The Hot Brown Burger is a double decker turkey burger topped with bacon, tomato, and a rich cheddar Mornay sauce. Grab a bib because this burger is deliciously messy.
This year, I wanted to pay homage to one of my favorite sandwiches of all time. The Hot Brown. It is something we always had after Thanksgiving. True comfort food, it has all the flaves you want in a sandwich. There’s cheese, bacon, and roasted turkey. How can you go wrong?
What is a Hot Brown?
The Hot Brown originated in Louisville, Kentucky at The Brown Hotel. The hotel drew a large crowd for their dinner dances. And, like all late night party goers, these dancers worked up a killer appetite. They would head to the restaurant for a bite to eat, but the chef figured they’d get bored of the same eggs and ham. And he was right!
The original sandwich is an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and delicate Mornay sauce. For those that don’t know, a Mornay sauce is a Béchamel with shredded cheese added. And a Béchamel sauce is basically a white roux made with butter and milk.
It was a bit of a delicacy because turkey was typically only available around the holidays. For the hotel to have an open-faced turkey sandwich year-round was almost unheard of! And the addition of the Mornay sauce made it sound that much more elegant. Mornay sounds so much prettier than cheese sauce.
What are some variations on the Hot Brown?
For me, sometimes we put country ham on there instead of bacon. The original Mornay calls for Parmesan, but we always used a sharp cheddar. It makes for a more hearty sandwich. Some are topped with tomatoes, pimentos, mushrooms, and on the rare occasion peaches. Or so Wikipedia says. I cannot imagine peaches on this sandwich.
We always made the sandwich either for breakfast or lunch after Thanksgiving. It is the best way to use up some of that dark meat that doesn’t make the best sammies. At least not in my opinion. I like the white meat for leftover turkey sandwiches. I don’t think we ever baked it, though. Broiled yes, but never baked. I will have to try that next time I make them.
There’s a cold brown which I’ve never heard of and is apparently rarely served any more. I can’t imagine why. It’s turkey (or chicken), hard boiled eggs, lettuce and tomato on rye bread topped with Thousand Island dressing. Ew. St. Louis has a Prosperity Sandwich that is like the Hot Brown.
What is in the Hot Brown Burger?
The Hot Brown burger starts with ground turkey. To make sure the turkey has some flavor, I folded in some shredded sharp Cheddar and some crumbled bacon. Oh yes. I did. Each patty has melted cheddar on top. I topped the first patty with a slice of ham, bacon, and some Mornay sauce.
The second patty goes on top. There is more bacon and finally more cheese sauce. At this point, you could broil the burger to brown the cheese sauce on top. The sandwich is actually baked in the oven so it wouldn’t be unheard of to get the cheese sauce a little brown.
Then once it’s browned you could top with the tomato. OR you could put the tomato under the cheese sauce and then broil it. We have had the sandwiches both ways. And both are delicious so I would imagine the burger would be just as delicious.
Just look at that cheese sauce drooling like that.
A word about the cheese sauce. I know you’re going to say that is too much cheese for the Béchamel. And you would be right. However, I was looking for a thick and cheesy Mornay sauce for this burger. One that was packed with Cheddar flavor and wouldn’t just blend in with the rest of the flavors. So, trust the process.
Yes, there’s a slice of ham in there. It’s a thick slice. I don’t know why they slice the deli meat so thick sometimes. But they do. I couldn’t find country ham. You can’t really find it here any more. At least not like we used to. If you have some, by all means use it! Or just stick with he bacon and call it a day. It’s Hot Brown Burger. Top it how you want!
- 8 ounces ground turkey
- 6 ounces shredded Cheddar, divided
- 2 slices Cheddar cheese
- 10 slices crisp cooked bacon
- 2 slices ham
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoon milk
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 4 slices ripe tomato
- 2 slices ham (country ham is preferred)
- 2 hamburger buns
- Combine the ground turkey with 1/4 cup shredded cheese and two slices of bacon, chopped. Fold until combined.
- Form the turkey mixture into 4 portions and shape into a ball.
- Combine the milk and the flour and next four ingredients (garlic salt through cayenne pepper) in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Turn heat to low and stir occasionally while you prepare the rest of the burger. Add additional milk if it gets too thick.
- Heat a griddle pan to medium-high heat.
- With a spatula, press the turkey patties onto the griddle pan using a potato masher or handle of a spoon. Press until an even thickness.
- Cook the patties 2 to 3 minutes, flip and top with the sliced Cheddar cheese. Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until cooked through.
- Spread a little butter on the buns and toast while the burgers finish cooking.
- Remove the Béchamel from the heat and stir in the remaining shredded cheese.
- Place a burger on the bottom bun. Top with a slice of ham, 1 1/2 slices bacon, and a spoonful of Mornay sauce. Place the second patty, 1 1/2 slices bacon and another spoonful of Mornay sauce.
- Broil until the Mornay sauce is slightly browned. Top with sliced tomatoes and serve.
- OR you could place the tomatoes under the Mornay sauce, broil until brown, and then serve.
Nutrition InformationYield 2 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 1970Total Fat 122gSaturated Fat 37gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 72gCholesterol 347mgSodium 3684mgCarbohydrates 112gFiber 6gSugar 7gProtein 109g
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