Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders

Kentucky is known for many fine things. Horse racing. Basketball. Bluegrass. Bourbon. The color blue. But how about Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches? This legendary open faced turkey sandwich is well-known throughout the state as being one of the best things to ever appear on a plate. We had to give it a shot for the ultimate Kentucky Tailgate.

Once you try this recipe, let me know what you think…but we nailed it. These Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders are so good. Yummy turkey, buttered buns, fresh ripe tomato, cheese gravy (yes, I said CHEESE GRAVY), and bacon.

You can thank us later.

Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders | Kentucky Tailate - Delicious sliders made with the Southern classic combo of roasted turkey, tomato, bacon and cheese gravy.

SEC Tailgate Special | The University of Kentucky

Football season is our FAVORITE time of year. We love the weather, the crowds, the crazy football action, and of course, the food!  This year, we created a tailgate recipe for every team in the South Eastern Conference.

Our goal: to capture the spirit of each school’s team and make a fun and delicious recipe using local flavor and flair. So we put our football differences aside, and researched every school.

If you have ever been to an SEC Tailgate, you know that food is the only thing that brings opposing fans together. (Besides the fact that we all want to beat Florida.)

If you don’t follow college football or aren’t a fan of the SEC…that’s totally ok. The SEC Tailgate recipes are still awesome for your next party. Or a Tuesday. (We won’t judge.)


Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders - Kentucky Tailgate Recipe


Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders | Kentucky Tailgate

To truly appreciate this recipe you have to read about the history of the Kentucky Brown Sandwich.  This recipe was created and first served at the Brown Hotel in Kentucky. (Bonus, they share their original recipe. This is what inspired us to make these sliders.)

Well, the original recipe AND our friend Jon inspired us to make these.

He’s a crazy Wildcats fan, and he has already promised me that Kentucky will beat Tennessee this season.  (I have a screen shot of the actual text to hold him to it.)

The first thing we did was work on our cheese sauce. Our sauce is just a little different than the traditional Mornay sauce used by the Brown Hotel. Ours is more of a cheese gravy. White Cheddar Cheese Gravy!


Cheese gravy


We hereby make Cheese Gravy a thing. A really, really good thing.

Now it is time to assemble your Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders. Super easy. You can do this in a baking dish or in a disposable aluminum foil pan.

Mix up a little butter and spices and butter your buns.


Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders | Kentucky Tailate - Delicious sliders made with the Southern classic combo of roasted turkey, tomato, bacon and cheese gravy.


Next, add a nice layer of turkey. You can use deli turkey, leftover turkey, whatever you like.  Add a slice of tomato to each slider, and top with some cheese gravy. (No worries, you will have enough left over for dipping!)


Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders


Criss cross each slider with a strip of cooked bacon, sprinkle with additional cheese, and top with the bun. (Bacon instantly makes tailgate food legit, by the way.)


Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders | Kentucky Tailate - Delicious sliders made with the Southern classic combo of roasted turkey, tomato, bacon and cheese gravy.


More butter (yes, always more butter), and to the oven!


Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders | Kentucky Tailate - Delicious sliders made with the Southern classic combo of roasted turkey, tomato, bacon and cheese gravy.


You are now officially the hero of your Kentucky Tailgate Party. (Better make a double batch!)


Try more of our SEC Tailgating Recipes here:

Nashville Hot Chicken Wraps

Dawg Chow Snack Mix

Gator Bait Bites + Swamp Sauce



Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders


These are hot and melty, just the right portion, and once you get an extra dip of cheese gravy…so good!


Get fast and easy instructions for this football banner DIY.


Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders | Kentucky Tailate - Delicious sliders made with the Southern classic combo of roasted turkey, tomato, bacon and cheese gravy.


Tailgating 101 | Tasty Recipes for Football Fun


Pro Tip: These also make a great BREAKFAST!


A platter full of stacked slider sandwiches


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4.1 from 71 votes

Hot Kentucky Brown Sliders | Kentucky Tailgate

Delicious little handheld versions of the classic Kentucky Hot Brown. Layers of roasted turkey, bacon, tomato and a homemade cheese gravy.
Course Sandwich
Cuisine American
Keyword kentucky hot brown
Author Buy This Cook That


For the White Cheddar Gravy

  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 1/2 TB all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • A pinch of paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 ounce white cheddar shredded

For the Sliders

  • 12 slider buns
  • 12 - 16 oz sliced turkey
  • 2-3 to matoes sliced
  • 12 slices bacon cooked
  • 4 TB butter plus additional for serving if desired
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • White Cheddar Gravy


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium sized sauce pan, melt 1 TB of butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook until smooth and bubbly. Stir constantly. Slowly add the milk, whisking until smooth. Stir in a pinch each of black pepper, nutmeg, and paprika. Heat to a low boil, stirring frequently until the sauce starts to thicken.
  • Remove from heat and add the cheese. Stir until melted. Set the White Cheddar Gravy aside.
  • Melt butter in a small bowl in the microwave. (Heat in 5 to 10 second increments until completely melted. Stir in 1/4 tsp of nutmeg and 1/4 tsp of paprika.
  • Place the bottom half of slider buns in a baking dish. Brush the buns with half of the butter mixture.
  • Place a layer of turkey on the buns, then a slice of tomato. Top the tomato with about 2 tablespoons of the cheese gravy. Break each bacon slice in half, and criss cross over the gravy. Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of white cheddar over the bacon, then top with the top half of the slider buns.
  • Brush the remaining butter and spice mixture on top of the buns, then place in the oven uncovered for 15 - 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the tops are golden brown.
  • Top with additional butter (optional), and serve with the remaining White Cheddar Gravy.


    • Teri says

      I have never tried making them ahead of time. But if I did I would make everything as directed, and leave the Tomatoes and cheese gravy off until right before baking.

  1. Tima says

    They were delicious!
    Thank you for sharing. I plan to use this recipe for every occasion & not just for Derby Day.

    • Teri says

      Awesome, I am so happy you tried them and liked them. They are one of my favorites. Thank you for taking the time to let us know. 🙂


    If you were taking these to a tailgate or even a block party, how would you keep them warm if they are actually eaten 2-3 hours after coming out of the oven?

    • Teri says

      If I were trying to serve them warm, I would prepare them in a disposable aluminum pan covered in foil, and leave off the tomato and cheese gravy until right before serving. To reheat, I would put them on a grill to warm, then top with the tomato slices and reheated gravy (also heated on grill). It would really depend on how elaborate the party / tailgate was, too.

      These can also be served room temp and serve the cheese gravy on the side, as warm as possible.

      • Teri says

        And I’ve also seen the trick where you wrap three or four bricks with foil, and heat them in the oven. Place the hot bricks in the bottom of an empty food cooler, and then you can place the pan on top to keep warm. A little more effort, but can be done.

    • Teri says

      This is going to sound crazy, but we have never had leftovers. I think they would get soggy because of the cheese gravy. You could prepare them and serve the cheese sauce on the side instead. Then just reheat and serve. 🙂

    • Teri says

      Yay!!! I am so happy everyone enjoyed them. Definitely a keeper recipe. Thank you so much for taking the time to send us the feedback. 🙂

  3. Shari Marston says

    I tripled this for a work pot-luck and they were well-received. I prepped them ahead of time, without the gravy, cheese or tomato, wrapped them in aluminum foil (6 per package) and about an hour before the luncheon, I added the gravy, tomato and cheese, brushed the tops with the butter mixture, wrapped them loosely back in the foil and stacked the packages in my roaster at 300 for about an hour. One comment is the gravy was not my favorite – it either needed more – or different cheese – or, I will try this next time: adding a bit of Dijon mustard might be the missing ingredient for my taste.

    • Teri says

      Thanks for the prep-tips, glad it worked out that way. Great call on the Dijon idea for the cheese sauce. It definitely will give it more zip. I think I’ve added a dash or two of hot sauce before…I’m like you…I like the extra punch of flavor. And you certainly can try a different cheese, it should work well with most cheese types.

  4. Kelley says

    Teri, Teri, girl I haven’t tried these yet but just reading the recipe has me super excited. I’m an Arkansas girl soo this is definitely on my list of tailgating goodies this year. I can’t wait to make these. Thanks for sharing.

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