Classic Meatloaf

A Traditional Approach To a Favorite Dish

Classic Meatloaf

A Traditional Approach To a Favorite Dish

When I was a kid, I never liked meatloaf because I had a problem with the bits of undercooked onion that I'd invariably find.  Although I wasn't normally a fussy eater, I'd annoy my mother by picking through the meat, trying to remove the small onion pieces that I thought interfered with the meat's smooth texture. 

I later learned how I could avoid this problem and make a fully smooth meatloaf by pre-cooking any vegetables, especially the onion, before adding them to the ground meat.  This way the meatloaf gets the flavor without the rawness -- a method from the smart people at Cook's Illustrated.  

This recipe combines a classic meatloaf mix -- meaning one-third each of ground beef, pork and veal -- with bread crumbs, egg, and seasoning.  But it can be made with all ground beef.  We offer two glazes to put on top before baking:  either a classic brown sugar sweetened ketchup glaze or a slick of a kicking New Orleans BBQ sauce.



  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. In a food processor, add the pieces of bread that you've torn into pieces. Pulse to make bread crumbs. Remove from the food processor and add to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Using the same food processor (no need to clean the basket), finely chop the carrot, celery and garlic, cutting them almost into a paste so that the pieces are very tiny.
  4. If the onion has not been cut into a very small dice, add the cut onion and continue processing so that everything is in tiny pieces.
  5. In a large skillet, add the olive oil and finely chopped carrot, celery, garlic and onion and cook about 10 minutes on a moderate heat until soft and cooked through, but do not brown them. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.
  6. In the large mixing bowl in which you've placed the fresh bread crumbs, add the ground meats and using a fork or your clean hands, combine the meats and bread crumbs.
  7. Stir the egg a bit so that the yolk and white combine and add to the meat and bread crumb mixture.
  8. Add the slightly cooled cooked vegetables and combine.
  9. Add the salt, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard and combine well.
  10. Transfer the mixture to a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan or else line a rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil on which you place mixture and shape it into a 9 by 5-inch loaf.
  11. Use a pastry brush to brush the top of the loaf with a thin coating of either our Brown Sugar and Ketchup Glaze (see below) or Larry Eustis's BBQ Sauce (see the link to this recipe).
  12. Bake in the oven for about one hour, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160º F using an instant meat thermometer.
  13. Let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes after removing from the oven.

Brown Sugar and Ketchup Glaze

1/2 cup ketchup
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

  1. Combine ingredients in a bowl until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Brush on top of the meatloaf prior to baking.





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