Kentucky, famous for its horse races and bourbon, is also home to the classic American Hot Brown. This open-face sandwich is steeped in rich history - developed in the roaring 1920’s by hotel chef Fred Schmidt at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. Tired and hungry after a night of dancing, flappers and guests would head into the restaurant for a bite to eat. Wanting to provide some variation from the standard egg and ham sandwiches they served, he developed this thing of beauty – an open-faced turkey sandwich with fresh tomato slices and crisp bacon on thick white toast covered in a thicky, bubbly Mornay sauce.
The Hot Brown is still the most popular item on the menu at the Brown Hotel. It becomes more popular around the time of the Derby, but it's really an attraction year-round. People love the historic aspect of the sandwich and enjoying it at the place where it was invented. It's something that people specifically come to the hotel to enjoy. If you’re visiting in Louisville, there’s even a trail you can follow, the Hot Brown Hop, to try different takes on this sandwich across the city.
This is my take on the classic, and it is a family favorite WINNER!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I think there's a Mint Julep calling my name - and I've got the perfect dinner to go with it. And we're off to the races!