Hot Brown Sandwich

Hot Brown Sandwich is a Derby Day classic from Louisville Kentucky with turkey, bacon, tomatoes and Mornay sauce on thick slices of bread.
Hot Brown Sandwich

Hot Brown Sandwich

By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

I’ve never been to the Derby, even though it was my Dad’s home town. He left Kentucky to join the Navy at the end of the War (lied about his age doing so, but since he was the youngest and his brothers all went to war he was not going to be the odd man out). He served on the U.S.S. Duluth.

After the war he married my Mom, and they lived in California for a time until coming back to Missouri  to seek work, and he remained there ever since. But I still have kin in Louisville and roots that grown deeper than my feet in that surrounding area.

Of course, I live in Cincinnati which is a stone’s throw from Kentucky. It amounts to half the city. We pop down there from time to time, but generally I live on the north side and hang out here. When we do pop down there, I don’t often see a lot of what I might call Kentucky-Centric food. The food in our area is somewhat Southern and has that Cincinnati  character. Many of my recipes reflect that. I’m hoping to do some other Kentucky type foods soon, like Black Barbecue, which has a distinct sauce and is usually made for use with mutton. Mutton can be really hard to find though, even for me, and I consider myself rather adept at procuring ingredients.

I don’t really follow horse racing either, although I love horses, and if  you drive down past the metro towards Lexington, you can see a lot of horse ranches around here. Not the Texas type, but the Kentucky type with many meadows full of bluegrass.

But anyway- if you’re following the race this year, I hope you stay dry. We have had SO much rain. They say the horses that are “Mudders” will do well this race (those being the ones who run best on muddy tracks) and it is also likely to still be raining. But if you stay at home and make this sandwich, perhaps along with a Mint Julep and a slice of Derby Pie, you should stay dry enough, catching the race on tv if you can.

Hot Brown Sandwich

Join me tomorrow when I share my recipe for BBQ Chicken Salad, and then all next week is Brunch Week. Lots of things going on! Join  me each day to make sure you don’t miss a bite!


Hot Brown Sandwich

Hot Brown Sandwich

Hot Brown Sandwich

No ratings yet
Total Time 30 mins
Course Sandwiches
Cuisine American
Servings 2


  • 4 slices Texas toast or other thickly sliced white bread
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced roasted turkey breast (I used Boar's Head Salsalito)
  • 1 large tomato (thickly sliced)
  • 4 slices cooked bacon
  • Mornay Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 ounces shredded white cheddar cheese
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • dash nutmeg


  • Cook bacon and set aside.
  • While bacon is cooking, heat the butter in a saucepan and whisk in the flour to make a roux; cook about a minute, then stir in the milk,  salt, pepper and nutmeg, whisking and cooking until it thickens (usually about one minute after it comes to a boil).
  • Remove pan from heat and add shredded cheese while stirring, allowing it to melt. I do NOT add cheese while the pan is on the heat (and here is some science of cooking) as the heat breaks down the cheese and causes it to string and separate out the oils. If you've ever made cheese soup and seen it happen, now you know why. If the cheese doesn't melt with it off the heat, add the pan to warm it a little but whatever you do, do NOT let it boil.
  • On a baking pan place two slices of the Texas toast down, and cut the other two pieces in half diagonally and put the cut corners on  the ends of the bread slices to make it wider with pointed ends.
  • Pile the turkey on, top with slices of tomato, then cover with Mornay sauce.
  • Broil the open-faced sandwiches until lightly browned, then remove from oven/broiler and top with bacon, criss-crossed (Doesn't really matter about the "X" does it? But that's how it's done. )


From the kitchen of
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Hot Brown Sandwich


It’s said that in Louisville, Kentucky for 6 months leading up to the Kentucky Derby, that all conversation revolves around Derby Day. My blogger colleagues and I share some derby inspired foods. Is your hat ready?

Join my recipe group on Facebook for more recipes from blogger friends around the world!

Palatable Recipes

4 responses

  1. This sandwich up here in Michigan would be called a “melt”. When I was researching derby food, I had to also research this sandwich that I had never heard of before. It sounded delicious and I’m so glad you shared this recipe. It is going to be made in this household very soon.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: