It’s Meatloaf Time!!!

No don’t run away.  Please!

This post was inspired by my friend Brian who, with the air of a man heading to the executioner, told me that he was going to his parent’s to eat meatloaf.  There is perhaps no other main dish so maligned in all of culinary history as the meatloaf (fruitcake takes the um…cake as the most hated dish in history.)  But it does not have to be that way.  You like hamburgers, right?

Meatloaf, if done properly, is just the greatest hamburger you’ve ever had.  Baked, not fried.

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flake 
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1 half of a red bell pepper, diced into quarter inch pieces
  • 4 slices of white bread
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground veal (if you don’t eat veal, use dark turkey meat)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup 
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add the olive oil and coat the bottom of the skillet.  Add the red pepper flake and the minced garlic.  Saute for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the onions, celery, red pepper, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until the onions become translucent.  This will take perhaps 10 minutes.
  3. Take the skillet off the heat and let the veggies cool completely.
  4. Tear the bread into small pieces or chop with a knife.  Put into a large mixing bowl and pour milk over the bread.  If the bread can absorb more milk, add more in 1/4 cup increments.
  5. Add all three types of meat, the vegetables, the breadcrumbs, and both eggs to the bowl and mix.  Hands work best here, so you may want to buy some latex gloves.
  6. Once mixed, let sit for about for five minutes on the counter.  This lets the bread crumbs absorb all the other flavors.
  7. Here’s the fun part.  Most people would drop the meatloaf into a pan and cross their fingers.  Not you! (I think Alton or Emeril taught me this.)  Take a tablespoon of meatloaf and make a patty out of it.  Put the patty into a skillet and fry it like a hamburger.
  8. Taste the patty.  If the mixture needs more seasoning, add it now.  Repeat steps 7 and 8 until you are satisfied with your meatloaf.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350.
  10. Put the mixture into a loafpan and spread a liberal coating of ketchup over the top.  (Even with the quality ingredients in the loaf, the best part of meatloaf is still the ketchup.)  Bake for 20 minutes and then start checking for doneness every 5 minutes.
  11. Enjoy meatloaf well done!

Keep in mind, this is not health food.  This is a timeless classic dish that is in dire need of a shot in the arm.  And don’t forget the ketchup.  As a tinkerer, I have tried to create other tomato based sauces to put on top the meatloaf and everytime I go back to good ol’ ketchup.


  1. Have you tried BBQ sauce instead of ketchup? Yummy!

    You have some different ingredients than what I was taught to use and from Betty Crocker’s version. Never precooked the vegees before – could make a REAL difference, as you can imagine! LOL! Poor Scott.

    I look forward to trying your recipe, being a less than amateur, self-taught cook! I’m actually excited about trying something new!

  2. Thanks for the shoutout the other day.

    I like to cook my meatloaf on a baking sheet or large gratin dish. Then I surround it with sliced potatoes and they benefit from all the juices.

    My mother-in-law used to put condensed tomato soup on top of her meat loaf as it baked. I thought it would be horrible, but actually it’s pretty good.

    I told this story on my blog before (I think), but my brother thought by breaking my mother’s pyrex loaf pan, we’d never have to have meatloaf again. He never had the nerve to do it, though.

  3. Sue, no problem on the shoutout. I love your blog even if I don’t see enough love coming to my boy Alton. 🙂 The story of your brother kills me, though if your mom was like mine, she’d use the broken Pyrex as an excuse to go buy a whole new set and then we’d have meatloaf three times a week. Grrrr…

    I’ll try the condensed tomato soup, but it’s hard for me to part with sugar and vinegarness of ketchup.

    Game Dame, that sounds horrible so it’s probably really, really good.

  4. I never complained about meatloaf as a kid. Now, I look for all kinds of ways to make it. My latest crave is Ina Garten’s turkey meatloaf… it’s awesome!! I like sound of your recipe.. I’ll give it a whirl. = Paul

  5. I need to look her recipe up. I bet its decadent (I notice she rarely cooks health food…) Does she use light or dark meat? I find that ground turkey has neither the color or the flavor that I want in a meatloaf.

    If you do give the recipe a whirl, feel free to comment on it. Unless you didn’t like it… 😛

  6. A little different twist, a cajun thing I picked up. Once the meat mixture is all mixed ( I also use a couple tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce , and chopped garlic and onion) press it out kinda flat on waxed paper or a cookie sheet, I just use my cutting board. then layer swiss cheese on it, then sliced green olives. Roll and form into loaf shape. For my topping, I mix mustard and Frank’s Red Hot Lousiana hot sauce and drizzle all over the top. YUM YUM!

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