Tired of bland turkey sandwiches? Let us introduce you to the Kentucky Hot Brown

Southern Kitchen
Kentucky Hot Brown

About the recipe

First created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, the Hot Brown is an open-faced turkey sandwich topped with bacon, tomato and Mornay sauce. You can use raw tomatoes, but we like the concentrated sweetness and acidity of roasted tomatoes.

Mornay is a derivative of the French mother sauce Béchamel — basically a milk gravy — but with the addition of cheese.

The Mornay sauce will best spread over the turkey when it’s still warm. If you’d like to add more cheese during the broiling process, feel free to do so.

Serves: 4

Hands On Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes


Mornay sauce

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup all purpose flour

3 cups milk

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

4 slices thick cut white bread or Texas toast

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 Roma tomatoes, halved

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds roasted turkey breast, sliced 1/2 inch thick

8 strips smoked bacon, cooked until crispy

1/4 bunch fresh Italian parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped


To make the Mornay sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Gradually whisk in the flour, and cook until the mixture tightens, then relaxes into a loose paste, about 2-3 minutes.

Whisk in the milk, and continually stir until simmering and sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat and whisk in seasonings and cheeses. Stir until smooth, and adjust seasoning with salt if desired. Store until ready to assemble. 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread one side of the bread with the butter. Place on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, toss the tomatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the tomatoes cut side up on a wire rack atop a baking sheet, and bake until tomatoes have slightly shriveled, about 20-25 minutes.

To assemble, evenly divide the turkey on top of each piece of toast. Place on a baking sheet, and cover the entire piece with the mornay sauce. Switch the oven to broil at 500 degrees until sauce starts to lightly caramelize. Transfer to a plate, and top each slice with two strips of bacon and two halves of the roasted tomatoes. Garnish each sandwich with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and serve immediately.