THIS HOMEMADE MEATLOAF IS PACKED FULL OF UMAMI FLAVOR, AND SERVED WITH AN AWESOME KETCHUP SAUCE
If you’re looking for the best meatloaf ever, look no further. OK, so that might be just my opinion, but it is pretty damn good. A while back, my mom gave me a recipe from some meatballs she made she thought turned out quite well. Well, I never made the meatballs, but took many of the same ingredients and made this meatloaf. Juicy, flavorful and delicious, this is literally the best meatloaf I have ever had. Baked with bacon and served with an amazing ketchup sauce, this is comfort food at its best.
While it may look as though there are a lot of ingredients, this meatloaf is actually quite easy to make. Once you have gathered your ingredients, it is just a matter of mixing them together to make the meatloaf. Super easy right? Well, lets take a look at the ingredients first.
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The half & half soaked bread works to keep the meatloaf moist, while the ricotta cheese will keep it tender and light. The saltines add a buttery, salty flavor and crunchy texture. Any time I cook something savory, especially beef dishes, I like to add a touch of soy sauce for that umami flavor. The Parmesan cheese adds to the umami flavor as well. And of course the bacon. Who can make a meatloaf without adding those delicious fatty, flavor-packed meat strips? I actually considered grinding the bacon and incorporating it into the meatloaf mixture, but laziness won out. So instead it gets layered on top, so the juices from the bacon can cook down into the meat as the meatloaf is baking. You should have a nice crisp layer of bacon when the meat is done.
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And then there is the ketchup sauce. Oh delicious ketchup….meatloaf’s savior. In all honesty, I think this meatloaf is wonderful served by itself, but who doesn’t want a little ketchup sauce in their life? I know I do. You’ve got a little ketchup, some brown sugar for added sweetness, mustard and a couple splashed of Tabasco. I know, I know, it sounds so simple. That’s the beauty of it…its so simple but so delicious and versatile too!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put bread slices in a bowl, cover with the half & half and set aside for a moment.
Place all remaining meatloaf ingredients in a bowl (except the bacon). Remove the middle from the half & half soaked bread pieces and combine with remaining meatloaf ingredients. I don’t like to use the crust because it doesn’t get as soft. But feel free to use it if you don’t want to waste it. Or just eat it. Kidding, that would be kind of gross. Just saying.
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Place the mixture in a greased bread pan. I use non-stick spray to grease the pan, but any oil/fat will work as well. Cover the meatloaf mixture with the slices of bacon (AKA, flavor-packed meat strips).
Cook in the oven for 1 hour and 5 minutes. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes to let juices redistribute. You’ll notice how it appears to have separated from the pan a bit. That is due to some shrinkage in the meat when the fat cooks off. If you use leaner ground beef, you’ll get less of this shrinkage (childish giggle). I use 93/7 ground beef in this recipe, which is the perfect amount of fat in my opinion.
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While the meatloaf is resting, combine the ingredients for the ketchup sauce in a saucepan. Heat to a simmer while stirring and remove from heat. Now that’s an easy ketchup sauce!
So now if you disagree that this is the best meatloaf ever, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. I’m open to constructive criticism. Sometimes. Well….we’ll see what happens.