sun and get a shelter erected so we can be out of the snow, freezing rain and dreaded wind that blows a chill almost right through our bones.

We annually survey tailgate lots for menu items and preferences.  Here are the 2014 top choices for cold weather main course foods.

  • Chili is first with 45 percent
  • Sausage 18 percent
  • Chicken 10 percent
  • Non-chili soups 6 percent

Cold Weather Turkey Chili

Made with ground turkey, this chili avoids a little of the fat of ground beef without losing any of the flavor we require for pre-game and post-game meals.


2 lbs. ground turkey

3 pkgs. McCormick’s Chili Mix (or your favorite)

3 28oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes (un-drained)

4 15oz. cans dark red kidney beans (un-drained)

To Prepare:

Brown the turkey in a large pot, drain it if you must, and then add everything else. Bring the mixture to a low boil and then reduce the heat to allow the chili to simmer for one hour. Stir the mixture occasionally.

Serve with oyster crackers or French bread.  If you have children at your party, you can float some hot dogs in this chili for 15 minutes and serve them on buns for the kids.


Unless you tailgate with wimps, you’ll need to have enough chili to serve everyone at least two bowls of this cold weather favorite!  The whole tomatoes become very hot and sooth one’s pipes in the sore throat cold weather post-game tailgate party.


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