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