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3 vertical rows of hot brown sliders topped with tomatoes

The traditional recipes uses oven-roasted turkey. You know I prefer to smoke my turkey. Just use a simple salt and pepper rub and smoke it at 250F degrees to an internal temperature of 165F degrees. This will take about 2 hours.

You can do this step ahead of time and refrigerate the turkey for a day or two. Go on and smoke a few breasts because the leftovers make great sandwiches.

If you’re short on time, you can also pick up pre-smoked meat from your deli counter (I won’t tell.)

turkey breast sliced on slate platter

What makes this dish such a Kentucky favorite is the cheesy, rich mornay sauce. It’s made with heavy cream and shredded Italian cheeses. The classic is made with pecorino romano cheese, but that can be a little pricey, so I just use the bagged Italian blend that you can find in the regular cheese section of the store.

The blend usually comes with mozzarella, provolone, romano, asiago and parmesan cheeses.

Melt the butter and flour to make a roux, add the heavy cream, until it thickens and melt in the cheese. All cream sauces are made better with a pinch of nutmeg. Then, season with salt and white pepper. White pepper gives you the flavor of pepper without adding the black flecks to your white sauce. If you don’t care about that, just use the black pepper.

ladle spooning up some mornay sauce in a cream pot

Grab some slices of Texas toast and remove the crusts. Then, slice each into four squares. Toast these under the broiler, so the tops get a little crunch.

bread slices cut into 4 squares

Then, pull all of your ingredients together for assembly. You definitely need tomatoes and bacon for the classic hot brown. For a punch of heat, serve jalapenos on the side.

bread squares on a pan with a pot of cheese sauce, bowls of tomatoes and peppers and sliced turky and bacon

Place the turkey on the toast squares and smother them with cheese sauce. Use a baking rack on a rimmed sheet pan to catch the drippings and to keep the bottoms crunchy. Broil for 4-6 minutes, until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

Then, add the bacon, tomatoes and optional jalapenos. Be sure to serve it up with a mint julep.

4 hot brown sliders on a slate platter with mint julep
5 from 1 vote

Smoked Turkey Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders

The Kentucky Hot Brown is usually served in a casserole dish piping hot from the oven. These sliders make the Derby Day classic party food friendly.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 3-lb boneless, skinless turkey breast
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Mornay Sauce

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  • pinch nutmeg
  • salt and white pepper, to taste


  • 8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 8 slices cooked bacon


Smoked Turkey Breast

  • Heat smoker to 250F degrees. Rub turkey breasts with salt and pepper. Smoke to an internal temperature of 165F degrees, about 2 hours. Let it rest while you make the cheese sauce.

Mornay Sauce

  • Add the butter and flour to a saucepot. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Stir in the cream, and cook for 90 seconds. Add the cheese. Stir until melted. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and white pepper to taste.


  • Set the oven to broil.
  • Remove the crust from the Texas toast. Cut each slice into 4 squares. Place on a rack in a sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 45 seconds.
  • Thinly slice the smoked turkey. Add a slice onto the toast squares. Top each with a spoonful of mornay sauce. (You’ll have extra cheese left.)
  • Return the pan to the broiler until the cheese begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Break each slice of bacon into thirds. Add onto the slider with a tomato and optional jalapeno slice.


Calories: 602kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 36gFat: 49gSaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 209mgSodium: 546mgPotassium: 481mgVitamin A: 1425IUVitamin C: 5.6mgCalcium: 91mgIron: 1.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Did you try this recipe?Be sure to rate it, leave a comment and save it so you can make it again. Show off your awesome results on social by tagging @girlscangrill

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christie vanover standing against wood wall.

Hey BBQ Family

Hi. I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and have dozens of top ten category finishes. People know me as the girl who is forever hovering over a grill, smoker or campfire with tongs in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

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