There are certain strict rules to making a successful meatloaf.
Meatloaf is like a casserole. You throw in a little of this, a smidge of that and bake it.
But I do have some general guidelines that, for me, make a great loaf. My top ten tips are:
1. Use a half and half mixture of ground chuck and ground pork. I do not understand meatloaf recipes that call for 90 percent lean ground beef. Yuck. Fat is flavor. Bring the fat at all times.
2. Add some kind of milk and bread/saltine slurry. It helps lighten up the loaf and moisten it.
3. For every pound of meat add a teaspoon of salt and a beaten egg.
4. Saute your vegetables (peppers, onions, mushrooms), be sure to season them with salt as well and then let them cool completely before adding them to the meat mixture.
5. Go easy on the tomato sauce in the meat mixture. Too much tomato taste has ruined many a meatloaf.
6. Form the loaf into a very shallow oblong shape on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. This is vital so that the sauce on the top gets maximum coverage. The sauce can be as simple as ketchup. But I like tomato sauce, brown sugar and a little apple cider vinegar mixed in a small saucepan over low heat. Use half on the loaf and save half.
7. When the meatloaf is done, add the rest of the sauce and broil it for a couple minutes to kind of caramelize it.
8. Pick your side starch carefully. Meatloaf requires either some kind of potato or macaroni and cheese. Meatloaf is not friends with rice or pasta so don’t even think about introducing them.
9. The best and highest use of meatloaf is the meatloaf sandwich. The only way to construct this sandwich is with soft sandwich bread, Duke’s mayo and iceberg lettuce. Please salt and pepper your meatloaf slice before placing it on the bread. Please.
10. Your husband will try to liberate more of the cold meatloaf than his fair share. If you hide it in the vegetable bin for your refrigerator he’ll never, ever find it.