The Kentucky Derby will be held this Saturday. Traditionally the first Saturday in May. In honor of that tradition I thought it may be a good time to remake my Kentucky Hot Brown video. This sandwich is a real treat and we love it. I make these about once a year and they are delicious! Toasted sourdough bread layered with thick slices of roasted turkey, juicy tomato and crispy bacon all covered with a delicious Mornay cheese sauce. These are rich and delicious and a little goes a long way. Let’s tip our hats and enjoy a Kentucky classic!

These sandwiches start with the cheesy Mornay sauce. That is nothing more than a fancy way of saying white sauce that has cheese added to it. I made a basic bechamel and added Monterey Jack cheese and Parmesan cheese to it. This sauce is mild with a tangy bite from the Parmesan. Perfect for adding just the right amount of flavor and creaminess to this dish. You can find my video for Monterey Mornay sauce here:

This is a great way of using leftover roasted turkey after a holiday or whenever you make a turkey. You can also use roasted or rotisserie chicken, but traditionally this is made with turkey. I have used a Jennie-O oven roasted turkey that I purchased from the meat case and sliced into thick for this application. You can also get turkey from the deli and ask them to slice it thick for you. That makes things super easy.

Building this sandwich is easy. I made all the sandwiches for my family on a sheet pan that was lined with foil. Toasted sourdough bread goes down first, then roasted turkey is shingled on top. I layered sliced tomatoes and lots of crisp bacon went on next. Then I ladled the Mornay sauce over each sandwich. Don’t use too much sauce or it will be come soggy and run everywhere.

You can stop there. Dinner is ready but I like to pop this under a broiler for a couple minutes to get everything browned and bubbly. I love to serve this with cranberry sauce and a dinner salad to make a whole meal.

Everyone loves this dish. It is a little special without being too fancy, but you certainly can make this fancy if you want too. The history behind the Kentucky hot brown goes a little something like this:

In 1926, The chef at the Camberley Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, created the Hot Brown Sandwich in 1926. In the 1920s, the Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. The band would play until late, and when the band took bread, around midnight; people would retire to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Bored with the traditional ham and eggs, Chef delighted his guests by creating the Hot Brown.
The Hot Brown was developed three or four years after the hotel opened when the supper dance business was falling off. The band would play from 10:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. When they took a break, around midnight, people would order food. It was usually ham and eggs.
They decided they needed something new. The chef said, “I have an idea for an open-faced turkey sandwich with Mornay sauce over it.” At that time turkeys were only used at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and they had just started selling them year-round:
The band suggested that this sounded a little dull.
The chef said, “I’m going to put it under the broiler.”
The maitre d’ said, “It should have a little color, too.”
So the chef said, “We’ll put two strips of bacon on top of it.”
One of the band members said “How about some pimiento?”
That’s how the Hot brown came to be.
Today the Hot Brown sandwich is still a Louisville favorite and still the signature dish of the Camberley Brown Hotel. A visit to Louisville is not complete without tasting this wonderful sandwich.

I hope you give the Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich a try, sometime soon and I hope you love it!

Happy Eating!

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  1. Oh thanks for the remake of this sandwich! I'm going to try it for this weekend – actually – saturday!

  2. Take it up one more notch and add a slice or two of thin sliced country ham, along with the sliced turkey….delicious!!! Kentucky born and raised in the beautiful Bluegrass State. Come on over to Kentucky. PS, I like my tomato slice on the top then topped with the bacon and put under the broiler.

  3. That looks so good & satisfying! I just made a turkey, cuz, why not…so after I buy bacon, we’re having this. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Omgosh Noreen, you surely know how to make my mouth water. This looks so delicious! Thanks for the sharing.

  5. I really enjoy your recipes,even though I’ve been cooking a long time you can still learn something new,you’re a great teacher

  6. You can toast your bread in a cast iron skillet for this sized bread slice. Works great! Thanks and God bless!

  7. Mouth watering, yummy looking !! Is the sandwich cold other than putting it under the broiler ? Is the sauce hot to start with ?

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