Butter my biscuits, it’s that time of year again!
The Kentucky Derby sneaks up on me so fast each year with it’s close proximity to Easter and Cinco de Mayo (bonus points when Cinco de Mayo is on the Derby and you have a Cinco de Derby party) and I always feel like I’m scrambling to get a handle on all the holidays.
But this year they are mutually exclusive so we get to enjoy our queso another day and focus on the Southern dishes that make the Derby a fantastic foodie filled afternoon.
If you are planning on throwing a Kentucky Derby Party (get all my tips here for that!) there are four dishes you MUST serve your guests.
Four Kentucky Derby Dishes to Serve
1. Ham biscuits. If you are a true Kentucky Derby fan, prepping for the big day starts at dawn with a bloody mary and a fresh batch of biscuits stuffed with ham. There are, in my opinion, no better biscuits in the South than Callie’s, so if you don’t have time to whip up your own, order some of her biscuits to pop in the oven the morning of the races.
2. Pimento Cheese. Everyone loves a good dip and there is no better Southern dip than pimento cheese and crackers. Bonus points for creating a charcuterie-esque cheese board with fruit preserves and pickled veggies to top your Pimento cheese crackers with.
3. The Mint Julep. Okay, so this one isn’t a dish, but on Derby day, it is essentially a dish of its own due to it’s high demand! Be sure to scour for the perfect mint julep cups (I love these hammered copper ones and their price tag!) and keep the bourbon flowing all day. If you’re going to start early, I would plan on 1/3 bottle of bourbon per person. See my recipe for the perfect mint julep here.
4. A Derby Pie. The Derby Pie is essentially a chocolate, bourbon pecan pie, and one bite will leave you in rich dessert nirvana. The recipe for such a pie is a little complicated, so if you don’t have time, you can always get my favorite derby-esque pie from Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop– the I-40 pie. These are my go-to signature dishes I serve my guests at our annual Kentucky Derby party. I tend to make my biscuits every year and stuff them with fresh cured ham and a slathering of Piedmont Provisions hibiscus jam. It’s a delicious sweet and savory combination that leaves our guests begging for more.
The Kentucky Derby is the one time of the year where the bourbon flows easily all day at home and I get to practice my perfect mint julep recipe with all of our friends.
It’s my favorite spring time version of college gameday tailgating, but better yet because the sport revolves around horses instead of pigskins.
Be sure to check out how to throw the perfect Kentucky Derby party here.
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