Meatloaf is one of those easy to prepare but not so easy to make taste so good recipes. It is usually lacks flavor and is dry and dense, to say the least. We all want easy to prepare recipes that taste Amazing and satisfy everyone in the family. To make this Meatloaf very tasty I've added lots of flavor with savory Thyme, Oregano and sauteed Onions simmered in Worcestershire and traditional Ketchup. A tangy Glaze on top that is lightly sweetened with Brown Sugar tops it, making it even more Amazing. My secret, that I learned after a few dense Meatloafs while I was testing this recipe, is to not pack it in the loaf pan. Meatloaf must be treated gently and it will be light and delicious. None of a good Meatloaf will ever go to waste. I mean, who can resist a cold Meatloaf sandwich slathered with a little extra Ketchup the next day? Nobody can when you are Cooking The Amazing!
Here is the recipe.
1 T Olive Oil
1 T Butter
1 1/2 c Onion, Diced Medium
2 Cloves of Garlic, Finely Chopped
1/2 c Ketchup
1/4 c Worcestershire Sauce
3 T A1 Steak Sauce
3/4 t Fine Grain Sea Salt
1 t Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 t Cumin
1 1/2 t Dried Thyme
1 t Dried Oregano
1 t Paprika
2 lbs Ground Beef Chuck 80-81% Fat
1/4 lb Ground Mild Italian Sausage
3/4 t Fine Grain Sea Salt
1/2 t Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/2 c Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 c Crushed Ritz Crackers (20 Crackers)
1/2 c Whole Milk
2 Large Eggs
FOR THE GLAZE:
1 c Ketchup
5 T Dark Brown Sugar
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 t Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1. Prepare your Meatloaf pan. Use a large loaf pan approximately 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 3/4" high. Lining the loaf pan with aluminium foil and then make a sling of aluminum foil to lay over the lined part which will help remove your Meatloaf in one piece once cooked. To make a sling tear off about 20 inches of foil and fold it in half long ways and mold it into the prelined pan. Fold the ends down that stick out leaving a handle to use to remove the Meatloaf. Also, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch all the fat that cooks out. These steps will save you cleaning up a lot of mess because there is a lot of fat that renders as the Meatloaf cooks. If you do not have a loaf pan you can free form the Meatloaf and circle it in a ring of foil to hold it's shape and place it on a lined rimmed baking sheet.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep all of the chopping of the Onions and Garlic and measure all ingredients out and set aside, leaving the meat for last to avoid contamination.
3. In a medium pan over medium heat on the stove, heat Olive Oil and Butter then add diced Onion and Garlic and saute until Onions just begin to soften.
4. Add to the Onion: 1/2 c Ketchup, 1/4 c Worcestershire Sauce, 2 T A1 Steak Sauce, 3/4 t Fine Grain Sea Salt, 1 t Fresh Ground Black Pepper,
1 t Cumin, 1 t Dried Thyme, 1 t Dried Oregano, 1 t Paprika. Stir in well and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. It will bubble and thicken. Set aside to cool some.
5. Place 20 Ritz Crackers in a zip lock bag and seal it tight with all the air out. Use a rolling pin or a big can and crush the Crackers into fine crumbs. A few big chunks won't hurt anything. Set aside. In a medium bowl (or the measuring cup you use for the Milk), add 2 large Eggs to 1/2 c Milk and mix well with a fork and set aside.
6. In a large mixing bowl add all of the Ground Beef Chuck and Italian Sausage. You want high fat Meats in your Meatloaf to prevent dry Meatloaf. Add the 3/4 t Sea Salt and 1/2 t Black Pepper, 1/2 c grated Parmesan Cheese, crushed Ritz Crackers, Milk and Eggs mixture and the cooked Onion and Ketchup/Worcestershire mixture. Use a large wooden spoon and "cut" across several times mixing everything together. The goal is to not compact the Meat but to keep it "light and fluffy" and not dense. I used to use my hands but I find it compacts the Meatloaf making a hard dense loaf that doesn't have a good mouth feel. After you "cut" across a few times use the wooden spoon and mix everything well, still keeping the Meat "light and fluffy".
7. Once mixed, scoop spoonfuls into the loaf pan gently. Add scoops of the mixture filling the bottom but do not press it into the pan. Lightly tap the mixture into the corners. Once the bottom is covered begin layering the mixture by the spoonful until you have a mound and all the mixture is in the loaf pan. Resist pressing the mixture down with the spoon because this is what makes a dense, tough Meatloaf. Use the back of the spoon to lightly smooth the top and shape it into a loaf shape.
8. In a small bowl make the Glaze by mixing the 1 c Ketchup, 5 T Brown Sugar, 1 T Worcestershire Sauce and 1/2 t fresh ground Black Pepper. Spoon 1/3 of this mixture over the entire top of the Meatloaf. Reserve the other 2/3 for later in the recipe. Place the Meatloaf pan on the lined Cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
9. After 1 hour and 15 minutes of cooking, spoon and spread another 1/3 of the Glaze over the Meatloaf and return to the oven and cook at 350 degrees for 15 minutes more. You will see all of the fat that has cooked out of the Meatloaf at this point and will be thankful when clean up time comes that you lined everything with foil. Who's got time to scrub pots and pans all day? Not me!
10. After 15 minutes remove from the oven and check the temperature using a Meat thermometer in the center of the Meatloaf. It should register at least 165 degrees when done. If not, place back into the oven at 350 degrees and recheck in 10 minutes or until it is 165 degrees in the center. Once done, let the Meatloaf rest in the pan for 15 minutes on the counter before removing by the aluminum sling and allowing any fat to drain off before serving. While it is resting, microwave the last 1/3 of the glaze for 45-60 seconds on high and use as extra Sauce to spoon on the Meatloaf for those that like more glaze when serving.
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