Kentucky Derby Menu Ideas

May means the Kentucky Derby and...parties! No Kentucky Derby party is complete with a fun, festive menu and some southern cocktails. Plan a Kentucky Derby menu with a full meal, a buffet or a variety of small plates. Since the Kentucky Derby actually only takes a few minutes, planning a menu that entertains guests while encouraging a good time is an art in and of itself. Here are some tasty Kentucky Derby menu ideas to try at your southern bash.

Full meal Kentucky Derby ideas:

To host a real bluegrass country Kentucky Derby meal, try a variety of staple dishes. A simple favorite is biscuits and ham. Use frozen tea biscuits smothered in butter with sliced country ham and serve with a classic dish of hot browns. Smother rye bread with turkey, bacon and cheese. Take the BBQ route and serve fried chicken, short ribs smothered in BBQ sauce, cornbread and blackeyed peas. Offer desserts like bourbon balls, pecan pie, a fruit cobbler or strawberries and cream. Of course, no Kentucky Derby party menu is complete without the signature drink, the Mint Julep.

Buffet Kentucky Derby ideas:

The key to having a successful buffet is choosing easy-to-serve foods that can survive a few hours without wilting. Deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail and pigs in a blanket are great appetizers that can be passed around while everyone is helping themselves to the buffet. Ideal buffet Kentucky Derby food are items like pulled pork, cheesy grits, corn on the cob, a big mixed salad and bourbon balls. A help yourself bar set up with all the mixings for mint juleps, lemon drop martinis and 'The Derby.'

Serving small plates for a Kentucky Derby party:

Rather than providing a full meal for your guests, try passing around a variety of small plates for everyone to taste in between cocktails and hat watching. Some small plate ideas include fried green tomatoes with creamy cucumber dip, cocktail weiners with bourbon sauce, grilled asparagus wrapped in crescent rolls, pork or shrimp spring rolls, BBQ chicken and vegetable skewers and curried meatballs with yogurt dip. Pass around each dish on a large serving dish and hand out small plates, napkins and cutlery. Make a bunch of small drinks to pass out so people can try a variety of tastes all at once.

Whatever you decide for your Kentucky Derby menus, try new things with a southern flair and give your guests a taste of Louisville.

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