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.
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.

As always, full recipe text with measurements and instructions, as well as a printable document, are a little bit further down the page. Just swipe or scroll past the chit-chat below to get to it. 

 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 a slow cooker, 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 because of that. The addition of veggies really does help to keep it moist, despite the loss of fat, so seriously don't skip them - you need 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, here's a great tip. If you want to test a meatloaf 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 make, 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 that is a result of using a slow cooker 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, just for added color.


It adds 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 one sure takes out a lot of the guesswork with cooking. Check the internal temperature in several of the thickest parts of the meatloaf 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.

You can also make a wide and long strip of heavy duty aluminum foil in the bottom of the slow cooker lengthwise, serving as a lift and handles to remove the meatloaf once it's finished cooking.


Let the meatloaf rest, slice and serve. Don't you just love a good meatloaf sandwich the next day too? Yum. Here's how to make it.


For more of my favorite meatloaf recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!



If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!


Slow Cooker Meatloaf

Slow Cooker Meatloaf

Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
Author: Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 MinInactive time: 6 HourTotal time: 6 H & 10 M
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.

Ingredients

For the Meatloaf:
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 pounds lean (93/7) ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced green bell pepper
  • 1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk, only if needed
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, optional
  • 1/2 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet, optional
For the Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Creole mustard
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Place the 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker.
  2. 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.
  3. Line slow cooker with aluminum foil leaving extra length to use as handles. Spray foil lightly with non-stick spray. Form meat mixture into an oblong loaf and place into slow cooker.
  4. Combine the Worcestershire and Kitchen Bouquet, if using, and brush over the top of the meatloaf.
  5. Cover and cook on low 5 to 6 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F in several places.
  6. Combine the glaze ingredients until well mixed; spread across the top of the meatloaf the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
  7. Use a wide spatula to assist with carefully transferring meatloaf to a platter. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes:

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

All brands of slow cookers cook differently. I do recommend using an instant read thermometer when crocking a whole loaf of meat like this. They are inexpensive and having one 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 rather than rely strictly on timing.


Beef, Crockpot, Diner Food, Everyday, Family, Ground Beef, Main Dish, Meatloaf, Slow Cooker, WCW
Main Dish
American
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Posted by on October 18, 2012
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