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At the top of the comfort food list right behind mac and cheese sits meatloaf. Whether it's in a country diner or a little restaurant on your block down the street, it is always a hit. Served with mashed potatoes and a vegetable of your choice, and of course some mushroom gravy, it is always satisfying.
This recipe is pretty simple actually and the only flavor that might be called anywhere near over the edge is the use of barbecue sauce in the topping. Usually it is just ketchup but the addition of the barbecue sauce adds a nice deep flavor component without hiding the flavor of the meatloaf itself. And I prefer to "mold" it in a loaf pan because it makes nice square slices which are particularly good for sandwiches the following day.
My measure of a good meatloaf or a good meatball is its moistness and how it slices. A butter knife should easily glide through the meat without crushing it. Once you have done it you will know what I mean.
So give it a try and tell us how you change it to make it your own. Because everyone has their own version of meatloaf. Enjoy!
Meatloaf Ready to Serve
Meatloaf Ready to Serve
  • 2 lbs ground beef, preferably ground chuck at 20% fat content
  • Note - Feel free to use 1 1/2 pounds of beef and 1/2 pound of pork, or any mix of beef, pork and veal to get to 2 pounds total.
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 c)
  • 1/4 c dried onion
  • Note - You can use 1 c of chopped onion and omit the dried onion if you prefer. I use the dried onion as a holdover from my mother's Swedish Meatball recipe because I like the flavor and texture it adds.
  • 1/2 - 3/4 c chopped peppers (optional)
  • Note - The addition of peppers will alter the flavor of the meatloaf, especially green bell pepper. I like to add poblano peppers because they have some heat and also a more subtle flavor than green bells. You can also use red or yellow bell peppers which tend to be sweeter in flavor.
  • 3/4 c dried bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c fresh flat leaf parsley, minced (optional)
  • 2 t salt, or use your favorite spice blend
  • 1/2 t celery seed
  • 1/2 t granulated garlic
  • 1/2 t dried thyme
  • 1/2 c milk, or chicken or beef stock if dairy is an issue
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c ketchup
For the Glaze
  • 1/4 c ketchup
  • 2 T barbecue sauce
  • 2 T brown sugar
1.  Prepare a 9" x 5" loaf pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper.
2.  If desired, line a quarter sheet pan with heavy duty foil. This helps with the cleanup but has no effect on the actual cooking so you don't need to do this if you don't want to or if you don't have heavy duty foil.
3.  Add the beef, onion, bread crumbs, parsley if you are using it, salt, celery seed, garlic, thyme to a bowl and mix lightly by tossing the ingerdients together to mix them. Do not squeeze the meat together at this point.
4.  In a separate bowl, add the eggs and beat lightly. Then add the milk and ketchup and mix.
5.  Add the wet ingredients to the meat mixture and mix thoroughly with your hands. It really helps to have disposable gloves here but they are not required. Your hands are the best mixing tools in the kitchen!
6.  Add the mixture to the loaf pan and lightly pack it in to make sure there are no air spaces. You don't want to compress the meat mixture too much or it will be too dense to cook properly. Smooth the top so it is even and flat. If you do not have a loaf pan, you can just mold the mixture free-form to make a loaf on a sheet pan. It will work just fine doing it this way.
7.  I like to refrigerate it at this point to allow the ingredients a chance to get to know each other. This is not required but you can do it for up to several hours if you want. Just make sure it is covered and refrigerated the whole time. Take it out about 30 minutes before it is going to go in the oven.
Meatloaf Packed into the Loaf Pan
Meatloaf Packed into the Loaf Pan
Meatloaf Turned out of the Pan with the Parchment Paper Still on
Meatloaf Turned out of the Pan with the Parchment Paper Still on
Meatloaf with Parchment Paper Removed and Ready for the Glaze
Meatloaf with Parchment Paper Removed and Ready for the Glaze
8.  To make the glaze, add the ketchup, the barbecue sauce and the brown sugar to a small bowl, mix thoroughly and set aside.
9.  Preheat the oven to 400° F.
10.  Spread about 2 tablespoons of the glaze over the top of the meatloaf with a butter knife or a basting brush.
Ready for the Oven with Glaze Brushed on Top
Ready for the Oven with Glaze Brushed on Top
11.  Place the meatloaf in the preheated oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 350° F.
12.  Cook until the internal temperature is 155 degrees, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes in total. Check it with an instant read thermometer. I prefer not to use a meat thermometer that you insert into the meat loaf because if the very middle is cooked to 155° it will be overcooked. The meat loaf will continue to cook after you take it out of the oven.
Meatloaf Out of the Oven and Ready to Be Loosely Covered with Foil
Meatloaf Out of the Oven and Ready to Be Loosely Covered with Foil
13.  Remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
After Sitting for 15 Minutes and Ready to Slice
After Sitting for 15 Minutes and Ready to Slice
Slice the Meatloaf and serve it with mashed potatoes and a vegetable of your choice, or just with a vegetable if you prefer. Below it is served just with mashed butternut squash and a little glaze on top. Simple but oh so good!
Plated with Butternut Squash and a Little Extra Glaze on Top
Plated with Butternut Squash and a Little Extra Glaze on Top
Refrigerate any leftovers and for sandwiches, slice off a 3/4” piece and fry it in butter and have it on two slices of lightly toasted white bread with mayonnaise. So good!!
Recipe Yield: Serves 6-8
Prep Time - Active: 30-45 Minutes
Cooking Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Category: Entrees, Comfort Food, Meat & Game
Cooking Techniques: Baking/Roasting
Cuisine: American
Print this recipe with the Ingredients only.
Print this recipe with the Instructions and Summary.
Eileen -- May 17, 2018 11:41 pm
The meatloaf was moist, smooth and cooked perfectly through. The glaze was different but terrific...a nice change. Totally recommend and I give 5 stars. Looking forward to trying more recipes.
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