By Dennis Prescott
June 22, 2017
© Dennis Prescott

Nothing takes the edge off one too many mint juleps like a Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich. The rich combination of turkey, bacon and Mornay sauce has been a Bluegrass State staple for almost a century; but just because something is a classic doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon. Here’s my take on the Hot Brown in burger form. Topped with bourbon brown sugar bacon, smoked turkey and Mornay, this burger is the perfect friend maker. 

Hot Brown Burgers

Makes 4 double cheeseburgers

For the burgers:

  • 8 strips of bacon
  • 1 shot of bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 pounds ground chuck
  • 5 ounces deli-style smoked turkey breast
  • 4 crusty buns
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • Bibb lettuce

For your Mornay:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk 
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups aged white cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. 

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and lay out the bacon. Baste bacon with bourbon and sprinkle brown sugar on top. Bake, turning halfway through, for 25 to 30 minutes, until nice and crispy. Keep an eye on the bacon so the brown sugar doesn't burn.

While the bacon is cooking, make the Mornay. 

Heat a saucepan over medium and melt the butter. When the butter has melted, add flour and stir to combine. Keep the flour moving and cook for 1 minute, until frothy and yellow in color. While constantly whisking, slowly pour in the milk and bring to a boil. When the sauce thickens (about 3 minutes), reduce the heat to medium-low, season with salt and pepper and simmer for an additional 4 minutes. 

Remove the sauce from the heat and add cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted and completely combined into the sauce. Set aside. 

Heat a large pan over medium-high. Form the beef into 8 individual patties and season both sides with salt and pepper. Melt the butter. Working in batches, fry the burgers for 3 to 4 minutes, until cooked through. 

Split the rolls and spoon 1 tablespoon of sauce over the inside of each. Top each roll with 2 burger patties, a big ladle of Mornay, a few slices of turkey and 2 slices of bacon. Top with tomato and lettuce and enter burger city. 

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