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This homemade meatloaf is packed full of umami flavor (yes, I said umami meatloaf) and served with the most delicious ketchup based 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.
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.
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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!
Slice the meatloaf and serve with the ketchup sauce. Great served with mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, or just some buttered white rice. Now tell me this isn’t the best meatloaf you’ve ever had!
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.
So leave me a comment below! Let me know what you think 🙂
Homemade Meatloaf Recipe
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 medium onion minced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 10 saltines finely crushed
- 2 pieces day old bread
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup half & half
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 slices bacon minced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Put bread slices in a bowl and cover with the half & half.
- Place all remaining meatloaf ingredients in a bowl.
- Remove the middle from the half & half soaked bread pieces and combine with remaining meatloaf ingredients.
- Mix all ingredients (being careful not to over mix) and place in a greased bread pan. *I use non-stick spray to grease the pan.
- Brush half the ketchup glaze over the top of the meatloaf.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking to allow the edges to brown.
- Remove and let rest for 10 minutes to let juices redistribute.
- Slice the meatloaf and serve with the reserved ketchup glaze.
- Add the ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and Tabasco sauce to a small saucepan.
- Heat over medium-low heat and stir until it starts to simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Using a lean ground beef will have the best results. Try to use at least a 90/10 mix, but use a 93/7 if you can find it.
- Mince all your ingredients so they are easier to incorporate into the beef mixture (this include the bacon).
- Don't over-mix the meatloaf as it can become tough. Mix it just enough to incorporate all the ingredients, then leave it alone!
- If you don't have a loaf pan, you can form it into a rectangle and place it directly on a baking sheet.
- Let the meatloaf rest before slicing it. This allows the juices to redistribute and prevent the meatloaf from crumbling.