I may not know a lot of things but I know an excellent meatloaf when I taste it and this is as good as it gets. This is the kind of meatloaf that when once you eat it, no other meatloaf will ever be able to measure up from now on, ever, again.
I have always loved meatloaf, not just the dish but also the singer Meat Loaf (1947-2022). May he forever rest in eternal peace. The radio waves will certainly be lacking from here on out.
Anyway, back to meatloaf the dish
Meatloaf is one of those dishes that I probably never would have even tried had it not been that I smelled it first. I mean, just the name meatloaf is off-putting. I love meat, but meatloaf does not sound appealing to me at all. A loaf of meat? Really? As a child, it would not be a hard sell to turn it down altogether. But that smell...
My earliest memory of meatloaf was in my grandmother's kitchen. It was the smell that drew me in. Just like with liver, it's the smell that makes you want to experience it, otherwise, who would want it? The odors that emanate from grandmother's kitchen are the things that poets write sonnets about.
"Which restaurant catered the meatloaf"?
Want to hear something funny? I attended my brother's engagement party a few months ago. After the obligatory meet-n-greets, we lined up and filled our plates with all the delicious goodies. I could tell by the containers that the food was catered because most were labeled.
I tried a little of everything, even the meatloaf. Which is something I never, hardly ever order in a restaurant. After being spoiled on my grandmother's meatloaf, it just becomes a disappointment. I wanted to be polite though and give everything a try. There was something familiar about this meatloaf. I went back for seconds and thirds. Oh, be still my heart, this meatloaf was to die for. I haven't tasted meatloaf this delicious since my grandmother was living. Except for my own, or my mother's, certainly from nowhere outside of my family. So, who made this meatloaf? I needed desperately to find out. I desired to go to this restaurant and eat there regularly.
I found my brother's future father-in-law and inquired about the delicious meatloaf hoping he would divulge the source. Do you know what he said? "It was your mother that made the meatloaf". That's hilarious! No wonder I loved it so much. In my heart, I knew it tasted like hers but it didn't even occur to me that she was the one who cooked it. She rode with us and didn't have any food with her. I remember her saying she had sent food ahead with my brother but she didn't say what, or if she did, I wasn't paying attention. I can't help but laugh when I think about it.
Ok, let's get to it. My best bud is chomping at the bit for this recipe so I better get to the point already. This recipe originates from my paternal grandmother, who taught my mother, and me. We both (my mother and I) have made minor changes but basically, it is my grandmother's recipe all the same.
I find it best to cook meatloaf on a broiler rack. One that comes with a pan underneath to catch the grease. I have a weak stomach for grease, which causes me to have a tummy ache. So, I cook the loaves on one of these pans and then transfer them to a casserole dish for serving.
Normally, I use 1 egg per pound of meat. I used 2 eggs for this recipe since I used 2 pounds of meat. Eggs keep the loaves from separating when cooking. However, I believe 3 would have worked better, so I adjusted the recipe accordingly.
I had some tomato sauce leftover so I put the remainder in a jar. This can be used to make a sauce for a steak next week. It will keep 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Along with the remaining halves of the bell peppers.
Wash your hands and all of your vegetables before starting
I also like to use disposable gloves when making meatloaf
As with any dish, it's always better with fresh ingredients. Some people prefer using seasonings such as Lipton Onion Soup Mix. Keep in mind that this will not end well for anyone who suffers from migraines. Not sure if it is the MSG content or what, but it is definitely a migraine trigger for me.
Ground beef - I used 2 lbs for this recipe
2 cups of plain bread crumbs
8 1/2 ounces of tomato sauce
1 clove garlic - minced
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs McCormick steak seasoning
1 tbs of pure 100% maple syrup
Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet & Spicy BBQ sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Let's get cooking
Wash your hands and the vegetables. Chop the onion, bell peppers. Then peel and mince the garlic.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take your broiler and either with your hands or with a brush, lightly grease the broiler pan or dish. *You can use an oven-safe casserole dish but you will need to remove the grease periodically as the meat cooks.
In a good-sized bowl, add all of the ingredients except the BBQ sauce. Mix it thoroughly. It will blend so much better when you mix it with your hands. I wear disposable gloves to do this.
When it is blended well, place it onto the broiler and fashion it into loaves. Two pounds of meat should yield two good-sized loaves. Press them in around the sides so that they don't cover the 'grease slots' completely for better dripping.
Place the broiler in the oven and cook for about an hour. The internal temperature should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit in order to be safe to eat and considered done.
Using a brush or a spoon, cover both loaves with Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet & Spicy BBQ sauce and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes then transfer the loaves to a casserole dish for serving.
Does that not smell heavenly?
While the meatloaf cooked, I whipped up some delicious mashed potatoes, French-style green beans, and rolls. Mashed potatoes are simple enough, peel and boil the potatoes. When done, drain the water and add a stick of real butter, and 1 can of cream. Blend with a mixer or a hand potato masher. Add salt & pepper to taste. I whip them just enough, leaving them just a little chunky.
At first, you will think you made enough meatloaf to feed a small village but trust me, it won't last nearly as long as you think it will. This meatloaf will be devoured in no time!
Meatloaf is a terrific dish for leftovers. It's even better the next day and is great as another meal as is, or on a sandwich to be taken in your lunch. Take enough for co-workers or make them envious while you finish it off in short order. Either way, win-win.
I hope you give this recipe a try. If you do, I can almost promise that you will not want it any other way from now on. Enjoy!
Thanks for reading and have a blessed day.