Derby Day Potluck Article -
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Derby Day Potluck

Fast horses. Tiny riders. Flashy hats. Must be Derby Day!

This Kentucky Derby potluck menu is an easy-to-do spread of ham and biscuit sandwiches, cheese grits, and a rich, nutty pie--all washed down with mint juleps, of course.

Kentucky Derby Menu

Country Ham: Thinly sliced ham served in beaten biscuits is a Derby Day treat.

Cheese Grits: Cooked grits are baked with cheese, eggs, and a splash of hot sauce to make this melt-in-your-mouth Southern specialty.

Kentucky Pecan Pie: Kentucky bourbon gives this Southern classic a real kick.

Mint Juleps: The only drink to serve at a Derby Day party.

Party Ideas

A grand tradition since 1875, the annual Kentucky Derby has been called the most exciting two minutes in sports. Devoted fans rate this "run for the roses" as one of the best reasons to throw a party, second only to New Year's Eve. So what are you waiting for?

Derby-goers are divided into two camps. On the one hand you've got the rich and famous in Millionaire's Row with their crisp linen suits and floaty silk dresses. Then there are the Infielders--earthy, raucous, and widely suspected of having more fun.

Here's how to party like you're at Churchill Downs:

  • Start early so you have plenty of time for horseplay leading up to the race.
  • If you're channeling Millionaire's Row, break out the white tablecloths and the good china.
  • More of an Infielder? Spring for Derby-themed accessories such as the "Talk Derby To Me" party goods at (Hint: place your order early!)
  • Hats are a must at any Derby Day party, so compete to see who's got serious hat-a-tude. Go crazy with thrift store hats, ribbons, toy horses, and hot glue guns.
  • Pass out kazoos so you can all play along to the "Call to the Post."
  • Go red. Make a big cardboard frame for your flat screen and glue red tissue paper roses to it. Fashion an enormous horseshoe of paper roses and fill your home with (what else) bouquets of fresh red roses.
  • Visit the Derby's official site to get the inside scoop on the four-legged contenders. We're not condoning gambling, but would it hurt to make up a racing form?
  • Give out Kentucky state quarters as party souvenirs--there's a thoroughbred horse on the reverse.

    Apr. 29, 2010 10:07 pm
    Thanks for this! Perfect meals for the Kentucky!
    Apr. 30, 2010 7:36 am
    Has to be country ham and derby pie
    Judy I 
    Apr. 30, 2010 7:51 am
    You got the Mint Julips right but how about the Burgoo? If not, then country ham. The pie would be walnuts and chocolate chips I believe. All in all, a wonderful very low calorie meal! Add the hats and all the fun and it is a great event. Oopqs@ I forgot the horses.
    Apr. 30, 2010 9:33 am
    Kentucky Derby menu and comments are very interesting and mysterious Henry Bain sauce sounds good. chris
    Apr. 30, 2010 12:26 pm
    As a born and bred Louisvillian, I have to agree with some of the others' comments here and add one of my own. Although the cucumber sandwiches listed sound good, they are not anywhere close, either. The real deal is much more simple; it's called benedictine and is often served topped with a slice of bacon and as a finger sandwich. It does not contain dill or Italian seasoning mix!
    May 2, 2010 3:58 pm
    Speaking of burgoo....does anyone have a recipe. The one recipe that I've been given is an absolute abomination. Would love to hear from a Burgoomeister....
    May 3, 2010 7:25 pm
    Just one more thing...I just noticed the recipe called for putting the meats through a meat grinder. I wouldn't do that - I'd pull the meats apart into pieces and leave them their original texture.
    Feb. 24, 2012 3:43 pm
    The Burgoo recipe sounds a lot like Brunswick Stew. Have a few mint juleps, or bourbon and branch, and say it with a good drawl, and there might just be a connection!
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