Thursday, September 16, 2010

Basic Meatloaf

My meatloaf standard, made with lean ground beef and finely minced veggies. Shown here baked with slices of bacon on top and finished with a brown sugar and tomato glaze.

Basic Meatloaf

Don't believe for a minute that you cannot get a nice, moist meatloaf without using a high fat ground beef like ground chuck. I love ground chuck and use it exclusively in burgers for the best flavor, or in recipes where I can drain off the excess fat. Is it tasty and delicious? Yes! But, let's face it.

Ground chuck is also a very high fat beef and while it's sure tasty, really not ideal for a baked meatloaf, unless you don't mind all the accumulated fat the meat swims in during cooking. Plus, all that grease makes it more messy to deal with and your meatloaf will usually be so saturated in fat, it will likely crumble. You can resolve that somewhat with a broiler pan, and now that I have one, I've been using one to bake my meatloaf, but with this recipe I still prefer a leaner beef.

This recipe uses ground sirloin, but with the addition of vegetables - onion, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms - not only adding great flavor, but also keeping the meat nice and moist, not at all dry and not drenched with all that fat. It's a delicious basic meatloaf recipe - nice and moist and plenty flavorful. The key here is including vegetables, either minced with a food processor or finely minced by hand- and your kids won't even know that they are in there.

You want about 1/2 cup of whole mushrooms, which you will mince. How many you need depends on the type and size that you use.

Process 4 slices of bread - whole wheat, white, white wheat - whatever you have, and add in the beaten egg and seasonings.

Give that a gentle mix. A lot of folks dive right in with their hands. Yeah. I'm not doing that, but a wooden spoon works nicely. Most folks tend to over handle the meat when they mix by hand, which can make it very compact and dense after cooking. A spoon seems to work a little better for me. Then begin adding in the broth, a little at a time, until everything binds together.

You can place this into a loaf pan or just cook it on a regular rimmed baking sheet of some kind. I like using my broiler pan, but for easier clean up, I line the bottom pan section with foil.

Gather the meat in the bowl to form a loaf shape, then roll it out on your pan.

Shape that into a loaf shape. Occasionally I wrap the loaf with bacon so that's what I'm doing this time. By using the broiler pan, most of the fat will drip away, but the bacon will provide flavor. And The Cajun loves it this way so in order to get my way with the glaze, I am happy to accommodate him. Besides that, well... it's bacon y'all!

Just lay it across the top and tuck the ends under the meatloaf. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. If you are using the tomato glaze, about 10 minutes before it's about done, remove the meatloaf and brush with the glaze.

You can slice the meatloaf right from the pan of course, but to transfer it to a serving platter like this, I use a long fish spatula. I also use it to get my slow cooker meatloaf out of the crockpot. This kitchen tool is handy for much more than fish y'all!

As far as glazes go, I personally prefer the classic and simple ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar glaze with my meatloaf as shown in the picture above - I just happen to like the tangy contrast personally. The Cajun prefers it with a homemade gravy, as pictured below, because he likes the gravy with the typical side dish of mashed potatoes.

Basic Meatloaf shown here with a Brown Gravy.
I also have used my Rotel sauce that is just delicious with this meatloaf that you might like to try. Serve your meatloaf with some homemade mashed potatoes or buttered rice, southern style green beans (my favorite), a green veggie like steamed broccoli or a nice mixed garden salad.

It's a great meatloaf and I hope you enjoy it! Here's how to make it.

Recipe: Basic Meatloaf

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 2 hours | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 2-1/4 pounds ground sirloin
  • 2 small clovesgarlic, minced
  • 1 medium sweet or yellow onion, minced
  • green onions, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 1/2 of a green bell pepper, minced
  • 4 slices of white, whitewheat or whole wheat bread, torn in chunks and ground
  • 1/2 cup of whole mushrooms, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
  • Hot sauce, to taste, optional
For the Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Line the bottom of a broiler pan with aluminum foil. May also use a a large 10 x 5 inch loaf pan or an aluminum foil covered, regular rimmed baking sheet. Place ground beef in a large mixing bowl, adding in the remaining ingredients; mix very gently taking care not to compact. Shape into a loaf, placing onto the top rack of broiler pan. If using a loaf pan, place meatloaf pan on top rack in oven and place an aluminum covered baking pan on the rack underneath to catch any overflow drippings.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. If extra time is needed, you may tent with aluminum foil to prevent burning and continue baking until done. For glaze, combine the ketchup, mustard and brown sugar and stir well. Brush glaze across the top of meatloaf the last 10 minutes of cooking. Alternatively, you may serve the meatloaf with a brown gravy instead of glazing.

Allow to rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with buttered rice, or homemade mashed potatoes and a green veggie or salad.

Cook's Notes: Shape into two smaller loaves if desired, and check temperature at the earlier time. I use a food processor to mince all of the vegetables. Pulse garlic cloves first, cut the onion, green onion, celery, and green pepper into chunks and add to the garlic, processing about 10 seconds. Add the vegetables to the ground beef and then process the bread and mushrooms together about 10 seconds and add to ground beef.

Use a leaner ground beef like sirloin as noted in the recipe, rather than a higher fat beef, like chuck. The minced vegetables provide plenty of moisture to make for a very tender and juicy meatloaf, and any higher fat beef will likely not hold together well. May also use a mix of ground beef and sweet Italian sausage, or a product sold as "meatloaf mix" which typically is equal parts of ground beef, veal and pork.

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf: Form meatloaf into a loaf shape and place onto the top of a broiler pan. Lay bacon slices over the top of meatloaf, tucking the ends underneath. Bake as above.

BBQ Glaze: Substitute 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce for half of the ketchup.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on September 16, 2010

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  1. I love myself a good meatloaf! I can see why you brought this back for a repeat, it looks delicious!

  2. This looks like much more than an everyday basic meatloaf!!

  3. I love meatloaf. Hubby makes a good one, so I leave that meal to him! This sounds good, too!

  4. nothing like an oldy but goody!! thanks, mary


  5. The rotel sauce sounds wonderful. I always put some horseradish in to my meatloaf mix.

  6. Meatloaf weather, we finally have meatloaf weather! When I make mine I use a comibination mix, beef,veal & pork. That is how my mom made it. I have never made it any other way..Yours looks delish, and I'll give it a try....

  7. Meatloaf means having meatloaf sandwiches the next day, my favorite!

    What is that? No you aren't hearing someone in your fridge. Just go back to what you were doing and nevermind those noises in the kitchen.

  8. Your meatloaf looks outstanding . . . i've got to try your recipe! thanks Mary, Roz

  9. I made this a few months back when I was craving meatloaf. It was and continues to be my favorite recipe. Word to the wise though, don't attempt to 'kick it up a notch' in heat. It's perfect JUST the way it's written. ;-) I did and still do add the tomato gravy from the other recipe though. YUM YUM YUM!!

  10. We LOVE this meatloaf! Now that our sons are out of the house, it's too much for us to finish. I'm wondering if leftovers freeze well?

    1. Wrap it tightly in heavy foil a couple of times, then put in a freezer bag & try to use it in a couple of months. Stick the wrapped meatloaf in a shallow pan and heat it up wrapped so it retains the moisture - 350 about an hour. Better if you can allow thaw time in the fridge, or you may need to add some extra time for cooking if you cook from frozen. If you use fresh ground beef, meaning not previously frozen, you can also make the mix and divide it, freezing half raw for baking fresh. Hope that helps!!

  11. Thank you! It does! I'll be doing that today. :)

  12. Hi Mary, made your meatloaf for Sunday dinner. It tastes fantastic. Even the leftovers we had the next day was still moist and tasty, and hubby doesn't really care for any meatloaf recipes I make, because, until now, I could not find a recipe that was good enough. Thank you for another good recipe. I love checking out all your recipes!!!!


    1. Hi Catherine & thank you so much!! I'm so glad to hear that the hubby enjoyed this one - that's always a good sign to me! I really do love this meatloaf - those ground up veggies do make a difference if you ask me. Thanks again for the sweet note - I really appreciate you taking the time to come back by and leave a review!

  13. Meatloaf....My Favorite Comfort Food that my Mother made!! One year for Christmas my brother and I ask for it instead of turkey. Loving us like she did...we got both!! Pinning this!!

    1. I love it!! Moms are great aren't they?

    2. Yes they are! I sure miss mine! She died 1 year ago this month.

    3. Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry for your loss Kim. I've lost both my parents now - cancer - but Moms are the hardest. My Mama has been gone now 17 years & mercy I still miss her every day of my life. HUGS!!

    4. This smelled so divine, immediately grabbed a fork and tasted. Daughter came upstairs (away from computer?oh my!), said, "that's what you're cooking? is there any potato salad left?" (yes there is, and it goes together great!) we both had some - it's 3pm, we can't wait.

      Mary this is a home run in the world series! I had 4 lbs of ground chuck 80/20, celery sticks, onions, green onions and bell peppers leftover from Dad's funeral cooking. Haven't cooked since, but they were still good and I risked this recipe even with the 80/20. Did the bacon wrap, left out the mushrooms due to a family food allergy, used 1/2 cup broth. Best loaf I've ever made, and I had a great recipe before! Thank you thank you thank you

    5. I'm so glad the family enjoyed it Bonita! Thanks for letting me know. The mushrooms aren't necessary unless you're using a very lean beef - with 80/20 you're good without them!

      I'm so sorry about the loss of your father. I know it's hard when you enter into that club of losing your parents. {{{HUGS}}}

  14. Mary, I have panko bread crumbs how much should I use in place of the regular bread crumbs?

    1. I love panko, but admit I've never used them in a meatloaf. If I were to guess, I think maybe about 3/4 to 1 cup, although since they are crisp, I'd suggest softening them with a little of the broth first. They might soften up enough in the meat, but I just don't know for sure. Also, once you add the softened crumbs to meat mix you'll know if you need more to bind the meat together further.

  15. Best meatloaf recipe ever! I think what makes this recipe better than others is the chicken broth. This is the first time I made a meatloaf with it. So moist and delicious!


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