Thursday, October 20, 2016

Southern Style Meatloaf

Southern style meatloaf, made with ground chuck, onion and sweet bell pepper and finished with a brown sugar ketchup glaze.
Southern style meatloaf, made with ground chuck, onion and sweet bell pepper and finished with a brown sugar ketchup glaze.

Southern Style Meatloaf

Y'all know how I feel about labeling recipes or methods of cooking as "real" or "true" southern. I say it all the time, and I will continue to repeat it as long as I'm sharing recipes here on my blog, that one true reality I have learned in my now about ten years of blogging about southern food, is that there is no one "true" way to cook in the south. We sometimes do things a little bit different from one another.

Truth is, it rests solely on two things - the region of the south where you grew up, and what your own mama did - which was likely drawn from what her mama did. I am a southerner, born and raised, but my way of cooking some things may be potentially far different from your way, though it doesn't make either one better or more "right" than the other.

That said, if there were a meatloaf that might be considered a southern-style meatloaf by most folks, I think it would be something like this one. Moist, from the use of a higher fat and more flavorful ground beef, made with plenty of onion, sweet bell pepper, white bread as the filler, a little ketchup for flavor, maybe a dash of Worcestershire, a nice mix of seasonings, and finished with a sweet ketchup and brown sugar glaze on top. Now that, is a good meatloaf y'all and I love a good meatloaf.

I also love natural fats, but I do not like my meatloaf swimming in it while it's baking, so the meatloaf I've been using for years is made with a leaner ground beef and mushrooms to add moisture. For this southern-style version here, I'm using ground chuck, and because of that, I recommend that you use a specialty meatloaf pan, a punctured foil pan, placed over a rack on a foiled lined, rimmed baking sheet, or a broiler pan, like what I'm using here.

This allows the excess fat to drain away, instead of the meatloaf stewing in it. You can certainly cook it in a loaf pan or a square baking pan, but I'd recommend pouring off the fat several times while it is cooking. Remember also, not to over-handle the meat as that can make it very compact and dense after cooking, so form it with a gentle hand. Here's how to make it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat bacon drippings in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper, increase heat to medium high and cook vegetables, stirring regularly, until lightly caramelized, about 10-12 minutes. Add garlic, cook another minute; set aside to cool.

Place ground beef in a large bowl. Sprinkle salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, basil and mustard over meat.

Add ketchup and Worcestershire. Dip bread into the milk.

Squeeze and smash up bread; add to meat. Add eggs to milk and beat together.

Add the sauteed vegetables to the meat. Use a wooden spoon to turn and gently mix the meat, adding milk mixture to moisten the meatloaf.

Transfer meat to pan or tray and gently press together to shape into loaf. Do not over compact.

Combine glaze ingredients and spoon over the top of the loaf. Bake for about an hour, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, carefully pouring off fat occasionally if using a regular baking pan. Total cooking time will vary depending on your own oven and how thick you shape the loaf.

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

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Posted by on October 20, 2016

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