Thursday, October 18, 2012

Slow Cooker Meatloaf

A moist meatloaf made with lean ground beef, onion, bell pepper, garlic and a crushed saltine binder, cooked in the crockpot. Served here with everyday mashed potatoes and southern green beans.

Slow Cooker Meatloaf

I know that meatloaf sometimes gets a bad rap, mostly I would venture a guess that it's usually based on past experiences with a dry, tasteless glob of meat. On the other hand, I actually enjoy a good meatloaf myself and so does The Cajun, and I've discovered that using the slow cooker is a great way to get it on the table, when you've got a busy day.

Since Santa brought me a Ninja blender last Christmas, this is one appliance that I have really enjoyed using. I used it as a food processor to mince the veggies and also to crush the saltines for this. I know I've mentioned it a few times but gosh y'all, I really love that thing! I just recently saw the multi-purpose Ninja cooker which, although also pricey, is getting some decent reviews, so who knows, that might just be on my Christmas list this year!


Anyway, you add all those goodies to the ground beef. For burgers, I like a nice fat content, but for cooking ground beef in the crockpot, I really recommend going with a leaner beef. It produces less fat, meaning that the meatloaf won't be floating around in a lot of fat as it cooks, and it holds together better. The addition of veggies really does help to keep it moist, despite the loss of fat, so seriously don't skip them!


Gently mix together. One of the biggest mistakes folks make with meatloaf is overworking the meat, so use a gentle touch and just get it mixed, but don't man-handle it. Overworking the beef will give you a dense, tough result. By the way, if you want to test for seasonings, pinch off just a small piece of the mix and fry it in a small skillet. Taste and adjust seasonings from the sample.

I'm using my oval 6-quart so an oblong shape works for me. Shape it to fit into your slow cooker.


Now... you could sear this off like I do with the Creole Meatloaf I do, but it's a bit awkward and frankly this is slow cookery, so let's just keep it simple. I still can't get used to pale meat from a crockpot though, and it kinda creeps me out a little, so for this, I like to brush a little combo of Worcestershire sauce and Kitchen Bouquet on the meatloaf.


It adds color and a bit of extra flavor too, and I keep both products as staples in my kitchen anyway, but you can completely skip this step if you don't keep them on hand. I like to spread a ketchup glaze on top of meatloaf, so to be honest, that'll cover the meat up anyway.


The glaze is just the basic ketchup, mustard and brown sugar mix many of us use. If you're using it, just add it towards the last 15 minutes of cooking time. A nice gravy is great with meatloaf too though if you'd rather go that route.


I do recommend using an instant read thermometer when crocking a whole loaf of meat like this. They are inexpensive and having on sure takes out a lot of the guesswork with cooking. Check the internal temperature in several of the thickest parts to ensure it's reached a safe temperature, around 160 degrees F. 

I use a long and wide fish spatula to remove the meatloaf from the crockpot. When I cook fish, it's most often simply baked or broiled with a little olive oil, butter, lemon and a few seasonings. I never imagined why I would need a fish spatula until I got one, but it really does work a lot better to lift fish without it breaking up on you. Then I found it pretty handy for a lot of other things - like here, to transfer foods from the crockpot. One thing I've learned in this modern age of cooking, the job is a lot easier when you have the right tools.


Let the meatloaf rest, slice and serve. Don't you just love a good meatloaf sandwich the next day too?


Here's how to make it.


Recipe: Slow Cooker Meatloaf

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Inactive time: 6 hours | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings


Ingredients

For the Meatloaf:
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 pounds of lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup of minced onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of minced green bell pepper
  • 1 sleeve of saltine crackers, crushed fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk, only if needed
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, optional
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Kitchen Bouquet, optional
For the Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Creole mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
Instructions

Place the 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker. Add the ground beef to a large bowl and top with the minced vegetables, crushed saltines, seasonings and egg. Gently mix, adding milk only as needed to moisten. Form into a loaf and place into slow cooker.

Combine the Worcestershire and Kitchen Bouquet if using and brush over the top of the meatloaf. Cover and cook on low 5 to 6 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F in several places. Combine the glaze ingredients until well mixed; spread across the top of the meatloaf the last 15 minutes of cooking time. Use a wide spatula to carefully transfer meatloaf to a platter. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Cook's Notes: I used a 93/7 lean ground beef. Avoid using fattier cuts of ground beef as meatloaf may crumble from the accumulated fat. Instead of the glaze, you may also serve the meatloaf with a brown gravy.

Burger Variation: Prepare meatloaf recipe as above, except shape into 4 to 6 individual burger patties. Sear the patties in hot oil in a preheated skillet to form a crust on both sides, transfer patties to crockpot. Combine the glaze ingredients with the 1/4 cup of water and spread evenly over the patties. May also substitute barbecue sauce if you prefer. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or 3 to 4 hours on high.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on October 18, 2012
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38 comments:

  1. It looks delicious Mary and I like your technique for getting a nice color on the outside. I rarely cook a piece of meat or fish anymore without my Thermapen.

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    1. It's just smart cooking to use a thermometer Larry! Course, my oven is so old I really have to LOL!!

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  2. Now I'm craving me some meatloaf!

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  3. My children always requested my meatloaf and homemade scalloped potatoes for their birthdays. My mom used to use saltines but I use Italian breadcrumbs. I use 2 lbs ground beef and 1 lb ground pork. I also use 2 beaten eggs 2 8 oz cans tomato sauce. Of course, I also use onions and green pepper. In addition, I use Lipton onion soup mix and McCormick meatloaf seasoning mix.

    There are so many ways to make meatloaf and I never understood why some people groan when they hear they are having meatloaf. I guess it is because their mom didn't have a good recipe for it.

    Your recipe looks great Mary and I will give yours a try. I am sure it is wonderful like all of your recipes I have tried.

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    1. Thanks so much! I think you're probably right about that groaning thing. I have a feeling a lot of folks work the meat to death when they combine it and end up with a really dense & dry meatloaf. Your recipe sounds like my kinda meatloaf - I'm gonna have to try that one too!! :)

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  4. There are few things more hearty and satisfying than meatloaf and mashed potatoes for dinner....at least for my guys. Though it seems to be fashionable these days to make meatloaf with ground lamb and ground veal, which I've never taking a liking to...

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    1. I'm with you on that - I'll stick with good ole cheap beef ground up & that makes me happy!

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  5. Love, love, love meatloaf!! And I adore meatloaf sandwiches!! Your recipe looks fantastic and I will definite be making it this week. I love to use my slow cooker. . .makes life so much easier.

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    1. Me too Lori on those sammies!! I used to use the old original 3-1/2 quart Crockpots back in the day, but they I got away from it. I've only recently started getting back into them since blogging & so I'm venturing out alot more now!

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  6. I just love meat loaf none of my family like it but I just love it I don't make it very often I'm from London UK. Its not very common here yet but I tell my friends about it and I shall give them your recipe thanku :-)

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    1. Hi & welcome!! My husband is a big meat and potatoes guy so this is one meal he enjoys. Thanks so much for sharing my website with your friends. Word of mouth is my only advertising so I really appreciate that.

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  7. I just love meat loaf none of my family like it but I just love it I don't make it very often I'm from London UK. Its not very common here yet but I tell my friends about it and I shall give them your recipe thanku :-)

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  8. I just love meat loaf none of my family like it but I just love it I don't make it very often I'm from London UK. Its not very common here yet but I tell my friends about it and I shall give them your recipe thanku :-)

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  9. I'm liking this recipe. Been wanting to purchase a new crock pot.

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    Replies
    1. I upgraded to a new 6 quart crockpot last year - it's Emeril's by T-Fal. It was a little pricey but it was worth it because it actually cooks the best - like the old CPs used to. I had bought a 6 quart Crockpot brand and it was boiling everything! It's now in the garage. I'll probably talk about it more in one of my upcoming slow cooker posts.

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  10. Man, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE a meatloaf and french bread sandwich for breakfast right now!

    I don't have a Ninja but one of those Magic Bullet things and I agree, I'm surprised at how much I use the thing.

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    1. And I never did get around to getting a Bullet, but I sure do love my Ninja! It's one of those rare infomercial products that actually does what it says LOL!!

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  11. Love meatloaf!!! Mac/cheese, mash potatoes, green beans with potatoes with meatloaf is one of my fav dishes. Yum.

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  12. If I am wanting to make this for two people should I just cut the measurements in half?

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    1. Yes, including the crockpot size - unless you want to have leftovers that is. You'll want a smaller slow cooker for a half recipe.

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  13. If I wanted to make this for two people should I just cut the measurements in half?

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  14. I'm guessing you could use elk or venison for this too since it works for lean ground beef. Has anyone tried that?

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  15. I have been searching for a good meatloaf. My mother made the very best and I wish she was able to fix me one. I miss her cooking so much!! This sounds like one to try. Thanks!

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    1. Oh Kim, I wish she were able to also. I'd sit right down with you and enjoy several slices! There are so many ways to make meatloaf & I pretty much could say I'd love them all. The veggies in this version really make a difference in keeping the leaner beef nice & moist, so be sure to mince those up real fine!! Please let me know what you think if you try it.

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  16. Absolutely LOVE this recipe...I'm a stay at home mom who recently became deaf due to a blood disorder...due to safety, I do not drive and can't make it to the store as much as I'd like...so I was out of saltines and also onions. We don't like bell pepper so that wasn't an issue...I made my own breadcrumbs from toast (was also out of breadcrumbs...lol), used 2 tsps minced garlic, chopped some carrots, used dried minced onion, and followed the recipe exactly from there...it was absolutely delicious!!! Although I did have to stop the cooking at 6 hours because my crock pot cooks very fast even on low. Such a moist, delicious meatloaf!! Tasted like the one my mom used to make...she passed away 12 years ago and I haven't found a recipe to compare to hers until this. Brought back tons of memories!! Thanks so much!!

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    1. Aw, Wanda! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with me about your mom. I lost mine in 1997 and there isn't a day that goes by I don't miss her even now and I STILL can't make my gumbo taste quite like hers!! I really appreciate you taking the time to stop back by and let me know that you enjoyed the recipe. I like how you made do with what you had too!

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  17. ....and by the way....to all of you out there who are trying to half this recipe, I'd make the full loaf...it's absolutely GREAT on sandwiches as leftovers!!

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    1. I can't argue with that because sandwiches are one of the best things about meatloaf!

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    2. dont have a slo cooker , could i not do this in my oven...???

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    3. Absolutely! This is really a variation of my basic meatloaf found right here that I cook in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 1-1/2 hours, or to a temperature of 160 degrees F.

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  18. Hi Mary! I LOVE your website and blog!!! I can honestly say that every recipe I have made of yours has been absolutely delicious and I always get complimented on them. I was wondering if I could use oats instead of the crackers, or would it come out "gummy"? Nothing against crackers, just my hubby prefers oats (the old time way)...lol!! Thank you !!.,,,,,and I'm a Pascagoula original but now live in NC :)

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    1. A Gulf Coast gal! No wonder you're enjoying the recipes -heck we're practically related!! You sure could use oats for your binder. I haven't done it with this recipe, but I'd say somewhere between 1/3 & 1/2 cup would do it. Use the quick cooking type. Let me know how it turns out if you think about it!!

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  19. Hi, Just wanted to let everyone know that if you use one of the crockpot bags---it is very easy to get the meatloaf out and make gravy with the juice if you want to.

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    1. Oh yeah! You know, I never remember to buy those but that's a great tip - thanks!

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  20. i love to use my crock pot. i use it for lots of dinners..
    i even make my dogs (2) food in it. i use the liners,
    works great. i love this recipe. thanks wanda

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    1. You're welcome Wanda! I have certainly been using mine a lot more in this summer heat, that's for sure.

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