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Kentucky Derby Food: Recipes with Southern Charm

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If you love southern cooking, horses, and the Derby, you’ll adore these authentic Kentucky Derby recipes to celebrate with on the first Saturday in May.

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Kentucky Derby Food Traditions

Few American sporting events exist with the history and southern charm of the Kentucky Derby. Its rich traditions – sipping a mint julep, beautiful hats, roses, and the singing of “My Old Kentucky Home.” 

All of which transcend the Kentucky Derby from a mere sporting event.

Kentucky Derby History

The Kentucky Derby’s history began in 1872, when Meriwether Lewis Clark, grandson of William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame, traveled to Europe. While there, he attended well-known horse racing events, like the Epsom Derby in England.

Inspired by his travels, Clark was determined to create a horse racing event in the United States, much like those he experienced in Europe. After receiving land from his uncles John and Henry Churchill, the beginnings of the Kentucky Derby was born.

“On May 17th, 1875, the racetrack opened its gates and the Louisville Jockey Club sponsored the very first Kentucky Derby. A total of fifteen three-year-old Thoroughbred horses raced one and a half miles in front of a cheering crowd of approximately 10,000 spectators. Aristides was the first winner of the Kentucky Derby.”


Kentucky Derby Food History

It’s well established that food is a central component of The Kentucky Derby. Every year, the concession stands at the Kentucky Derby sell about 142,000 hot dogs, 18,000 barbecue sandwiches, 32,400 jumbo shrimp, 13,800 pounds of beef, and 300,000 strawberries for traditional strawberries and cream.

A mint julep is made over 120,000 times during the event. And there is a competition event for the best Derby Pie.

Hot Browns and Burgoo are traditional Kentucky foods that are staples at Derby parties and pecans are everywhere.

Kentucky Derby Recipes

With the Derby right around the corner, here are some favorite Derby recipes. Dust off those mint julep cups, find that fancy hat, and let’s celebrate the Kentucky Derby!

Kentucky Derby Recipes with Southern Charm

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