I’ve told you before that I have a weird habit of watching shows on the Food Network while working out. The other day I was sweating my cookie-pie filled love handles off on the treadmill while watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. They were at some little hole-in-the-wall that was famous for their meatloaf sandwich. Not only have I never had (or had a desire to have) a meatloaf sandwich in my entire life, but I have only made meatloaf one time in the past 10 years. There’s something about the words meat and loaf that tells me they shouldn’t go together in the same sentence let alone the same dish. Strangely though, I couldn’t stop thinking about that dumb sandwich. Why did it look so good?? Why could I not stop thinking about something I was pretty sure I detested? We’ve actually had a lot of requests for meatloaf, and since I couldn’t get it out of my head, I started to poke around for a recipe. Oddly, that very same day Kate randomly texted me (not that texting on its own was random, we only text each other like 879 times a day…) and said she had made meatloaf that day and it was good. I think the universe was trying to tell us something! Maybe she’ll share her recipe too sometime.
I happened to stumble across a segment from The Early Show, where Chris Kimball of America’s Test Kitchen was making classic comfort food, featuring meatloaf. Meatloaf is a perfect example of a recipe that would benefit from endless testing of proportions, meat combinations, fillers, flavors, baking methods, etc. so I knew this would be a good one to trust (besides the fact that I trust just about everything from Chris Kimball!) You can check out this link to read all about the impacts of all of those things, it’s actually really interesting. Understanding the science and reasoning behind food and recipes will really help you become a better cook!
The result? I actually like meatloaf! Who knew? I guess I just needed a good recipe for it. This one actually has great flavor, and perhaps more importantly, a good texture. I have to say the sauce really did it for me. Okay, and maybe the fact that it’s wrapped in bacon. And you better believe I have a post about a meatloaf sandwich coming up 🙂
Let’s cook. Start by sauteing some onions and garlic and then set them aside.
Next is all of the wet ingredients, and the spices. A couple of eggs, worcestershire sauce, a little dijon mustard, a couple of douses of hot sauce, plain yogurt (adds tons of moisture), salt, pepper, and thyme.
All whisked up it looks like a yummy salad dressing and it actually smells really good too! PS, don’t put this on salad.
Into the same bowl goes the meat. They recommend 50% beef and 25% each of ground pork and veal. I used 50% beef and 50% pork because while I have no issues eating grown-up cows, pigs, and chickens, somehow I don’t want to eat baby ones. It’s just mean. Don’t judge. You’ll also add the onions and garlic you cooked up, fresh parsley and some crushed saltines. You can substitute fresh bread crumbs as well, but the saltines actually work great.
Mix ‘er all up.
And…shape it. Into a loaf. It’s meatloaf folks, don’t try to get creative. Place it on a foil-lined baking sheet, not in a loaf pan. One of the things they noted from the test kitchens was that putting it in a loaf pan caused it to just sit in it’s own juices and sort of boil instead of bake. You get a much better result when it’s baked free form.
Smear some of the sauce over it and then wrap it up in bacon. By the way, I love sentences that include the phrase “wrap it up in bacon.” There’s absolutely no way that can’t end well.
Pop that bad boy in the oven and bake for about an hour. The bacon gets crispy on top and your house smells fantastic.
Then you can take more of that glaze and brush it right on the top while it’s hot.Slice it up and serve with extra sauce (a must!) and mashed potatoes don’t hurt either. (If you’ve got a copy of our cook book, the recipes on page 178 for Loaded Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Garlic and Parmesan ones are fantastic!)
Try it. You just might like meat loaf!
Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Meat Loaf
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen
1/2 cup chili sauce (or substitute ketchup, but I liked chili sauce)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons cider vinegar (or white vinegar in a pinch)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , chopped medium
2 medium cloves garlic , minced
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or whole milk)
1 pound ground beef chuck
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal (I used more pork instead of veal)
2/3 cup Saltine crackers , crushed (about 18), or quick oatmeal, or 1 1/3 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
6 – 8 ounces bacon , thin sliced (8 to 12 slices, depending on loaf shape)
1. For the glaze: Mix all ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened and set aside.
2. For the meat loaf: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in medium skillet. Add onion and garlic; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool while preparing remaining ingredients.
3. Mix eggs with thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce, and milk or yogurt. Add egg mixture to meat in large bowl along with crackers, parsley, and cooked onion and garlic; mix with fork until evenly blended and meat mixture does not stick to bowl. (If mixture sticks, add additional milk or yogurt, a couple tablespoons at a time until mix no longer sticks.)
4. Turn meat mixture onto work surface. With wet hands, pat mixture into approximately 9-by-5-inch loaf shape. Place on foil-lined (for easy cleanup) shallow baking pan. Brush with half the glaze, then arrange bacon slices, crosswise, over loaf, overlapping slightly and tucking only bacon tip ends under loaf.
5. Bake loaf until bacon is crisp and loaf registers 160 degrees, about 1 hour. Cool 10-15 minutes. While meal loaf is cooling, re-heat remaining sauce and brush some over meat loaf if desired. Slice meat loaf and serve with extra glaze passed separately.
I too have avoided meat loaf my entire adult life so far. This is tempting me into giving it a try, though. 🙂
i wonder how these would do cooked in muffin tins w/the bacon on top? i usually make meatloaf called “diner muffin meatloaf cups” (big family) I might just have to try this!! woohoo
I use pretty much the same recipe from Cook’s Country (which is published by the folks at Cooks Illustrated), and wanted to let everyone know that this freezes BEAUTIFULLY (it was pitched as “freezer meatloaf” in the magazine). Well…the recipe I have doesn’t use bacon (and it’s still awesome BTW), but I would think you could freeze it with the bacon right on there. I make the standard 2 lbs of meat recipe and only cook half per the instructions above (there’s only 3 of us). Slap the rest of it in a loaf pan, freeze it WITHOUT covering it for the first hour, then wrap it up with some foil. When you want to cook the second half, plop it out of the pan onto a cookie sheet and bake. I think it takes about 50 minutes at 375 (the smaller loaf/frozenness must cancel out). Then take it out of the oven, put the glaze on and cook for another 10 minutes. I love it because I only have to get my hands squishy once for two great meals. Also (I know this comment is long), I use whole wheat crackers and can’t tell the difference.
Great tips- thanks!
I am always wondering about freezing. Thanks for the tip!!
Oh wow! My husband will LOVE this. Thanks for sharing. And making meatloaf sound half way tasty. 😉
Meatloaf is one of my favorite entrees! I will have to try this! 🙂
This is totally for dinner.
I don’t eat baby animals either. It is mean. 🙂
I tried the Bananas Foster Bread Pudding last night(delicious) and it looks like tonight its the meatloaf! Thanks for the tip about the ‘loaf pan’…I always thought it looked putrid coming out of the oven boiling in the fat:)
I actually have all these ingredients in my freezer/pantry!! I know what’s for dinner tonight! Thanks
Holy heck this sounds heavenly! But, anything embraced by bacon’s fatty layers-o-love has got to be good eats. No more meatloaf with cheese cubes and ketchup for me!! Love your site!!
We have pork allergies, so is there another meat i could substitute without losing the flavor?
Yep- just see the note in the recipe about using all beef. It’s noted after the ingredients 🙂
This is the only way that my mom, and now I make Meatloaf! Bacon and the glaze were the only reason I would eat it growing up. The recipe is basically the same as my mom has made it for the past 40 years! So tasty with the bacon and the meatloaf sandwiches are divine with a little dijon mustard!
Any guesses as to serving size? I’m trying to decide if I need to double this or not for 5 adults and a 6 little ones.
Joy, it’s a full 2 pounds of meat- and it makes a 9×5 inch loaf. So if you’re “little” ones really are little and won’t be eating tons, then I’d say one batch would probably be okay. If you’ve got some big eaters in there then you may want more.
This looks like a great recipe…I will have to try it.
Growing up, Meatloaf was a regular meal in our house. And so, of course, meatloaf sandwiches were a regular too. Strangely I LOVED helping my mom make meatloaf b/c I got the (now disgusting) job of squishing the eggs and meat together…I just loved it as a kid!
Fast forward to me living with my husband and starting to cook on my own…the idea of a LOAF OF MEAT just disgusted me! I never wanted to make it, but then I saw a recipe from Paula Deen and her sons for mini, individual meat loafs made in muffin tins with a similar sauce to yours. For some reason, the idea of a muffin of meat sounded more appetizing. I’ve made it a few times, and really like it. It is very similar to your recipe and I agree that the sauce on top (instead of the ketchup my mom used to squirt on it) really makes it!
Here’s the paula deen recipe…
My hubby hates meatloaf too. I’m pretty sure it a, “on principle” thing, like the words meat+loaf not working. That and his mom is not a great cook. I may have to try this one and see if I can win him over. Because the rest of us all like it! And with the bacon he’d have to at least try it, to not would be sin in his mind. 😉
Your meatloaf looks delicious! I must admit, my meatloaf recipe is the only one I’ve ever liked, but your’s looks like it comes close. I’ll have to give this one a try. I KNOW my husband will like the bacon for sure. 🙂
Loved your story about meatloaf because I had a similar experience. I have never liked meatloaf or the thought of a big hunk of meat in a loaf. Scott however loves meatloaf. When we had our delis we had a meatloaf sandwich with bbq sauce and all the fixings. Learned to love meatloaf. I think for me it is all about the fixings and getting past a big piece of meat. I still don’t enjoy double meat patty hamburger. Not even at in-n-out.
I HATE meat loaf. HATE HATE HATE it. Mostly because I can’t stand ketchup. But, this recipe looks realllllllly good, and I didn’t see any ketchup on the ingredient list. So, I think we are going to give this a try. Plus you’re right, how can something wrapped in bacon NOT be good?? lol
Best meat loaf ever…have been making it since the recipe was first published, years ago, in Cook’s Illustrated magazine. We love the bacon, but in a pinch, it can be made without and it is still very yummy!
I had to laugh at this post, then read it out loud to my husband. I share the same thoughts and feelings about meatloaf as you described here! Especially the meat+loaf being in the same sentence part! I love your humor, it always puts a smile on my face and makes me happy that someone else can relate to me and the thoughts that go through my head sometimes. 🙂
I will for sure be trying this recipe even though I hate meatloaf. This one looks pretty darn good! I don’t like lemon desserts either, but made ya’lls lemon cupcakes and they were divine, so why not meatloaf too? 🙂
I love your recipes, thanks for sharing with all of us!
Tried this last night (I bought the ingredients almost a week ago!!) Good heck this was GOOOOOOOOD stuff!!!! Really!! I can’t wait to have it again. Had my parents over for dinner and they loved it too. Even my 2 year old ate some! YUMMMY! Thanks for making me a convert to meatloaf (as long as it is THIS recipe), although I still don’t like the word “meatloaf”. I think we will refer to this as “Glazed bacon-wrapped Beef”. 🙂
I didn’t a bacon wrapped meat loaf recently too. Sooooo good!
Ok…ground pork…same as pork sausage, or no?
Nope- just regular, unflavored ground pork. Sausage is full of seasonings and other stuff. If you can’t find regular ground pork, just ask the person at the meat counter.
Me again! I have a question… the recipe says to “mix all the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan”. Do you heat it up? Boil? Help! Thanks!
That’s exactly how they wrote the recipe- you’ll see at the end it says to simmer it before serving so it thickens a little bit. I simmered mine at the very beginning and just reheated it at the end, but it doesn’t matter, either way 🙂 Actually, I’ll re-word the instructions to make that more clear.
Mmmm…looks fantastic!!! I think this meatloaf has a place in my future!!!
Okay funny story. Just a couple of days ago I made meatloaf for dinner. I went straight to your cookbook then blog in search of a recipe. But alas, nada. So I modified the Pioneer Woman’s recipe with whatever we had in the house. We live with my aunt and uncle, who dont live super close to a grocery store and I had already been out of the house that day haha. So I made the meatloaf and it was good. When we ate dinner the first thing my uncle asked was if I got the recipe from your cookbook. Lol. This one sounds even better than the one I made – why didn’t I think to use worcestershire sauce?? So I’ll be trying this soon. 🙂
Now when you say chili sauce do you mean the Asian chili sauce?
Adrienne- no, NOT Asian chili sauce. Chili sauce is similar to ketchup, but with a little more flavor. You find it in smaller bottles, right near the ketchup in the grocery store.
This sounds fabulous! I’ll have to try it. I put my meatloaf on a broiler pan with the bottom wrapped in foil so that the atery clogging junk runs down and clean up is pretty easy.
OHmygoodness! We love meatloaf around here, but I’ve never had great success with it ~ I wonder if the loaf pan was maybe the problem all along! Must test that out…
…while trying out your amazing-looking and sounding recipe! Man, my mouth is watering already!!
Okay, you evil woman! Bacon? Really? 🙂 I’ve always used the same recipe I had growing up (minus the sauce). This one might just replace it! I love the idea of NOT putting it in a loaf pan. And, yes, you CAN get creative! I shape my meatloaf into smaller “mounds”. It cooks faster that way, and it’s more fun for the kids to each have their own!
How long do you cook the mounds? Is it less time?
Oh man that looks good….I will be giving this recipe a try.
This was so great, who doesn’t love meat, wrapped in more meat?! Great job on this one babe!