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 not have 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. According to food historian Andrew Smith, the first recorded recipe for the modern American meatloaf is from the late 1870s. But it probably existed before that and was passed down from generation to generation as it often is today. My recipe is based on 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, mix it up, and 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 using half-ground pork and half-ground beef instead of 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. Mixing the two types of meats together also gives a greater variety of flavors. 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 keep your meatloaf super juicy, as well as adding flavor. Any cheese will work. I typically use a Mexican 4 cheese blend, but you could use cheddar, pepper jack, 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 well before adding any wet ingredients. I then stir in the milk and let it sit for a couple of minutes to 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 utensils will not get the job done. You’ll want to get everything uniformly mixed, 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 is optional but does make it easier to serve the meatloaf.
- In a medium bowl, mix 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 meatloaf 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 it from the pan and slicing.