Ha! Did I get your attention?
This is the number one requested supper of my son-in-law. I make it every year for his birthday. I kind of almost reinvent it every time I make it – making it mostly from memory, and really don’t measure anything – but he says it is always good, even it if is just a little different each time. I make mine with bacon and BBQ sauce and am pretty sure that’s what makes it better than your average meatloaf. Sometimes I add diced celery or grated carrot to the meat, not a lot, just a little. Maybe a half a cup or so? Sometimes I can’t find ground buffalo and so I have to make it all beef – And I prefer using a good quality ground sirloin, organic if I can find it. Often times I add a jalapeno or Serrano from my garden, minced, sometimes I give it a couple squirts of Worcestershire sauce. I rarely repeat a BBQ sauce, and that is really what makes it different every time, but the boy insists that no matter how it turns out it is always his favorite. He makes me want to spoil him rotten – or fatten him up, one!!!!
If you can’t find the Salt Lick dry rub, basically all it is is about 1/2 tsp of cayenne powder, 1 tsp of ground black pepper, and 1/2 tsp of salt. It might have a sprinkle of garlic powder in it too.
I wrap my meatloaf with bacon, and I’ve discovered that a bacon lattice is the best way to go. I didn’t always do this, as you’ll see in some of the photos here, but trust me, it is the best way, because the bacon stays in place when it cooks and when you slice it to serve. I like a thin sliced applewood smoked bacon the best!!!
First, I lay out a sheet of aluminum foil and then lay slices of bacon across it, about the length of my baking dish. Then I weave another set of bacon strips into the first strips like a lattice pie crust.
Next I take my mixed up meatloaf and pat it into an oblong tube shape and lay it down the center of the bacon weave. Finally, I pull the sides of the foil tightly up and around the meatloaf and press the bacon against the meatloaf. I then unwrap the foil and pull the bacon until the ends meet and the meatloaf is fully covered, and then I roll the meatloaf over and place it seam side down in the baking dish.
I use an oblong glass baking pan. I then like to season the bacon with steak seasoning and coarse ground black pepper. I put it into a 325*F oven and let it bake for about an hour and 20 minutes before I put the BBQ sauce on. This way the bacon gets crispy. Check the internal temp of the meatloaf. It should be 160*F when it is done. When it is nearing this, that’s when I start the BBQ sauce process. I don’t have a favorite brand of BBQ sauce. I use all kinds. But I prefer the sweet and spicy types (Sweet Baby Rays Honey Hot, Famous Dave’s Devil’s Spit, etc.) that are thick, not runny! Part of the fun for me is experimenting with new BBQ sauces.
After I put the BBQ sauce on, I put the meatloaf back in the oven and turn up the heat to broil. I let the sauce cook until it almost burns, and then I add another layer of it and return it to the broiler, making sure the sauce gets good and carmelized on top.
And then I take it out and let it sit for a few minutes on the stove top before I slice it. While it is cooling I use a turkey baster to syphon off all the grease out of the pan.
That’s it! That’s my most special meatloaf. But wait…
The last time I made it for my son-in-law I added a treat to it. As soon as we finished dinner my husband’s exact words were, “Wow! Just when I thought your meatloaf couldn’t get any better, you go and kick it up a notch! That was freaking fantastic, wife!” Wow, he makes me blush. So, what did I do?
Well, I had some herb, garlic, blue cheese butter wrapped in plastic in my fridge that I’d whipped up for our grilled steaks a little while back. I thought it might be good on meatloaf, and would be a great way to use up those leftovers. I gotta tell you, it was not only great, it was freaking incredible. The BBQ sauce, bacon, beef, jalapeno, herb, garlic, blue cheese thing just WORKS!!!!! Oh my goodness!!!!!
And (drum-roll please) my latest tweak… smoked meatloaf! Instead of baking it in the oven I asked my son to grill it on his Pit Boss. It turned out freaking amazing!
No, this is not health food. This is that one cheat meal that you get to have once every 364 days! I served my latest meatloaf with Mexican Street Corn-in-a-cup and a baked potato, but it is good with any sides really. I love loaded up green beans! I love loaded up brussels sprouts! I love cream corn (cream cheese and butter) with a can of green chiles added. I love mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, and potato casserole.
Maybe you like sweet potatoes? My son-in-law loves his mashed with brown sugar (or maple syrup) and butter, crushed up pecans, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a few mini-marshmallows – basically like a sweet potato casserole.
I also found a yummy recipe for Hawaiian Sweet Potatoes that’s a nice change of pace from the usual marshmallow or pecan varieties. It has fresh crushed pineapple, a firm (green) banana chopped fine, melted butter, fresh lime juice and coconut syrup for sweetness, and then garnished with shredded coconut and crushed salted macadamia nuts. Delish!
Instead of baked potatoes, you can make a loaded mashed potato casserole, with butter, sour cream, and cheddar cheese mixed in, and garnished with green onions and crispy bacon.
Wrap up your leftovers (if you can manage to keep some back), and make yourself a jim-dandy meatloaf sandwich the next day!!!!!
Mmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm, here’s how I like ’em:
Whole Wheat bread
Course Ground Mustard
About 1/4 inch thick slices of cold meatloaf
a nice thick slice of sweet, white onion
Lots of Romaine Lettuce
and sometimes a slice of dill pickle
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