Why Bobby Flay Puts Chicken Broth on Thanksgiving Dishes (and Other Cooking Tips From the Chef)

Chef Bobby Flay
Bobby Flay has all sorts of tips and tricks. | Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Hellman’s

One of the Food Network’s most well-known chefs is Bobby Flay. He is a grilling master who makes cooking look effortless and easy. Make cooking easier for yourself by following Bobby’s cooking tips.

1. Don’t pour dressing on a salad

Never have too much dressing on your salad again. Flay told Food and Wine magazine how he achieves the perfect dressing to lettuce ratio. “I pour it against the side of the bowl—using only enough to glaze the leaves—then toss,” Flay said. Another trick to enhance a salad is to season lettuce with salt and pepper before dressing the salad. Flay told Bon Appetit this brings out the flavor of the greens.

Next: Why you need a hot skillet.

2. Start with a hot skillet

The pan needs to be properly heated. | iStock/Getty Images

“If you don’t see a wisp of smoke coming from the oil in your skillet, you’ll never get a proper sear on that steak or fish,” Bobby Flay told Bon Appetit. Flay warns meat will get steamed if the pan is overcrowded. Avoid overcrowding by cooking meat in batches.

Next: Why your finger is a useful kitchen tool.

3. Don’t overcook your food

cooked New York Strip garnished
Know what different steaks feel like. | JPphoto1992/iStock/Getty Images

“People are always concerned whether something is cooked enough. But they’re never concerned with whether it’s overcooked,” Bobby Flay told Bon Appetit. Bobby recommends using what’s called the touch test. He told Food Network, he uses his finger to test for doneness. “A rare steak feels soft and spongy, medium springs back a bit when pressed, and well-done feels firm.”

Next: Taste testing is really OK. 

4. Taste food as you cook

Taste as you go. | iStock/Getty Images

“I always tell my cooks: If you’re not chewing in the kitchen, you’re not cooking. You’ve got to taste the food as you go,” Flay told Bon Appetit. Don’t be afraid to grab a spoon and taste test along the way. That way, you’ll season your dish in layers and make the food more flavorful.

Next: Ease up on sugary cocktails.

5. Don’t put too much sugar in cocktails

Aperitif drink preparation
Too much sugar will overwhelm your cocktail. | LiliGraphie/iStock/Getty Images

Flay says to go easy on the sugar in cocktails. “You should think of your drink like a vinaigrette. It needs to be balanced,” Flay told Bon Appetit. Add sweetness to a drink in other ways. For instance, use fresh fruit to sweeten up a cocktail.

Next: Why you should make lots of cocktails.

6. Make big batches of cocktails

A big pitcher of sangria would be perfect. | iStock/Getty Images

Flay offered up another tip when it comes to making cocktails. Serve a crowd with ease by following Bobby’s tip. In Flay’s book, Brunch @ Bobby’s: 140 Recipes for the Best Part of the Weekend, Flay recommends brunch hosts “serve a cocktail that can be made and served in a pitcher if you are having more than two people,” according to an excerpt from sheknows.com.

Next: Why you’re cooking with the wrong oil.

7. Cook with two oils

Olive oil in a bowl
Don’t cook with olive oil. | Dulezidar/iStock/Getty Images

“You should always have two oils on hand in your house: a light oil to cook with and then a really good extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle, but not to cook with,” Flay said in a cooking demonstration, according to Food Network. According to Bon Appetit, Flay uses canola oil to cook with because it has a higher cooking point and won’t change the flavor of the food he’s cooking. Flay drizzles olive oil on a dish before serving.

Next: How to get the perfect scrambled eggs.

8. Don’t add salt to scrambled eggs right away

fluffy scrambled eggs on a piece of taost
Hold off on the salt. | iStock/Getty Images

Flay told PopSugar how he achieves perfect scrambled eggs. “No salt until the end, because you want those smooth curves on the eggs, and the salt will ruin that,” Flay said. He also said he plates the eggs when they’re three-quarters of the way cooked. Why? See tip No. 3.

Next: The most overlooked seasonings in your kitchen.

9. Don’t forget salt and pepper

salt shaker and pepper mill
The not so hidden secret. | Todd Taulman/iStock/Getty Images

The unsung heroes of the cooking are salt and pepper. They’re crucial to any dish. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle salt and pepper liberally on your food. According to Food Network, in a cooking demonstration, Flay said he asks, “Did you season that with salt and pepper on both sides?” the most when he’s working at one of his restaurants.

Next: How to melt cheese perfectly.

10.Use water to melt cheese on a burger

Cheeseburger on the grill
You can’t have a cheeseburger without melted cheese. | rpernell/iStock/Getty Images

Flay uses water to completely melt a slice of cheese on a burger. After splashing water on the cheese, he covers the burger, allowing the steam trapped in the pan to melt the cheese, Flay told The Today Show. Melting cheese is so important to Flay, he reminds his staff. “In my restaurants, there is a sign in each kitchen that says: ‘Bobby Says Melt the Cheese Completely.’ It has to be melted to have the perfect cheeseburger,” Flay told The Today Show.

Next: Why your grill needs a lid.

11. Don’t watch your grill 24/7

chicken pieces on a grill
Stop peeking. | iStock/Getty Images

Flay told Forbes, “Resist the urge to constantly lift the lid … every time you do that you lose smoke, which will make it less flavorful and also the temperature will go down quickly. You want to maintain a consistent temperature.” If your grill doesn’t have a lid, get one. Like Flay said, your food will cook evenly and be more flavorful.

Next: Flay’s must-have Thanksgiving ingredient.

12. Use chicken stock on your Thanksgiving dishes

Pretty much everything can benefit from a little chicken stock. | iStock/Getty Images

In a Bon Appetit video, Flay explains why he uses chicken broth on his Thanksgiving sides. Flay puts hot chicken stock on his turkey “to bring it back to temperature.” Flay said he adds hot chicken stock to dressings and some of his Thanksgiving sides. “Hot chicken stock is the key to Thanksgiving,” Flay said in the video. Flay told Food Network, “I use more than most people would deem necessary to make sure my bread stuffing is very moist.”

Next: Why Bobby doesn’t plate his food.

13. Serve food family-style

Serve things family-style. | iStock/Getty Images

Flay has said again and again, how much he enjoys serving food family-style. (It’s the only way Flay will serve fried chicken, according to PopSugar) “It gets me to the table quicker,” Flay told Bon Appetit. Plus, everyone can take as much or as little of each dish as they’d like.

Next: How you’re ruining your meat.

14. Don’t add sauce too soon

small glass dish filled with barbecue sauce
Add the sauce on towards the end. | iStock/Getty Images

Flay told The Today Show, not to add sauce to meat too soon. “Put glazes on your meat during the last few minutes of cooking. The sauce (especially sweet ones) will burn if put on too early.” For example, adding barbecue sauce to chicken too early will cause the sauce to burn on the grill.

Next: Why Flay has to have two coffee grinders.

15. Buy two coffee grinders

Mixed spices
Grind your spices in a coffee grinder for the perfect rub. | iStock/Getty Images

Flay uses two coffee grinders. He uses “One to grind coffee and one to grind spices for rubs.” Flay told Men’s Health, “You get a much stronger, fresher flavor if you grind your own black pepper, coriander, cumin, mustard, nutmeg, and cinnamon.” An inexpensive grinder is all you need, Flay added.

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