Hot Brown Sandwich, sometimes know as a Kentucky Brown, is an open-faced turkey sandwich with turkey, bacon, pimientos, and a delicate Mornay sauce. The sandwich is place under the broiler to melt the cheese.
Kentucky is know for more than the Kentucky Derby, it is also famous for the classic Hot Brown Sandwich. It is said that the hotel restaurant sells more than 800 of these delicious sandwich each week during the regular season. During the Kentucky Derby, held in May each year, that number increases to around 1,200 Hot Brown Sandwiches. Now that’s a lot of sandwiches!
History of Hot Brown Sandwich:
1926 – Chef Fred K. Schmidt at the Camberley Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, created the Hot Brown Sandwich in 1926. In the 1920s, the Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. The band would play until late, and when the band took bread, around midnight; people would retire to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Bored with the traditional ham and eggs, Chef Schmidt, delighted his guests by creating the Hot Brown.
The following story, about the creation of the Hot Brown sandwich, by Rudy Suck, hotel manager during the 1920s, was given to me by the Camberley Brown Hotel:
The Hot Brown was developed three or four years after the hotel opened when the supper dance business was falling off. The band would play from 10:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. When they took a break, around midnight, people would order food. It was usually ham and eggs.
We decided we needed something new. The chef, Fred K. Schmidt, said, “I have an idea for an open-faced turkey sandwich with Mornay sauce over it.” At that time turkeys were only used at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and they had just started selling them year-round:
I said, “That sounds a little flat.”
The chef said, “I’m going to put it under the broiler.”
The maitre d’ said, “It should have a little color, too.”
So Schmidt said, “We’ll put two strips of bacon on top of it.”
I said, “How about some pimiento.”
That’s how the Hot brown came to be.
Today the Hot Brown sandwich is still a Louisville favorite and still the signature dish of the Camberley Brown Hotel. A visit to Louisville is not complete without tasting this wonderful sandwich.
Hot Brown Sandwich Recipe:
Source: Photos and recipe courtesy of the Camberley Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky.