slicing, you'll want to let the baked meatloaf rest in
its fat and juices for 10 minutes. Then you'll have
the juiciest meatloaf ever.
you believe itís been four decades since "The Rocky
Horror Picture Show"? I spent the better part of my
Time Warp-ed college years dancing "just a jump to the
left." My real favorite song, though, was "Hot
Patootie ó Bless My Soul." Thatís the one that
unleashed upon the living that remarkable singer, Meat Loaf.
pretty sure that Meat Loaf the chanteur was preceded by
meatloaf the dish, but who can deny eitherís profound
impact on American culture?
YOU NEED TO LEARN THIS
may not be crazy about Meat Loaf, but, if you canít make a
good meatloaf, I question your commitment to American
STEPS YOU TAKE
more than 10 years Iíve been writing "Prep
School" (Yipes!!!), this could easily be the shortest
Combine all your ingredients.
Bake until done.
course, Iím way too chatty to leave it at that, so letís
start with the ingredients.
probably saw that coming, didnít you, O ye wily Prep
but what kind of meat? Well, what do you like, because you
can make meatloaf out of just about anything thatís not
extinct. Beef, veal, lamb, pork, turkey, mastodon. Wait a
of the meat or combination of meats, you want your meatloaf
to have the following two qualities: You want it to be
moist, and you want it to be flavorful. Fortunately, both
are easy to achieve.
ensure a moist meatloaf, you need two things: fatty meat and
an added starch. Lean meats, like ground turkey or 90
percent ground beef, can seem dry. Thus, I recommend either
a fattier beef (like ground chuck) or adding some ground
pork or minced bacon.
also need a starch, like breadcrumbs, uncooked oatmeal or
what the French call a panade, a mix of torn-up bread and
milk. You add starch because the more you cook meat, the
more juice is squeezed out of it as the protein nets
tighten. If your meatloaf were made out of meat alone, that
juice would flow out of the meatloaf into the bottom of the
pan, leaving it as dry as a Bob Newhart routine. The starch
actually absorbs the juices, keeping your meatloaf moist.
using dried breadcrumbs or oatmeal, use about a third of a
cup per pound of meat with an equal to slightly less amount
of milk. If youíre using torn bread slices, use about a
cup, soaked in a third of a cup of milk, per pound of meat.
for the other ingredients.
definitely need egg, roughly 1 per pound of meat. The egg
helps hold the whole thing together, making it easier to
slice without crumbling like the hopes of a tone-deaf
"American Idol" contestant.
your flavoring ingredients. Aromatic vegetables like onion,
carrot, green pepper or garlic are lovely. Different chefs
advocate variously for adding the ingredients raw or briefly
sauteed. Raw is easier, although a brief sweating in oil or
butter will bring added moisture to your meatloaf.
liquid ingredients like Worcestershire or soy sauce, ketchup
or barbecue sauce, add flavor along with moisture. The first
two, being more concentrated, would be added in smaller
amounts ó a tablespoon per pound of meat ó than the
latter two, which could be added at maybe half a cup per
ingredients include herbs, spices, various cheeses, rice,
mashed potatoes ó you name it. Remember, itís your
matter how you flavor you meatloaf, be sure to add enough
salt. Salt brings out all those flavors. Without it, your
meatloaf will be as sad and tasteless as a clown funeral.
Add about a teaspoon for every pound of meatloaf, a teaspoon
and a half if youíre using kosher.
you can mix all your ingredients in a bowl just long enough
to bring it together into a homogenous mass. (If this is for
a dinner party, by the way, try to avoid the phrase
"homogenous mass." Just sayiní.)
baking, cook a tablespoon of the mixture in a little fat in
a hot skillet. If you need to adjust any seasonings, do it
now and fry another spoonful. When it tastes good to you,
mold the mixture on a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet,
or press it into a loaf pan (9-by-5 inches), and bake in a
400-degree oven until itís 165 degrees in the center,
about an hour. Then, let it rest in its fat for about 10
minutes or so to allow any liquid to soak back. Thatíll
give you the juiciest, most flavorful meatloaf this side of
and donít forget the leftovers: meatloaf sandwiches. Yum.
are a few ideas for improving your basic meatloaf:
style: Half and half lamb and beef mixed with egg,
breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons dried oregano and 4 ounces crumbled
style: Half and half pork and turkey or chicken, egg,
breadcrumbs, 1 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon
each minced garlic and ginger, 2 tablespoons minced
cilantro, optional tablespoon bottled Thai curry paste.
style: Beef or half and half beef and pork, egg, crushed
tortillas (in place of breadcrumbs), 1 1/2 cups fresh or
canned corn, cumin, chile powder, cilantro, optional minced