the greatest meatloaf of all time 9

the greatest meatloaf of all time

Does anybody not like meatloaf? Actually I’m pretty sure the answer is “lots of people don’t like meatloaf, Todd,” but I guess I enjoy it so much I just want other people to like it too. Meatloaf is a classic food for many of us; it was made by our moms throughout childhood (and was delicious), then by our cafeteria in college (and was avoided), and then it dropped off the map until we realized we had to cook it for ourselves if we ever wanted it again. For those of you just entering that moment of your life, allow me to welcome you to my quest to make the greatest meatloaf of all time.

There are several criteria for judging whether a meatloaf is the greatest ever. The first is personal preference. It doesn’t matter if someone made a wonderful, gourmet-level meatloaf; this is one of those foods that only makes the grade if it tastes exactly like your parents made it. That’s a hard thing to accomplish here in one recipe, so I’ll just go ahead and say that this tastes exactly like your mom’s version. Seriously, why would I lie about that?

The next criterion (yeah that’s right, grammar people) for the greatest meatloaf in the universe is texture. The best meatloaf has a crispy, chewy (but not gummy) crust, surrounding a smooth, tender and meaty interior. It should fall apart in your mouth, but not at any point beforehand. It has to be soft and chewy, smooth and textured, sweet and savory. It’s a tough balance to accomplish. Good thing you found this recipe

Requirement number 3 for meatloaf greatness is quality of leftovers. The cold meatloaf sandwich is a shining example of what leftovers can aspire to be (right up there with cold pizza and cold fried chicken), and you need to make your loaf with tomorrow’s sandwich in mind. More importantly, you need to eat your meatloaf with tomorrow’s sandwich in mind, because if you really have created the greatest meatloaf known to mankind, it’ll be hard to leave any for leftovers. C’est la vie.

Recipe for the Greatest Meatloaf of All Time (probably)


1.5 lbs ground beef (80% or leaner)

1 cup bread crumbs

1 egg

1 tsp liquid smoke

2 tsp worcestershire sauce

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp oregano

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tb dried onions

1 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp powdered rosemary (optional)

1/4 cup ketchup

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp kecap manis (optional, but this is the secret ingredient. look it up.)


1/4 cup ketchup

1 tb dijon mustard

2 tb brown sugar

1 tsp worcestershire sauce

Ready? Mix everything for the loaf together in a big bowl. Use your hands, or just stir very well to make sure everything’s really well mixed.

the greatest meatloaf of all time

Press the mixture into a small loaf pan of some sort, and press into the pan to make sure it’s compact without holes or pockets.

the greatest meatloaf of all time

Tip the pan over and remove your loaf onto a baking sheet. I prefer a roasting pan of some sort that has slits in it, so that any grease that leaks while baking doesn’t stay around the loaf. This is especially a concern with fattier ground beef.

the greatest meatloaf of all time

Bake at 375°F for 30-40 minutes. Mix up the glaze, and after 10-15 minutes of the bake time, apply liberally with a brush to the entire surface of the meat. This makes sure the meatloaf gets a little bit of a crust before it’s covered in sauce.

the greatest meatloaf of all time

Once the meat registers 160°F internally, remove from the oven and cool for a couple minutes before serving. 

the greatest meatloaf of all time

Serve with mashed potatoes if you like and something green, since this is not by any means a health food. The meat will firm up better after it cools completely, so it will be perfect and easy to slice for leftovers of any sort. Congrats on having made and enjoyed the greatest meatloaf that ever existed, probably.

Hasta luego, foodies!

9 thoughts on “the greatest meatloaf of all time

  1. Reply Inz Oct 7, 2012 5:19 pm

    What the heck is liquid smoke???

    • Reply Todd Oct 7, 2012 7:43 pm

      It’s (I think) condensed condensation from a smoker, so you can add smokey flavor to dishes without using wood. As far as I know, it’s not sketchy or anything.

  2. Reply Kelly Jan 4, 2013 10:51 am

    Thank you for sharing this. My bf loves kecap manis so I was happy to find this and make it for dinner last night. Turned out great.

  3. Reply Leah Jan 17, 2013 4:24 pm

    My husband, mother, brother all love this meatloaf- when I make it, I’m a heroine. Yesterday, I tried it in the slow cooker. My 3 year old said, “Mommy, can I eat that smell?” And then he proceeded to have FOUR helpings. Thanks for a great recipe!

  4. Reply Vicki Jan 18, 2014 4:36 am

    This has to be the best meatloaf recipe I’ve ever made hands down. All 3 kids gobbled it down which is no mean feet given they are 9, 5 and 2! I had to make a few adjustments as this was not a planned meal rather I had a kg of mince (just over 2lbs) in the fridge and needed to use it. It meant I had no ketchup (tomato sauce we call it here) so had to use BBQ sauce which is similar but sweeter and I didn’t have any onion pieces so sub’d real onion, it worked really well. Off to share with my friends on pinterest as I know they too will love it, thank you so very much for this it will be added to my menu regularly

  5. Reply Vicki Jan 18, 2014 4:38 am

    Oh also adding to my comment above, I didn’t have a baking dish like pictured so I cooked it on a griddle tray which allowed the fat to drain away, thanks for the idea it certainly helped make it ever so slightly healthier :)

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