Week 40

All-American Meatloaf

[taken from page 353 of “The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook”]

Notes: I was intrigued by this recipe, as I feel it is a staple of all family households. I was curious what steps the America’s Test Kitchen had taken to make it the best it could be.

1. I may need to start shopping elsewhere for my meat, as I was unable to find both the meatloaf mix that this recipe called for or the ground pork substitute. I was able to find ground beef . . . which was no surprise. Fortunately, I was able to make a substitution with Italian sausage, which is pretty much just ground pork anyways.
2. Saltines be damned! I still had some club crackers left from my previous saltine cracker needing recipe, so I decided to make the substitute. I think that in my mind I see club crackers adding a bit of a buttery flavor to the recipes, which is A-OK in my book.
3. This recipe is excellent for assistance from little boys, or at least I think it would be due to 1. One of the final steps requires you to put your hands in 2 pounds of meat, mixed with all the other gooey ingredients and 2. When you put the now mixed ingredients on the foil lined sheet and coat it in the ketchup mixture, the whole thing looks just like a brain fresh out of someone’s skull.

Brains . . .

4. I was surprised that you didn’t actually put this recipe into a loaf pan for baking. It is baked “free-form” which means that I had to mold the loaf shape by hand. Apparently it is one of the techniques needed to make it a better meatloaf.
5. I really should have been listening to “Bat Out of Hell” and “Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell” when making this recipe. Oh well. Hindsight and all that.

Final Analysis: I’m really starting to wonder if the thermometer I have is wrong or if I should just start using the suggested times in the cookbook, because once again I was told to put in the thermometer and wait for some amount of time, only to be informed minutes later that the thermometer has reached the desired temperature. At any rate, this was probably the most flavorful, moist and delicious meatloaf I have ever eaten. Usually I’ve got to add more ketchup once it is sliced, but this needs no additions. I do wonder if my Italian sausage substitution made it taste any different from its original intent. However, I may have to make that substitution from now on because I’m not going back to any old meatloaf recipe.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mom on October 12, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    You may have to ask the butcher to ground up pork for you. I don’t think you can just buy ground pork. But, I’m thinking the sausage gave it a nice flavor that you may want to stick with. I’ll have to try this recipe… haven’t made meat loaf in years.


    • OK, so I went by Publix today just to scout out if they had certain items (cranberries, ground pork). Turns out they -do- have ground pork. Might have to go there for my meats now. No luck on the cranberries yet.


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