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All-American Meatloaf Recipe

All-American Meatloaf Recipe

All-American Meatloaf Recipe
By Petr Jilek/shutterstock

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Meatloaf holds a special place in the pantheon of American comfort foods. This iconic dish, celebrated for its hearty flavor and satisfying texture, has been a staple in American households for generations. Its roots can be traced back to various culinary traditions, but it has become distinctly American with its unique blend of ingredients and methods.

A Brief History of Meatloaf

The concept of ground meat mixed with other ingredients and cooked as a loaf dates back to ancient Rome. However, meatloaf as we know it today gained popularity in the United States in the late 19th century. It became particularly widespread during the Great Depression and World War II, when stretching meat with fillers like breadcrumbs and vegetables helped families make the most of limited resources.

The Appeal of Meatloaf

What makes meatloaf so beloved is its versatility and the comfort it provides. It can be served hot as a main dish with a variety of sides or cold in sandwiches. Its preparation can be customized with different types of meat, seasonings, and glazes, making it adaptable to individual tastes and dietary needs.

The Ultimate All-American Meatloaf Recipe

Ingredients

For the meatloaf:

  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef (80% lean)
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano

For the glaze:

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
meatloaf
meatloaf – Image from Pixabay

Instructions

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly grease a loaf pan or line it with parchment paper for easier cleanup.
  2. Prepare the Meat Mixture: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef and ground pork. Add the breadcrumbs and milk, mixing gently until combined. Let this mixture sit for a few minutes so the breadcrumbs can absorb the milk.
  3. Sauté the Vegetables: In a small skillet over medium heat, sauté the chopped onion and minced garlic until they become soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before adding to the meat mixture.
  4. Mix the Meatloaf Ingredients: To the meat mixture, add the sautéed onions and garlic, eggs, ¼ cup ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano. Mix gently with your hands until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Be careful not to overmix, as this can make the meatloaf tough.
  5. Shape the Loaf: Transfer the meat mixture to the prepared loaf pan, pressing it down gently to ensure it holds together. If you prefer a free-form loaf, shape it by hand and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Prepare the Glaze: In a small bowl, mix together the ½ cup ketchup, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar. Spread half of the glaze evenly over the top of the meatloaf.
  7. Bake the Meatloaf: Place the meatloaf in the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread the remaining glaze over the top. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (70°C).
  8. Rest and Serve: Allow the meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. This helps retain its juices and makes for cleaner slices. Serve with mashed potatoes, green beans, or your favorite sides.

Tips for the Perfect Meatloaf

  1. Do Not Overmix: Overmixing the meat can result in a dense, tough meatloaf. Mix until just combined for the best texture.
  2. Use a Meat Thermometer: To ensure your meatloaf is cooked through without being overdone, use a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 160°F.
  3. Let It Rest: Allowing the meatloaf to rest before slicing helps the juices redistribute, making for a more moist and flavorful dish.

Conclusion

The All-American Meatloaf is a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of home cooks. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its comforting nature and adaptability. Whether you’re making it for a weeknight dinner or a special family gathering, this classic meatloaf recipe is sure to please. Enjoy this hearty dish that brings a touch of nostalgia and a lot of flavor to the table.

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