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Cooking with Meat Loaf

Except for its shape, meat loaf is similar to meatballs in every way. It's usually a blend of ground meat, eggs, bread crumbs, onions, and seasonings. To make tender, moist, and juicy meatloaf, use a blend of beef, pork and veal. Using ground beef alone makes a dry, bland meat loaf. This mixture is often available in supermarkets, sold as meat loaf mixture. Make sure the beef isn't too lean; it should be at least 15 percent fat. Also, mix the ingredients with your hands until just combined. Avoid overhandling.

To make meat loaf with a greater portion of browned crust, shape the meat directly on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet rather than patting it into a loaf pan. Meatloaf can be cooked faster if we skip the loaf pan and form meat loaf on a parchment-lined roasting pan, making the loaf as long and narrow as possible, which allows heat to penetrate into the center of the loaf faster.

When adding flavor to meatloaf, replace the tomato sauce in your favorite meat loaf recipe with bottled barbecue sauce, both in the meat mixture and for the topping. Wrap strips of bacon around the shaped loaf before baking to add more flavor and moisture. Meatloaf flavor and moisture could be sealed in by using a clay pot casserole. Soak an unglazed clay casserole in water for 10 minutes, then add the meat loaf. Cover and place in a cold oven, then follow the baking time instructions that come with your pot.

Fats can be reduced from the meatloaf by placing it on a rack over a roasting pan to drain excess fat. Or, replace half of the ground beef in your recipe with ground turkey or chicken.

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