Friday, October 30, 2009


This is essentially a combination of Mark Bittman's meatloaf recipe and Alton Brown's, but I ended up tweaking it so extensively that I feel comfortable claiming it as my own and bothering to blog about it. It's very simple, in two parts: the loaf, and the glaze.

The Loaf
  • 2 lbs ground chuck, 80% lean
  • 6 oz pork belly, de-boned and ground in the food processor (this part came up because my butcher had no ground pork or veal, which the aforementioned recipes both call for
  • 1 medium onion, minced finely
  • 1 carrot, peeled and minced
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard (I used Coleman's) don't click that, obnoxious Flash intro
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal, soaked briefly in 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
Mix this all up in a large mixing bowl -- but not too much mixing, as that will compress the meat and it will end up dry and dense. Believe me, if you follow my directions, that will be the least of your worries. Use a largish spatula and use a folding motion. Get everything well integrated, but don't go overboard.

In the bowl, use your (washed) hands to form the loaf into -- well, a loaf. I made mine rectangular, sort of like it had been in a bread pan. Plop this into a baking dish, or cast iron pan, and put in the oven at 350 or so. Cook for about 20 minutes, and then add:

The Glaze
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of your hottest hot sauce
Combine the above in a small ramekin and microwave for about 30 seconds. It sort of takes the bite out of the garlic. Probably an unnecessary step.

Once the meatloaf has been in for about 20 minutes, take it out and cover with the glaze using a brush (if you're fancy) or a spatula (if you're like me). Put the dish back in the oven.

Here's where it gets really unscientific for me, because my oven's temp is so undependable, and because it is so slow to rebound from having the door opened. Cook until it starts smelling good, about another 30-40 minutes, and then test with an instant-read thermometer; you're looking for it to be close to 160, your target temperature.

Once it's close, turn on the broiler. This will create a nice crunchy, meaty, sweet crust out of the glaze that you created. Wait no longer than five minutes, and remove. Serve with potatoes of your preferred preparation, rice, and whatever veggie strikes your fancy. This goes very well over rice with some pan drippings on top, and cornichon on the side as Sylvia discovered.

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