Ideas for Kentucky Derby Party Food


If you can't attend Kentucky's famous two-minute race, bring the Kentucky Derby home to your family and friends. Traditional Kentucky home cooking contributes many favorites to the foods associated with the derby. The Kentucky Folkweb says food traditions evolve when readily available ingredients and cooking methods merge. As recipes are handed down, the food culture begins to adopt a regional flavor. Derby foods enjoy that nostalgic association with southern cuisine.

Mint Julep

  • According to Derby Experience, patrons of the Kentucky Derby have been sipping the minty concoction nearly 100 years. Each annual derby weekend, Churchill Downs serves 120,000 juleps and goes through 1,000 lbs. of fresh mint. You can blend your own Kentucky bourbon with mint syrup or serve a bottled version of this traditional cocktail.

Kentucky Burgoo

  • If you're not from Kentucky, you've probably never heard of burgoo. According to Kentucky Folkweb, this tasty stew dates back to Kentucky's early settlers. Often associated with political rallies, the stew didn't require a recipe. Pioneers threw readily available meats and vegetables into a pot and simmered them over a wood fire. Spices and other family burgoo secrets passed generation to generation.

Henry Bain Sauce

  • Henry Bain sauce dates back to 1881, the creation of a Louisville waiter. According to the "Courier-Journal," Henry Bain invented the spicy meat sauce. Try it with beef tenderloin or barbecued ribs.

Country Ham

  • Keep it simple or dress it up in a Kentucky bourbon sauce. Another southern tradition, serve country ham for brunch or dinner. Team it with mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus for an old-fashioned Kentucky meal, or carve it to accompany your favorite brunch dishes.

Hot Brown

  • The Brown Hotel in Louisville claims credit for this derby sandwich. The hotel's chef created the open-faced sandwich in the 1920s. The sandwich features roast turkey, tomato and bacon topped with a cheese sauce. A quick grill under the broiler finishes the satisfying hot sandwich.

Derby Pie

  • George Kern created the rich dessert known as Derby Pie a half century ago. The Kern family trademarked the name in 1968. Kern's Kitchens still protects the secret ingredients of this recipe. The pie's dense, chocolate texture is flavored with a splash of Kentucky bourbon. Several chocolate nut pie recipes serve up delicious alternatives to the original Derby Pie.

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