Oh, y’all. If you have never had a Kentucky Hot Brown, you are going to fall in love with this recipe. I’m a Louisville native and this is one of the things that I absolutely love about home. There are so many versions of this recipe, even within my own family. If you’ve never heard of the Kentucky Hot Brown before, it is a layered, open-faced sandwich that originated at The Brown Hotel in the 1920s, and remains one of the most famous dishes from Louisville. If you ever get to visit, put a visit to the Brown Hotel on your list! The sandwich is made up of 5 basic layers:
Smoked turkey ( variations include ham, chicken breast, pulled pork, lunch meat, etc…)
Mornay sauce (Mornay is traditionally a gruyere cheese sauce. It has a unique flavor that is delicious, but it’s just a little too much for my family. I use white cheddar, sharp cheddar, smoked provolone or colby jack. Just a preference thing.)
The great news is, no matter what you put on it, you really can’t mess it up. It’s always delicious. Here in Kentucky, putting your own twist on a Hot Brown is what makes every family’s version special. This is my personal recipe and a lot like the Brown Hotel’s version with just a few differences! Here’s what I use:
6 pieces Texas Toast
2 lbs smoked turkey breast
2 vine-ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 slices of thick cut, crispy bacon per sandwich
Dash of shredded Parmesan cheese to serve
Dash of parsley to garnish
Cheese Sauce (Mornay Sauce if using gruyere cheese)
1 1/2 c. cheese, grated
1 c. whole milk
1 c. heavy cream
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- Preheat broiler to 550 degrees.
- Toast each slice of bread for 3-4 minutes, then butter both sides and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Cook bacon until crispy,then set aside on a paper-towel lined plate.
- Slice turkey into sandwich-sized pieces, set aside.
- Slice tomatoes, and set aside.
- Prepare the sauce:
- Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over med-low heat.
- Whisk in flour until mixed and smooth to make a roux.
- Slowly whisk in cream and milk.
- Add cheese slowly and continue to whisk until the cheese sauce is smooth
- Stir in nutmeg.
- Remove from heat.
- Layer on top of the Texas toast, in this order, 3-4 pieces of turkey, 2 tomatoes, cheese sauce, and then top with two pieces of bacon, criss-crossed. Do this on every piece of toast.
- Broil for about 3 minutes.
- Top with parmesan cheese and parsley before serving.
So I’m curious! How do you make your Kentucky Hot Brown? I always love hearing all the different variations and the stories behind your recipe! For this recipe and more, click on the Recipes page.