Meatloaf is disgusting.

Well, I thought so, for 32 years. I think I changed my mind this week.

The other day, I pulled some ground beef out of the freezer, and basically came upon the same conclusions I always do when I pull ground beef out of the freezer. Chili, hamburgers or tacos? I’m sick of those three options. I considered salisbury steak or some sort of oven bake, but then I ended up researching meatloaf. Something I never thought I would do.

My memories of meatloaf, growing up, are not good. It’s not that my mom didn’t know how to cook it — my dad loves her meatloaf. I just didn’t like what she put in it. I can vividly remember coming home from school, asking what we were having for dinner and hearing the dreaded word, “meatloaf.” It ruined my day, and I would sit at the table and pout. It was the ONLY thing my mother cooked that I didn’t like. “Why can’t she just make me a dang hot dog?” What a brat I was.

Low and behold, I am older now, and I can put whatever I freakin’ want in my meatloaf. So I did. And it was delicious!

Adapted from Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” Meatloaf

What you will need:

For the meatloaf
6 ounces garlic flavored croutons*
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dry thyme
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
1 1/2 lbs. ground sirloin
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 egg

*Tip: The packages come in 5-ounce sizes. I bought two packages, and will just use the rest in salads. I bet you could get away with using just one package in this recipe if you don’t want to buy two packages.

For the glaze
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. your favorite hot sauce
1 T. honey

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. In the food processor, add the croutons, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder and thyme. Pulse until the mixture is fine. Dump into a large bowl and set aside.
3. In the food processor, now add onion pieces, carrot pieces and garlic. Pulse until very fine. If you don’t mind bigger chunks of onions in your meatloaf, you can pulse for a shorter time. Mine was almost pureed because I prefer no chunks.
4. Now is the fun part. If you have a big counter top, I recommend just making a mess rather than trying to use a bowl as your workspace. Combine the meat, vegetable mixture, crumb mixture with your (washed) hands. Don’t squish the meat. Just combine. It’s okay if it’s not fully incorporated. It just needs to be mixed together.
5. Add the kosher salt to the mixture. Make a little dent in the middle of the mixture, and crack the egg into it. Fold the egg into the mixture, again, DO NOT SQUISH THE MEAT. Just combine delicately to incorporate the egg throughout.
6. Line a roasting pan (with raised edges) with parchment paper.
7. Put the meat mixture into a 10-inch loaf pan to mold into the shape of the pan. Turn it over onto the paper-lined roasting pan. You’re gonna cook it like that. Go ahead and put that pan in your dishwasher. You’re done with it. It was merely a mold.
8. Insert a thermometer into the loaf at a 45 degree angle so the end of the thermometer is in the middle of the loaf (and not hitting the bottom of the baking sheet). Put that baby in the oven.
9. Make the glaze. Just mix all those ingredients together with a spatula. After 10-15 minutes of baking, pull out the tray and glaze the entire loaf with a basting brush. All sides, all over, don’t be afraid to lather. Do it as quickly as possible so the oven heat doesn’t escape.
10. Bake until the thermometer reaches 155 degrees, which is a while (over an hour in my case), but worth it.
11. Take it out, let it sit on the pan for about 10-15 minutes to allow the juices to incorporate throughout the loaf. Slice, and enjoy with some mashed taters.

Other Preparation Ideas

In the vegetable mixture you could add:

  • half of a red pepper
  • half of a green pepper
  • stalk of celery
  • any vegetable you want, really

Comment below!