Hot Brown

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Hot Brown
Hot Brown Kurtz.jpg
The Hot Brown was first served at Louisville's Brown Hotel
Type Sandwich
Place of origin United States
Region or state Louisville, Kentucky
Creator Fred K. Schmidt, Brown Hotel
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredients Turkey, bacon, Mornay sauce
Cookbook: Hot Brown  Media: Hot Brown

A Hot Brown Sandwich (sometimes known as a Kentucky Hot Brown) is an American hot sandwich originally created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, by Fred K. Schmidt in 1926. It is a variation of traditional Welsh rarebit and was one of two signature sandwiches created by chefs at the Brown Hotel shortly after its founding in 1923. It was created to serve as an alternative to ham and egg late-night suppers.[1]


The Hot Brown is an open-faced sandwich of turkey and bacon, covered in Mornay sauce and baked or broiled until the bread is crisp and the sauce begins to brown. Many Hot Browns also include ham with the turkey, and either pimentos or tomatoes over the sauce, and imitation Hot Browns sometimes substitute a commercial cheese sauce instead of the Mornay.

More common alternatives to the Hot Brown include using Cheddar cheese or American cheese for the sauce. Alternatives for garnishes include tomatoes, mushroom slices, and, very rarely, canned peaches.[1][2]

When Fred K. Schmidt created the Hot Brown, its sliced roast turkey was a rarity, as turkey was usually reserved for holiday feasts. The original Hot Brown included the sliced turkey on an open-faced white toast sandwich, with Mornay sauce covering it, with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, completed by being oven-broiled until bubbly. Pimento and bacon strips were then added to it. After its debut, it quickly became the choice of ninety-five percent of the customers to the Brown Hotel's restaurant.[1][2]

The dish is a local specialty and favorite of the Louisville area, and is popular throughout Kentucky. It was long unavailable at its point of origin, as the Brown Hotel was shut down from 1971 to 1985.[1]


The "cold brown" was baked poultry (chicken or turkey), hard-boiled egg, lettuce, and tomato open-faced on rye bread, and covered with Thousand Island dressing. It is rarely served anymore.[1]

In St. Louis, the Prosperity Sandwich is a similar dish, with origins at the Mayfair Hotel in the 1920s.[3] It is still served in the area today, and sometimes called a "hot brown".[4]

Hot Brown on TV[edit]

The Hot Brown was featured in an episode of Throwdown! with Bobby Flay on the Food Network. Joe and John Castro, chefs of the Brown Hotel in Kentucky, competed and won against Flay in a cook-off. The Hot Brown was also featured on the Travel Channel network show Taste of America with Mark DeCarlo and the PBS documentary Sandwiches That You Will Like. The Hot Brown was featured on NBC's The Today Show, where Top Chef champion Hosea Rosenberg erroneously ascribes the origin of the sandwich's name to it being "hot and bubbly brown".[5] It was also featured on a Louisville-themed episode of Man v. Food Nation, also on the Travel Channel. A variation of the Hot Brown was featured on PBS's The Mind of a Chef, where Chef David Chang presented his interpretation of the sandwich.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Kleber, John E. (I) The Kentucky Encyclopedia. UP of Kentucky. p. 443.
  2. ^ a b Kleber, John E. (II) Encyclopedia of Louisville. (University Press of Kentucky). pg.404.
  3. ^ Patricia Treacy (2005). The Grand Hotels of St. Louis. Arcadia Publishing. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-7385-3974-4. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "Prosperity sandwich is a longtime favorite in St. Louis". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. August 3, 2011. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  5. ^ Hosea Rosenberg appearance on The Today Show

External links[edit]