Ultimate Kentucky Hot Brown and a visit to Louisville

I just returned from my first visit to Louisville, Kentucky where I had the opportunity to tour GE’s Monogram design center. The best part? I got to go and hang out with some of my favorite bloggers from all over the country. Some of those bloggers I felt like I already knew from our conversations on Twitter, so meeting in person was a real treat!

Our group stayed at the lovely Brown Hotel, est. in 1923, and known for its Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich, created by the hotel’s chefs shortly after opening. This open faced sandwich features a thick slice of toasted bread that is topped with a generous amount of roasted turkey, a crazy amount of mornay sauce, tomato, Parmesan, and garnished with 2 slices of crispy bacon. What’s not to fall in love with here? Eating a Kentucky Hot Brown  was on my wish list during  the 48 hours I spent in Louisville, an idea my new friend Sarah of 20 Something Cupcakes was also on board with.

Though we found many ways to enjoy the bourbon Kentucky is famous for, we never got our hands on that sandwich. Eating a Hot Brown prepared at the Brown Hotel will remain on our bucket lists along with attending the Kentucky Derby in a beautiful dresses and fancy hats.


In the meantime, Chef Joe Castro, who worked as executive chef at the Brown Hotel for 15 years shared his recipe with me, which I decided to make at home for my family upon my return.

I know now what all the fuss was about, cuz boy was it good! It is however extremely rich. The recipe makes 2 sandwiches, but the idea of using a quart of heavy cream was something I couldn’t get my arms around. I followed chef Joe’s recipe, but made 4 sandwiches with the sauce and still had a bit leftover. I also reduced the amount of turkey. So did I recreate a true Kentucky Hot Brown with my changes? I don’t know, but it was about all our stomachs could tackle, and I am pretty sure I won’t be having my cholesterol checked any time soon!

Stay tuned for more about my trip to Louisville and the GE Monogram Experience Center tour.

Kentucky Hot Brown (recipe courtesy of Joe Castro)


1/2 Stick Butter
1/3 Cup Flour
1 Quart Heavy Cream
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
Salt & Pepper to Taste
14 Ounces Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast
2 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
4 Pieces of Crispy Bacon
2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half Lengthways
1 tsp Paprika
2 tsp Chopped Parsley
  1. In a sauce pan over medium-high heat melt the butter then add the flour to make a roux.
  2. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring then whisk in the cream
  3. Add the bay leaf and nutmeg to the cream and bring the cream to a simmer (make sure you stir often as the roux will stick to the bottom and burn)
  4. Once it’s simmering cook for two minutes then take off the heat and add the 1/2 cup of Parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper
  5. Using two small, oven-safe dishes place a slice of bread and cover with half of the turkey.
  6. Cover the turkey with half of the cream sauce then place two tomato halves along side of the toast and turkey.
  7. Sprinkle each dish with the remaining Parmesan and cook under a broiler until brown and bubbly
  8. Remove from the broiler and cross two slices of bacon over each Hot Brown then garnish with a pinch of paprika and a little parsley



6 thoughts on “Ultimate Kentucky Hot Brown and a visit to Louisville”

  1. Debi- my roommates in college, from Louisville, made these all the time- minus the heavy cream…just milk. Yes, they are rich..but YUM! My mouth is watering!

  2. Looks perfect! Exactly like the one at the Brown Hotel! A quart of cream in there, eh? Glad I didn’t know that when I had one as a 2nd breakfast!!

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