The Hot Brown : Official Travel Source (2024)

Louisville's most famous dish is a local legend and a decadent delight.

The Hot Brown : Official Travel Source (1)

The legendary, open-face sandwich, which is made from Texas toast, thick-sliced turkey, cheesy Mornay sauce, crisp bacon and tomatoes, all baked until bubbling hot, was born here.

It all began at Louisville’s historic Brown Hotel back in the 1920s.

History goes that more than 1,200 guests would come each evening for the downtown hotel’s dinner and dance. When the guests finished kicking up their heels in the luxurious ballroom, they would head to the restaurant to sit back for a bite to eat. But it wasn’t long before they grew tired of the traditional late night ham and egg suppers that were being served.

So one day Chef Fred Schmidt decided to cook up a new, mouthwatering menu item. The Hot Brown was born.

These days, the Brown Hotel has become synonymous with the tasty entrée and estimates making between 400 and 500 each week. The requests double during Kentucky Derby season.

But the Hot Brown is not just a local favorite. It’s received attention all over the globe, including in Southern Living, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. It’s also been spotlighted on the “Today” show, “Good Morning America” and Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food.”

Hot Brown

Yields 2

  • 1 ½ tbs. butter
  • 1 ½ tbs. flour
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup Pecorino Romano Cheese plus additional for topping
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 14 oz. roasted turkey
  • 4 slices of Texas Toast
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 4 slices of cooked bacon
  • Paprika and fresh parsley for garnish

First, make the Mornay sauce. In a heavy sauce pan add butter and simmer over medium heat. Once melted add the flour and whisk until well combined but don’t let it brown. Add the cream and bring back to a simmer until thickened (about three minutes) stirring constantly. Once thickened remove the sauce from the heat and add ¼ cup of the cheese. Stir until melted and then add a pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

For each hot brown you will layer the ingredients in an au gratin dish. First, two pieces of toast, then two or three slices of tomato, turkey and cover in Mornay sauce. Top with some more cheese and put the dish under the broiler until lightly browned and bubbly (about 5 minutes). Finish the dish with a pinch of paprika, two bacon slices and fresh parsley.

Try pairing it with a Whiskey Sour

  • 2 oz. Bourbon
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Cherry juice for garnish

In a co*cktail shaker with ice add the Bourbon, egg white, lemon juice and sugar and shake vigorously. Strain into a co*cktail glass and garnish with cherry juice.

The Hot Brown : Official Travel Source (2024)


Why is it called Hot Brown? ›

One night, instead of the usual ham and eggs, head chef Fred Schmidt concocted a new dish with items he had on hand in the hotel kitchen. He called it the hot brown after the hotel. “A lot of it is legend,” says Salmon, the hotel's human resources director and unofficial keeper of the dish's oral history.

What sandwich is Louisville known for? ›

A Hot Brown is a hot open-faced sandwich originally created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, by Fred K. Schmidt in 1926.

How many rooms does the Brown Hotel in Louisville have? ›

What is a Hot Brown made of? ›

What is a Kentucky Hot Brown made of? Created in 1926 by Fred K. Schmidt at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, traditional Hot Browns are open-faced warm sandwiches loaded with roast turkey, lightly charred tomatoes, creamy Mornay sauce, crisp bacon, and melted cheese.

What is the famous food in Kentucky? ›

8 Iconic Kentucky Dishes to Try in Your Lifetime
  • HOT BROWN. The Hot Brown was created at the Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville in 1926, and it's still the best place to try one. ...
  • BURGOO. ...
  • BARBECUE. ...
  • DERBY-PIE® ...
Jul 25, 2023

What is Mornay sauce made of? ›

A Mornay sauce is a béchamel sauce with shredded or grated cheese added. Some variations use different combinations of Gruyère, Emmental cheese, white cheddar or even Parmesan cheese. A Mornay sauce made with cheddar is commonly used to make macaroni and cheese.

What movie was filmed at the Brown Hotel, Louisville? ›

Elizabethtown (2005)

A number of big-name stars, including Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst came to Kentucky to film this rom-com. Local filming spots include the Brown Hotel, Highland Middle School and Cave Hill Cemetery.

What hotel was used in the movie Elizabethtown? ›

The Brown Hotel in Louisville, where Orlando Bloom's character stayed in the movie. Otter Creek Park where Bloom's and Dunst's characters met to see the sun rise.

Does the Brown Hotel have an airport shuttle? ›

We are pleased to offer our guests complimentary shuttle van service to and from the Louisville International Airport from 6am-11pm. Once you have landed, please call 502-736-2985 for shuttle pick up. Pets not allowed (service animals are welcome, and are exempt from fees).

What food is Louisville known for? ›

Foods that Louisville is Known For
  • The Hot Brown is the quintessential Louisville culinary creation!
  • Modjeska's are a delicious culinary creation that you can only get at Muth's Candies in NuLu! ...
  • A Mint Julep served at the Kentucky Derby.
  • The Old Fashioned is the official co*cktail of Louisville!
Nov 13, 2022

What is the difference between turkey Devonshire and Hot Brown? ›

The difference between the two is that the Kentucky sandwich is covered in a Mornay sauce made with grated hard cheese like Gruyere, Swiss or Parmesan, a dash of nutmeg and no stock. The Devonshire sauce is made with cheddar cheese.

Why is the Brown Hotel famous? ›

Louisville's Culinary Legend

In the 1920s, the Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. By the wee hours of the morning, guests would grow weary of dancing and make their way to the restaurant for a bite to eat.

What is a Hot Brown Chick Fil A? ›

About The Dwarf House

Along with the classic Chick-fil-A® menu, The Dwarf House staples include Dwarf Burgers, Giant Burgers and the famous Hot Brown, which is chicken mixed with cream sauce, cheese and bacon.

What is Brown Hotel famous for? ›

Louisville's Culinary Legend

In the 1920s, the Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. By the wee hours of the morning, guests would grow weary of dancing and make their way to the restaurant for a bite to eat.

How many calories are in a Kentucky Hot Brown? ›

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
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