With less than three weeks until Thanksgiving, the countdown to all things turkey, potatoes and gravy is officially on. If you’ve begun to fret about how you’re going to execute the meal with ease this year, there’s reason to take comfort: At least you’re probably not cooking for 50 people. That’s how many guests are expected to show up at Bobby Flay‘s house on Thanksgiving, though in true Iron Chef fashion, Bobby has a surefire plan to approach the day. FN Dish recently checked in with Bobby on set and at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa to learn more about his holiday traditions and find out what the trickiest part of meal prep is for him. Read on below to hear from Bobby in an exclusive interview, and learn the go-to ingredient he uses in five key ways on Thanksgiving (hint: you likely have it in your pantry now).
What does Thanksgiving look like at your house?
Bobby Flay: On the holiday, there are usually 50 people at my house that I cook for. It ranges from family to friends to … Basically, it’s just a tradition every year where I cook two 30-pound turkeys, and I usually theme the Thanksgiving. I actually haven’t thought about what it’s going to be this year …. But we usually pick a theme that has to do with an occurrence that has taken place in the world.
Is it true you wake up at 4 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning? What’s the first thing you tackle?
BF: 2 a.m., because I usually cook for, like, 50 or 60 people, so I have to get the turkeys in the oven right away so I can get the turkeys out of the oven so I can start cooking everything else. I can do other things while the turkeys are roasting: I can start making the dressing and the cranberries and all the side dishes.
You’ve said before that pulling off Thanksgiving dinner is hard even for professional chefs. What’s the trickiest element of the meal for you?
BF: I guess the hardest part for me is getting everything hot to the table. I think that’s everybody’s big issue. I do it with hot chicken stock. A lot of the things I can rewarm with hot chicken stock, and that kind of helps a lot of it.
Tell me more about the chicken stock trick. How else do you use it?
BF: In the bottom of the turkey roasting pan, for the gravy, to reheat the turkey when it’s sliced, to put it in the stuffing and also to reheat the stuffing.
What chef-tested Thanksgiving tip can you offer to home cooks?
BF: My chef tip is: Roast the turkeys, let them rest, then carve them before you serve them.
Tune in to Thanksgiving at Bobby’s on Saturday, Nov. 22 at 12|11c.