Tag Archives: Meatloaf

Cooking: Not Every Experiment Works…

At least not completely. 🙂 Sometimes, however, you’re left short of normal ingredients and have to improvise. The whole premise of the Food Network program “Chopped” is about being able to wing it like that via combining a basket of mystery ingredients into a meal. Sometimes winging it works, sometimes… well… not so much.

Such is the case with a recent meal I put together. We decided on my world famous meatloaf for that night; simple and hearty. Well, as it turned out, the meatballs I was going to mix in with the hamburger had gone bad. Not wanting to run out to the store again, I found some linguica in the cold drawer of the fridge.

Oddly enough, the brand we buy down here.

Linguica is a Portuguese sausage that’s good in a wide variety of dishes. Most notably (although I’ve only seen it on the West Coast), it’s one of the world’s greatest pizza toppings. Try it that way if you can find it in your area. You’ll love it.

So, determined to try something a little different and keep the meal on course, I diced up the linguica and mixed it into the meatloaf

Baked it as usual, since the weather didn’t allow for smoking it on the grill. On the surface, it turned out fairly well:

After coming out of the bread pan

The one drawback however, was that linguica can be as greasy as chorizo… almost anyway. Thus despite having both bread crumbs and egg as binding agents, the meatloaf didn’t hold together too well.

The meatloaf did have enough grease to leave us both with mildly upset stomachs though. Not a horrible dinner, but not the success I’d have wished for either. The flavor of the linguica really did add to the meatloaf though.

What I’d Change:

So what lessons can we take from this? The first and obvious answer is to use a less greasy sausage if you want to use sausage as a second meat in your meatloaf. The other option that came to mind us to use something like this meatloaf pan from Bed Bath and Beyond:

You can get something like this almost anywhere with a little searching. The interior rack allows grease to drain off the meatloaf (which would have been a big help in this specific instance), and allows you to easily remove the meatloaf from the pan.

Worth the investment? I guess that depends how often you make meatloaf. It’s a bit of a rarity here, but still something we enjoy on occasion.

Homemade Meatloaf

I’m a day late posting it too, but I’ve been in a mood lately. None the less, here’s the homemade meatloaf that I cooked on the smoker last night. 😊

OK, a little greasy in that fresh off the smoker picture, and I used a pizza tray as opposed to a bread pan so that more smoke would permeate the meat. Here’s the plated final result:

The bread items were lunch leftovers brought home by my other half, so that saved me a little cooking, LOL. The red around the outer edge of the meat is not ketchup either; that’s the actual smoke flavor penetrating the meat.

That shot shows the smoke ring, such as it was, and how moist the meatloaf was. Unfortunately I forgot and put the A1 sauce on the surface early, and that kept the smoke from penetrating deeper.

THE RECIPE:

First, credit where it’s due; my recipe is a modified version of “Not Your Momma’s Meatloaf” from the Traeger Grills website. Traeger actually has some fairly good recipes, BUT they don’t know how to use their own (junk) grills low and slow. Everything at least used to be 350 degrees. Might as well use an oven at that temperature. You won’t get any smoke flavor.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 Lb of Ground Beef – not more than 20% fat content to avoid excessive grease

1 Lb of sausage of your choice, or another meat like pork or veal. I used Italian sausage last night.

2 Eggs, beaten

1 Cup of bread crumbs.

1 Cup of milk

1/4 Cup of diced Onion, ideally a mild variety.

2 Teaspoons of Salt

1 Teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 Teaspoon of Sage

1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce

A-1 Steak Sauce or BBQ Sauce to be added later

Prep Work:

Prep on this is pretty easy. First, mix together everything except the meats and the BBQ or A1 sauce in a bowl. After it’s all blended together nicely, add in the meat and thoroughly work everything together. Typically, this is hand work, but I’ve found my Kitchenaid stand mixer works fine and keeps my hands neater. Just allow a little extra time vs hand mixing.

At this point, I add the meatloaf to a bread pan to give it some shape. If you’re preparing this early, you can cover the pan and put it in the fridge at this point. It’ll maintain a better shape during cooking as an added bonus.

Prep is very quick if you’re organized and the meat is fresh or defrosted. It should only take about 15 minutes.

Cooking:

There are a couple of options here. First is to just put it in an oven at 350 degrees and cook it for about an hour. If you go this route, just put the steak sauce or BBQ sauce on the top before it goes in the oven.

Side Note: Steak or BBQ sauce gives the meatloaf a more robust flavor than Ketchup in my opinion.

Now, if you have a smoker of either sort (stick burner or pellet grill), get it to about 200 degrees F and put the meatloaf on a wire rack or a ventilated pizza tray like I used. It’ll take a little over 2 hours to cook this way, but the meatloaf will be even moister and have that delicious wood fire flavor. When you’re about 20 minutes till finish, baste on the steak sauce or BBQ sauce, and turn up the heat to 350 or so. That will put a nice reverse sear on the meat, and make sure that sauce is baked on.

Putting the sauce on sooner will block the smoke penetration, which is why you wait if slow cooking.

Pull the meatloaf off the heat when it hits an internal temperature of about 140 F, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve.

The leftovers will make fabulous sandwiches also.