This is meatloaf as meatloaf should be, juicy and bursting with flavor! And the kicker? A tangy, sweet sauce on the top! Perfect for dinner any night!
Meatloaf is a well-known dish, but I wouldn’t call it popular. Most people have probably eaten it at some point in their life. Some of your own encounters with meatloaf may have been quite enjoyable, and others may have not been memorable – or were even quite unpleasant. Meatloaf done right should be juicy, flavorful, and leave you wanting more. Bad meatloaf can be dry, dense, flavorless…. Well, you get the idea. But this meatloaf is JUICY and FLAVORFUL! And when my family leaves no leftovers, well, I’d say that’s a pretty good sign!!
Meatloaf has been around for a long time. The first recorded recipe for the modern American meatloaf is from the late 1870s, according to food historian Andrew Smith. But it probably existed before that, and was passed down from generation to generation as it often is today. My recipe is based off of the meatloaf my mom used to make. My recipe has evolved quite a bit over the years. That’s the great thing about cooking, it’s not a static process, but always changing and evolving. So don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! Try something new and mix it up, add a new spice or new ingredient! Have fun with the process! You might surprise yourself with the delicious outcome!
The first big change I made to this recipe, was deciding to use half ground pork instead of going with all ground beef. Our family was moving away from eating so much ground beef, and I found ground pork to be as lean or leaner, in some cases, than ground beef. It also gives a variety in flavors to mix the two different meats together. When I’m shopping for my meatloaf meat, I will buy a pound of ground beef and a pound of ground pork, and divide each package in half. So I have a half pound of each meat for the meatloaf and a half pound of each meat that I will freeze for the next time I make meatloaf.
Going with a leaner cut of meat can leave your meatloaf dry, which we do not want. So I add about a 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. This adds some of the fat back in, which helps to keep your meatloaf super juicy, as well as adding flavor. Any type of cheese will work. I typically use a Mexican 4 cheese blend, but you could use cheddar, pepperjack, American, or even gouda, (remember, get creative and try new things).
To make this meatloaf, you will need:
- 1/2 pound of ground pork and 1/2 pound of ground beef
- dry onion soup mix
- Italian bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- minced garlic
I start by stirring together the dry onion soup mix and the bread crumbs. I like to get them mixed together well before adding any wet ingredients. I then stir in the milk and let it sit for a couple of minutes so it can soak into the dry ingredients. I then stir in the egg, cheese, and garlic. The egg in this recipe is the binding agent that helps hold everything together, so don’t leave out the egg.
Now the fun part , wash your hands and get ready to hand-mix your meatloaf. My kids actually hate this part and think it’s gross…I thought they would love squishing raw meat between their fingers…go figure! A spoon or other utensil will not get the job done. You’ll want to get everything uniformly mixed together, and mixing with your hands is the best way to do it. Take your rings off first, as nobody wants raw meat squished into the nooks and crannies of their rings! Continue to hand mix the meatloaf until all the ingredients are fully incorporated into the meatloaf. Shape the meatloaf according to the pan you are using. You don’t want the meatloaf touching the side of the baking dish or loaf pan, and you don’t want to smash it down either, or you will end up with a dense meatloaf.
Finally mix all the sauce ingredients together and set aside; you will add the sauce during the baking process.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Remove the meatloaf and spread the sauce evenly over the top of the meatloaf. Return the meatloaf to the oven and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf reaches 160°.
Remove from the oven, and allow the meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and slicing. Enjoy!
- 1 package dry onion soup mix
- 1½ cups Italian bread crumbs
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup milk
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup shredded cheese, any cheese
- ½ pound ground beef
- ½ pound ground pork
- ¾ cup ketchup
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Prepare your loaf pan or other baking dish, by lining it with tinfoil, allowing it to come up over the edges, so you can lift out the meatloaf when it's done. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper (on top of the tinfoil), to prevent the meatloaf from sticking to the tinfoil. This step it optional, but does make it easier to serve the meatloaf.
- In a medium bowl, mix together onion soup mix, breadcrumbs, and salt. Add the egg and milk, and stir to combine. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the milk.
- Stir in the garlic and shredded cheese, mix well.
- Using your hands, mix the meat into the breadcrumb mixture until completely incorporated.
- Shape the meat loaf according to the dish you are using. Place the meatloaf into the dish, shaping it so it is not touching the sides of the dish. Do not press the meatloaf into the dish or you will end up with dense meatloaf.
- Mix all the sauce ingredients together and set aside; you will add the sauce during the baking process
- Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
- Remove the meatloaf, and spread the sauce evenly over the top of the meatloaf. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf reaches 160°.
- Remove from the oven, and allow the meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and slicing.