Before I get into the meat of the post (ha get it, meat!) allow me a moment of candor. As I was growing up my mom’s meatloaf was just a terrible grey mass with ketchup drizzled on top. After time in the oven, the ketchup resembled a slightly sticky red shoelace (lawdy I hope she isn’t reading this). Looking back now I should have appreciated her effort more; She was in college, had a family and was putting home cooked meals on the table. I’m grateful she taught me that the experience of cooking for others can be rewarding, also thankful she didn’t teach me her meatloaf recipe.
Okay so enough sounding like a brat, time to share my take on the meatloaf. I knew it had to be moist (yes there is that word), full of flavor and boast something unwarranted. The jobs of flavor and juicy; those fall on the shoulders of finely chopped veggies and panko breadcrumbs. I love the sweetness from the veggies and added nutrition (scoffing laughter, okay a little added nutrition) all bound up with the panko. I wanted to take meatloaf past some unseen barrier from my childhood experiences, so I slathered it with BBQ sauce, wrapped it in bacon and added more BBQ sauce. Now you see why I had to convince myself the addition of the veggies brings nutrition to the equation.
I hope y’all enjoy my meatloaf recipe, that you fall in love with this comfort food all over again or for the first time.
Not my Momma's Meatloaf
Juicy and full of flavor, this meatloaf will become a family favorite.
Preheat the oven to 325C, we are going for low and slow.
In a bowl mix together the bread crumbs and seasoning, set this aside.
In a food processor pulse the red bell pepper, carrot and onion.
In a large bowl place the meatloaf mixture, veggie mix (sometimes I don't use all of it, try for a shy cup), followed by the dry ingredients and egg. Mix this together gently, seriously don't give the meatloaf a deep tissue massage just gently fold the ingredients together.
Shape the loaf in a jelly roll pan or large casserole dish, whatever is on hand that is big enough to allow the drippings to move away from the loaf. Otherwise it will just bake in a pool of fat. (I like to line my pan with parchment paper. ) Then brush the loaf well with BBQ sauce, cause that's way better than ketchup.
Cut the three slices of bacon in half to make six short slices. Lay the short slices over the loaf to make it a little bacon blankie. Hush little loafy don't say a word....
Brush with more BBQ sauce.
Put that gloriousness in the oven at 325C for 90min. Drool and remove from the oven.
As any meatloaf, it's best the day of but makes great leftovers, if there are any. The veggies and panko keep this juicy and full of flavor, while the bacon and BBQ make it special.
A few notes about recipe and technique.
Carrot note - sometimes all I have is shredded carrots, or baby carrots... don't feel like you have to get anything new.
Seasoning note - I adore the Salt Sisters. I have used their Mediterranean rub, Tuscan farmhouse blend and smokey BBQ rub in the recipe. You can't go wrong with them.
Mixing note: I said it but I'll say it again - don't over mix it! Just fold gently otherwise it will affect the texture.
No loaf pan: Despite loaf being in the name I recommend skipping the loaf pan. I'm pretty sure sitting in it's own slop while it bakes is what turns it into a grey glob, instead of baking it just kinda boils. No one wants boiled meat.