There's something about meatloaf most people either love or loathe. I'm going to suggest that we embrace this delicious recipe that's a cinch to make with a new appeal, and consider it closer to a fantastically amped up meatball rather than the typical meatloaf recipe hailing deep from the 1950's and well before!
Now speaking of those recipes from days gone by, some are pretty outstanding and when partnered with the right sides, they are undeniably tried and true and an unquestionable American classic recipe.
According to Bon Appetite Magazine, "Its narrative in this country includes an early chapter set in colonial times, when German immigrants made scrapple, an amalgam of ground pork and cornmeal that established the meat-starch union at the core of most meatloaves."
It continues on to say, "The first recorded recipe for the modern American meatloaf is from the late 1870s, according to the food historian Andrew Smith, who told us that it instructed the cook to finely chop “whatever cold meat you have.” That meat, he said, would likely be beef, because New Englanders killed their cows before winter, when feeding them would prove more difficult, and tried to take full advantage of every last bit of the meat, looking for uses for the cheap cuts. Meatloaf was such a use."
One tip from me? Check out this picture. This is something I don't want you to do! You see the hands? They hold heat! Heat will cause the fat to melt and render quickly from the meat when cooked! Instead, grab your favorite sturdy spatula so as to use the strength of that tool and avoid adding heat to the mix! It will ensure your recipe stays deliciously moist and juicy!
So let's step into the modern ranchy kitchen with me and let's whip up this version that is so simply and so truly delicious. Make sure you are generous with the ketchup or barbecue sauce this version calls for! It's part of the incredible appeal! Let's go!
- 1 ¼ pounds lean ground beef
- 3 t. olive oil
- ½ c. onion, small dice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ c. crumbled bacon, cooked crisp
- ¼ c. Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 T. mustard
- 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
- ¾ t. salt
- ½ t. black pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
- ¼ c. ketchup or BBQ sauce
- 1 T. parsley, dried or fresh
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil and coat well with cooking spray.
Heat the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard and Worcestershire sauce. In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture, beef, bacon, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, egg, 2 tablespoons of water and cheese. Mix together until well blended. Form 4 individual meatloaves and place on prepared sheet pan. Spread 1 tablespoon of ketchup or BBQ sauce over each meatloaf. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Sprinkle with parsley if desired. Serve immediately. These are also delicious as a sandwich inside a crusty roll or bun! Enjoy!
Adapted from: Dinner at the Zoo