Bobby Flay's Thanksgiving Advice For First-Time Turkey Chefs

Whether you're a novice or an expert, Thanksgiving is arguably the biggest cooking day of the year. Between the turkey, the side dishes, and dessert, even the most seasoned chefs can get overwhelmed. Luckily, if there's one things cooks like to talk about, it's Thanksgiving. So of course, Bobby Flay, star of "Beat Bobby Flay," many other Food Network shows, and owner of several acclaimed restaurants, once stopped by "TODAY" to give his best advice about cooking a turkey. While his advice is particularly geared towards novices, even if you've done it before, his tips are priceless.

Flay sat down with Al Roker and Tamron Hall to answer some viewer questions about how to make your turkey a Thanksgiving masterpiece. There are some common concerns we have every year, and Flay answered pretty much all of them: What's the best way to cook a turkey? Should you brine your turkey? And does stuffing go in the turkey, or is it baked in its own dish? Flay's got all the answers.

This the easy way Bobby Flay cooks his own Thanksgiving turkey

Don't worry, first-timers — Bobby Flay knows just how home chefs should cook their first turkey with confidence (and ease). "Really simple: Do what I do," he said, answering a fan's question on "TODAY" back in 2016. "Don't brine, put the turkey in a roasting pan, season it with salt and pepper, slather a bunch of melted butter in there, and kick it in the oven" to roast at 400 degrees. Leave the turkey at that temperature for about 45 minutes, then cover it with foil so the skin doesn't burn, reduce the oven to 350, and cook it until it's done. Use a meat thermometer to help you know when your turkey is completely cooked through.

Next up was the question of whether or not to stuff your turkey — but first, a little clarification. In answer to the viewer question, "What's the difference between stuffing and dressing?" Flay explains that stuffing refers to dressing baked inside the bird, while dressing is made in a pan. Flay prefers dressing, because it gets nice and crispy on top as it roasts, and the turkey also cooks more evenly and quickly without stuffing inside. 

To sum it all up: If it's your first time cooking a turkey, go simple — skip the brine and the stuffing, use Flay's salt, pepper, and butter roasting technique, and enjoy.