Meatloaf is THE G.O.A.T. of comfort foods. This meatloaf recipe produces the most tender, juicy meatloaf enhanced with the smokiness from the bacon and sweetened with a tangy sauce carmelized to perfection across the top.
You know you have a heavenly slice of meatloaf when your fork easily cuts into the piece, yet it holds together well enough to carry your favorite bite of mashed potatoes to the party of deliciousness. The savoriness of the meatloaf is just offset nicely by the tangy sauce that glistens across the bacon on top.
Many people have “their” take on meatloaf. They add veggies like mushrooms or green pepper, sprinkle lipton soup mix in or I have even seen chow mein noodles used by my mother in-law. While they are have their place I suppose, there is nothing like the classic meatloaf recipe in my opinion to make memories.
This meatloaf recipe is old school delicious using lean meat, saltine crackers, milk, eggs, some rubbed sage and getting your hands in the process to produce the best final product. This recipe has stood the test of time for sure. Straight out of the family cookbook called “Recipe From The Heart” from Dawn Graney, a gal I never met but definitely giving her props here for sure. Proving once again that keeping things simple, and straight forward is just damn delicious.
MEATLOAF RECIPE INGREDIENTS
- Eggs, lightly beaten
- Finely crushed saltines
- Chopped onion
- Rubbed sage
- Dash of pepper
- Lean ground beef, grass fed – organic (90% lean)
- Brown sugar
- Center Cut Bacon
HOW TO MAKE MEATLOAF
My favorite recipes are the ones that do not take pages to share. So here is the Old School Delicious Meatloaf Recipe as simple as it gets.
Get the oven ready by preheating it to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine the cracker and the milk and let it soak for about 5 minutes. Then add the ground beef, eggs, onion, salt, sage and pepper and dig in with your hand and mix well. Do not overwork the meat though or you will end up with a dense meatloaf!
Shape the meatloaf into an ungreased, parchment lined 8×4 loaf pan.
In a small bowl combine the Ketchup, brown sugar and Worcestershire stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. Set 1/2 cup aside for later. Generously, brush the sauce on top of the meatloaf.
Take bacon and render some of the fat out of the bacon by cooking it in the microwave for about 4 minutes. You do not want the bacon fully cooked, but you do want to be sure that the bacon becomes crispy while it bakes in the oven.
With the bacon rendered, create a weave pattern on top of the meatloaf by going over, under, and over until the top of the meatloaf is completely covered in bacon. I have found 8 slices usually works perfect. I may cut a piece or two to fill in where needed.
Top the meatloaf with the additional sauce and bake the meatloaf for 65 minutes, and the top of the meatloaf will be perfect! Meat should temp to 160 degrees.
Let it stand 10 minutes before you slice it to be sure it holds shape.
Serve with the remaining sauce.
HOW LONG TO COOK MEATLOAF
At 350 degree Fahrenheit, you are going to want to cook this meatloaf for 60-65 minutes depending on your oven. The most important thing to note is that you want the meatloaf to temp to 160 degrees.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH MEATLOAF
As I mentioned earlier, there is only one thing to serve with this meatloaf or any other in my opinion, mash potatoes’ . If you want to serve The Best Mashed Potatoes in the world, then check out my fool proof recipe! Don’t forget to use the remainder of the sauce to serve over the meatloaf slices YUM!!
That being said, if you think you need another item on the plate, corn or green bean adds a pretty color to the dish as a whole.
MEATLOAF RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- The biggest thing is to keep from over working the meat and creating a dense tough meatloaf. Mix until well combined and then QUIT.
- Preserve the shape of your meatloaf by taking the time to line your loaf pan with some parchment paper. Leave the edges of the paper hanging over the sides so you can left out the meatloaf easier.
- Be sure that you rest the meatloaf for at least 10 minutes before you slice the meatloaf or your meatloaf will fall apart. Do not make the mistake of skipping this step in your excitement to eat! Be patient for the best results!
STORAGE & REHEATING TIPS
If your lucky to have any of the meatloaf left, you can store this in a covered container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
If you know you won’t eat the meatloaf leftovers in that time frame, you can freeze the meatloaf, in a heavy duty freezer bags, wrap tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil or freezer wrap. Make sure you eat it within 3 months though.
To reheat the meatloaf, make sure it is fully defrosted. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the meatloaf to a baking dish and to help the meatloaf moist, I like to add a few tablespoons of water. Bake the meatloaf for 20 minutes or so until warm throughout, 25 minutes or so. Just enough time to whip up some fresh mash potatoes!
If you are looking for other comfort meal options take a look at the recipe for Healthy Chipotle Chile With Sweet Potato, Best Chicken Parmesan, Tomato Soup With Grilled Cheese or Authentic Lasagna. All of these options are fantastic too!
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