This is my first destination on the journey through “A Meatloaf in Every Oven” by Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer.
This is a good basic meatloaf with a surprise tang to the glaze that is reminiscent of Carolina BBQ.
This recipe in the book calls for 1 1/2 pounds of ground chuck. I went to my local Sprouts Farmer’s Market to get the meat and found that it was all labeled as ground beef with the fat percentage. I asked the guy at the fresh meat counter if they had ground chuck and he indicated that they did not, so I asked him which of the ground beef products that they had available would be equivalent in fat content to the ground chuck. He told me that he did not know and all of the meat cutters were away at the time.
Luckily, we live in the days of the internet and I could look up fat percentage for ground chuck on my phone. I found that the usual fat percentage for ground chuck is about 15-20 % so I elected to get the 85/15 ground beef.
Why is this important? The fat in the beef, onions sautéed in butter and the half & half add fat to help keep the meatloaf moist and flavorful.
I will have to note a typo in the recipe: The recipe says to sauté the onions in butter, but then doesn’t tell you what to do with them. I had formed my meatloaf and mixed the glaze when I realized that I had a sauté pan full of onions that had not been used! I added the onion to the meat mixture, reformed the loaf and everyone was happy.
This meatloaf had two unusual features for me: 1) two binders, unseasoned bread crumbs and bread soaked with half and half, and 2) tomato sauce and sautéed onions as well as the binder were the only ingredients in the loaf itself. Usually I add some Worcestershire sauce and yellow mustard to my basic meat mixture for more flavor, but this is probably better for kids and picky eaters.
Ready for the Oven
I poured the glaze over the meat and put the meatloaf in at 325 F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The recipe called for and hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Since I had some experience with larger meatloaves taking longer to cook, I chose the longer time. I also did not have any non-stick aluminum foil, so I chose to cook the loaf directly in the pan.
Out of the Oven
Yikes! It looks like I overlooked it! Sure enough, when I checked the meatloaf it was well above the 145 F recommended by the cookbook authors. However, the great thing about meatloaf is that it is very forgiving! The meatloaf was still moist and flavorful.
I think the cooking time would have worked better if I had formed the loaf using a loaf pan and then turned it out into the larger baking pan. I’ll use that technique in the future where the recipe calls for a 13 x 9 (or similar) baking pan rather then a loaf pan.
The bad news was that I didn’t have any extra sauce to accompany the meatloaf because it got a little crusty in the pan, rather than turning into a nice sauce with the pan drippings.
I wish I had made some extra sauce to serve on the side because it was AWESOME and it just seemed wrong to add catsup or commercial BBQ sauce.
I served the meatloaf with spiral sliced zucchini sautéed in butter with a little pimento.
I can hardly wait to try Annie Miller’s Home-Style Loaf with Cheddar and Parsley.