Monday, October 27, 2008

Meatloaf - Paradise By the Oven Door Light

Do you like meatloaf? Although meatloaf can be found on just about every restaurant menu across the U.S., do you know that meatloaf (the food not the singer) really hasn't been around all that long? Granted, use of ground or minced meat has been around for centuries, but the loaf concoction recognized and enjoyed today really has only been around since the 1950's. Prior to that, many cooks were suspicious of purchasing ground raw meat, in part due to poor home refrigeration availability. Companies selling meat grinders actually started publishing cookbooks showing how to cook ground raw meats as a way to promote their products. Now a days, ground beef is readily available in supermarkets, and most people go pick up a pound or two without a second thought. What was once considered the comforting blue plate special has evolved into upscale "gourmet" versions much like what's happened with the burger!

To me, meatloaf is a shape variation of a gargantuan meatball! The rules for making meatloaf are similar to the hallowed ball version ... season liberally, bind with an egg, add a filler, moisten with a liquid of sorts, and mix lightly. Once that is complete, simply form it into a loaf shape, pop it in a preheated oven, and you've got almost an hour before you have to think of it again. Super easy and super comfort.

My loaf is a very simple version in deference to my little loaf eaters' taste buds. I simply combine ground beef, Montreal Steak Seasoning, sauteed minced onions and carrots, beaten large egg, and BBQ sauce. Hmmm ... notice how that Montreal Steak Seasoning is making its way into many of my recipes? I formed it into an evenly proportioned loaf shape, placed it on a foil lined sheet, and slid it into a preheated 350 oven for 50 minutes. I then slathered it, and I mean poured it on thick, with additional BBQ sauce, and popped it back into the oven for 10 more minutes. Once out of the oven, I let it sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Mmmmm,mmmmm, good!

There are zillions of variations of this. Depending on where you live, some folks like to used a mixture of beef and pork, and even veal, too. Instead of oatmeal, some folks use bread crumbs, crushed saltines, cooked rice, and even crushed cheddar crackers. I've had versions where it was loaded with a wagon load of chopped veggies, stuffed with gooey cheese, contained hidden hard boiled eggs in the middle, and topped with spicy salsa. There are recipes calling for it to be coated with cream of mushroom soup, ketchup, gravy, pineapple with teryaki, or even mashed potatoes!

The important thing with meatloaf, no matter which version you try, is to not over mix it or over cook it. You'll end up with a dense, dry, blech beef slab. Properly prepared, it's tasty and the leftovers are even better. I love meatloaf sandwiches, and anticipate them the same way I do leftover turkey sandwiches at Thanksgiving.

Here's my recipe:

Combine:
1.5 lbs of ground beef(10-15% fat: less fat is too dry and more fat is too greasy)
1/4 minced very fine small onion
2 small carrots, minced very fine
Butter to saute onion and carrots
3/4 cup uncooked oatmeal
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (use homemade or your favorite bottled)
Several shakes Montreal Steak Seasoning (which reminds me I'm almost out!)
1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 cup additional BBQ sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a small saute pan, melt a little pat of butter on med heat and saute the onion and carrots until they start to wilt. Cool the veggies. In a large bowl, using a light touch, thoroughly combine the meat, cooled veggies, oatmeal, egg, 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, MSS, and parsley. Pour the meat onto the foil lined sheet, and shape into an evenly shaped loaf. Put in the oven, middle rack, for 50 minutes. Pour additional BBQ sauce on top,completely covering loaf. Put back in oven for 10 minutes. Remove and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Slice either thick or thin. Make yummy noises.

See how yummy that outer sauce is? And the texture of the meat is perfect ... not too dense, and not falling apart. It went perfect with buttery mashed potatoes!

Oh, and since I didn't use bread crumbs, this was gluten free all the way, baby! (Note: If you use commercially prepared BBQ sauce, take care that it's wheat free/gluten free!)

How do you make your meatloaf?

32 comments:

Marjie said...

Have you taught them to sing, "Do you love me? Will you love me forever?" etc? I use bread crumbs in place of the oatmeal, but it's basically the same recipe!

Esi said...

I think I should try this sometime. I haven't had the best experiences with meatloaf, but you ever know.

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

meatloaf is something i've never tried before. we eat homemade meatballs and hamburger-style meat patties in our house, which are all made form some similar mixture to meatloaf. as you said, it's a gargantuan meatball, isn;t it!

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

I love meatloaf, so many recipes and all so good. This one sounds delicious! Usually when I make this, I'm pressed for time, so I bake it in a 9 x 13 and call it Meat Cake :) Doesn't sound quite as appetizing but it bakes faster...

noble pig said...

I love the pumpkin laughing at the meatloaf! My secret ingredient is blue cheese, I love it in my meatloaf! Love your crust.

Jan said...

Now that looks like a yummy meatloaf! I haven't made one for ages - I must give yours a go. Looks delish.

Bellini Valli said...

Meatloaf is definietly a comfort food for me...if only the rest of the family would eat it...can you imagine:D

doggybloggy said...

WOW that looks "official"

Darius T. Williams said...

Ahh - I love a good meatloaf - this looks great!

-DTW
www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

Katherine Aucoin said...

Be still my heart cause I love meatloaf and yours is a winner. My husband and I differ on the gravy for the meatloaf though. I prefer a red gravy and he demands a brown gravy. I guess whoever cooks wins!

Peter M said...

Oh no you didn't just reference Paradise By the Dashboard Light? lol

I love meatloaf, especially when it's as moist looking as this one...make my a sangwich?

Linda said...

I love meat loaf. I make mine in an old loaf pan and heap it high. I once had a friend over and she wanted to know how I made it rise that high.

Pam said...

This looks and sounds fantastic. I love a good meatloaf - especially my Moms. Great photos!

Sophie said...

I never get tired of meatloaf! I especially love making sandwiches out of the leftovers. I love the idea of adding oatmeal; I've never thought of that!

Cheryl said...

That looks delicious and I am starving. I have never thought of using oatmeal, I can see how that would work, plus add fiber. YUM!

The Blonde Duck said...

I love meatloaf. Oh yum. Meatloaf. Sigh. Excuse me. I'm drooling.

Veronica said...

My H complains I never make meatloaf-when I do make it I make the ketchup topped variety (his favorite) or sometimes I will make one with mozzarella in the middle and tomato sauce on top.

Nazarina A said...

DO I LOVE MEATLOAF!!!!! I love your tasty version! I am going to have to try your recipe for the ultimate comfort food experience!

Grace said...

all too often meatloaf is a greasy mess, but yours looks perfect. comfort food extraordinaire. :)

Lisa said...

I love Meatloaf! Both the group and the dinner:)

RecipeGirl said...

It's all about how good that outer sauce is for me! LOVE meatloaf. I even order it at restaurants sometimes :)

Lori said...

I love the title of this post! :oD And the pumpkin in the background of one of your pictures. That was cute.

Lisa said...

Nice looking meatloaf! I really love those leftover meatloaf sandwiches too...

Aggie said...

I love meatloaf! I am going to have to try your version...love the bbq sauce and montreal seasoning in it. Yum! And I like that you used oatmeal too!!

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

yes, moms are too super, never a moment to spare!

Theresa said...

I love meatloaf, but only in-house. And the best is a left over meatloaf sandwich.

Mrs. L said...

My mom was one of those that started making meatloaf when, in the late 50's or early 60's, Lipton dry soup came out with a recipe. I grew up on the stuff but haven't made real meatloaf in ages. I need to give it a try.

Deborah said...

I agree - meatloaf is like a giant meatball! But it's funny that my husband loves meatballs, but won't touch meatloaf. Too bad, because this looks fantastic!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Love your meatloaf with the bbq sauce on it, I sometimes do that with mine. I always love how meatloaf smells while its cooking in the oven! I'll have a side of your dreamy, creamy, mac and cheese too!

QGIRL said...

I included your meatloaf recipe in my weekly meal planning post today! Can't wait to try it out.

Kevin said...

That meatloaf looks good! I like the use of the oatmeal.

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

i like the definition of election on your page - so gald obama won