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rrr: meatloaf winner!

Posted by aleta under recipe round-robin

I am very excited to announce the winner of Omnomicon’s second Recipe Round Robin: it’s Dixie, who can now officially call herself an award-winning Recipierre! Turns out Dixie is defending her PhD thesis tomorrow, and holy crap, I can’t even imagine the pressure. But the good news is that with grad school is over, she’ll have plenty of time to pore over her prize, this 1000 page tome that I read before bed every night (true story): The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, Heavy-Duty Revised Edition

But a big ole thanks to all the Recipierres who put themselves out there with their precious family favourites (and new takes) and the Tastebuddies who eagerly made not one, but TWO meatloaves over as many weeks and shared their experiences. I’ve said it before, and I’ve no doubt it’ll be said again, but: y’all rock.

Meatloaf time!

And making my job immensely easier is Dixie’s inclusion of a really neat and awesome backstory:

I grew up eating dry, boring meatloaf that my mom (who hated cooking) made, and I believed I didn’t like meatloaf. It wasn’t until I met my grandparents in college (that’s right, until halfway through college Iwouldn’t have known them from Adam and Eve) that I experienced
meatloaf worth eating. For a while it was the only thing I could cook other than omelets, so whenever it was my turn to cook for friends or bring something to a potluck it was this meatloaf.

One of my friends is ridiculously picky and still says she doesn’t like meatloaf. Unless it’s mine.

Meatloaf time!

The truth is that I don’t care much for meatloaf either, so these were promising words! I think a lot of the success of this recipe has to do with creating a channel on the sides of the baking pan to drain the grease. Dixie’s was not the only recipe demonstrating this technique, and indeed, even America’s Test Kitchen agreed that draining grease was important. Without doing so, the meatloaf will get soggy at the bottom and that gross grey ground beef sludge will abound. Disgustingly.

Meatloaf time!

I’m a complete jerk because I just realized, like, while typing this out, that I completely forgot the breadcrumbs! Crappish! So imagine a loaf with a bit more body. I have to say, though, I was very impressed with this meatloaf. I really don’t eat meatloaf because it’s usually totally not worth the calories, but this one, somehow . . . it’s different. I saved the leftovers and didn’t feed them to my coworkers. That’s mighty praise.

The channels to success (on the side there). Meatloaf time!

The pic on the right looks like it has an abstract face in it. If you see that too. If not, um, I must be awfully lonely tonight.

I drained like, a cup of stuff out of the meatloaf at the 45 minute mark, and it was exhilarating! Really, I suddenly felt SO much better about eating a slice of meat Wonderbread knowing that so much fat had been removed. The nice thing is that you can get the cheaper, fattier ground beef, which will baste itself as it cooks, leading to a nice tender loaf with the calorie-dense fat removed. It’s a perfect system as far as I can tell. The loaf does shrink up quite a bit; I used a 90/10 leanness, and a leaner loaf will be bigger and a fattier loaf will shrink up even more. In the future, I think I’d have used a 93/7, but any meat you want to use will do.

Meatloaf time!

I did halve Dixie’s original recipe, as hers bakes 2 lbs of beef in a 9×13 pan and I am the only one home this week. I also probably eat less than 2 lbs of beef in an entire month, so eating that much in the next week just wasn’t going to happen.

Meatloaf time!

Dixie serves her meatloaf with “garlic mashed potatoes and mushy peas,” and normally I’d go to great lengths to recreate this as it sounds so classic, but alas, peas are probably the one food I just hate hate hate and will not eat. I’m not even remotely picky about food, but peas tortured my entire childhood and I’m just not ready to move on yet. So I steamed up some green beans with almond slivers and enjoyed it that way instead.

Meatloaf time!

And my my, what a delightful loaf of meat! Thank you, Dixie, for sharing a family gem. Take it away!

Oh oh, and hey, everyone, the next Recipe Round-Robin will be announced in about a week. We’re looking for a sweet treat this time around, so feel free to use the comments on this post to not only wax poetic on Dixie’s tantalizing recipe, but also to cast your vote for what we should do next time!



My Grandfather’s Meatloaf

the loaf:
2 lb ground beef
1 stick of celery
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 eggs
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 16 oz can of tomato sauce

the sauce:
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp soy sauce (packets left over from Chinese takeout work great:
use 2 packets)
3 tbsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Chop the celery, onion, and garlic. The finer you chop, the more heterogeneous your meatloaf will be. You may beat the eggs before adding them to the mix, but I don’t. Combine the beef, celery, onion, garlic, eggs, breadcrumbs, and *half* the can of tomato sauce. I use my hands to squish everything together.
When fully mixed, place in a shallow bread tray (my grandfather used,and I still use a 13 x 9 casserole dish, having never personally witnessed a “shallow bread tray,” but I pass the term along in case you foodies have one or know where to find one). Create a channel along the sides to drain the grease.

Mix the mustard, soy sauce, sugar, and the rest of the tomato sauce in a small saucepan and heat gently. Pour half of the heated mixture over the loaf. Bake the loaf covered for 45 minutes. Take the loaf out, drain the grease. Add the rest of the sauce to the loaf and bake uncovered for 30 more minutes. Drain the
grease again. Allow the loaf to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Meatloaf time!



nutrition summary: I have absolutely no idea. Since a lot of fat is drained out during the cooking, and having no way to quantify how much of that was actual fat and what was other juices, I really am unable to calculate calories for this dish. Given the grease draining, I’d assign this a health score of “not that bad for you.” Suggestions are always welcome.

  1. Amy I. Said,

    OooOo that looks yummy. I’ve suggested this in the past, but I vote for cookies!

  2. Amanda Said,

    yay! i voted for this too!

  3. Patice Said,

    I can’t wait to try Dixie’s meatloaf recipe!
    How about some yummy chocolate chip cookie recipes for the next rrr?

  4. Ben Said,

    As a Brit, I don’t think I will ever begin to understand this dish you call “Meatloaf”.

    I want to try it, I want to enjoy it. But it scares me.

  5. Cait Said,

    what about sugar cookies for the next rrr? everyone has their own variation and thinks theirs is the bee’s-knees. i think it would be a fiercely fun one.

  6. Smurf Said,

    (blinking) Re: grease – did no one use a recipe that involved forming the loaf on a sheet pan lined with parchment? I didn’t think anyone used loaf pans anymore.

  7. Kristin Said,

    Hooray for Dixie, and good luck on the defense! I got to be a tastebud for this recipe and it was great, especially the sauce on top 🙂

  8. Ein2015 Said,

    This looks delicious… I need to try it!

  9. Apollo Said,

    @Smurf: Neither of the recipes I made used a loaf pan. I’m kind of surprised that any of them did.

    Re: the next rrr- how about coffee cake? It’s good because it’s not only sweet but also is about the best breakfast ever. Or maybe french toast!

  10. ChemicalDependence Said,

    We didn’t get this one, so I think we’ll be making a 3rd meatloaf this week! The turkey based loaf was a HUGE hit at my house though. Asides:

    @Smurf, we had one recipe w/o a loaf pan.
    @Ben: lol. I feel that way about the dish you call “black pudding.”
    @Dixie: people who get Ph.D.’s are awesome! Especially ones that cook during the years of their thesis research!

  11. Calluna Said,

    One easy way to get a new twist on meatloaf is to replace the tomato sauce with BBQ sauce. Very yummy and new kind of flavor. You can also use the flavored Stove Top stuffing mixes for your bread crumbs to add more or different flavors.

  12. Liz Said,

    Congratulations, Dixie! This recipe looks delicious and as I wasn’t lucky enough to have this as one of my recipes, I will definitely be making it soon. I will probably make it on a baking sheet instead of a loaf pan though since that’s how I tend to make most of my meatloaf recipes.

  13. Pearl Said,

    congratulations, dixie! your recipe looks great!

  14. Hannah Said,

    I am all about having the next rrr be for THE BEST chocolate chip cookie! I do love my Nestle recipe, but seeing as how chocolate chip cookies are one of, oh, my most favorite things EVER I’m all for trying new ones! Plus, it’s a staple food! Just look what a great list this makes for those “Must Have” recipes: blueberry muffins, meatloaf, chocolate chip cookies……

    Alright, I’m done.

  15. Dixie Said,

    Thank you everyone! I was beside myself when I found out I won, so thank you everyone who voted for my meatloaf. There were some pretty fantastic entries — I taste tested one that was particularly delightful.

    I successfully defended my thesis this morning. It was almost as good as winning the RRR. (Slower burn, less whooping and jumping at the end, just as much thrill.) Thanks to all of y’all for the well wishes on that too. 🙂

  16. Emily Said,

    lol @Ben maybe it’s the term “loaf” that’s turning you off

  17. stephchows Said,

    Totally fun participating in this again! Thanks for hosting 🙂 I’ll have to give the winning recipe a try… not for awhile though, I’m all meatloafed out for now!

  18. Ben Said,

    @ChemicalDependence – I can totally understand why!
    @Emily – I think you’re right there actually. I usually put cheese ham and salad between two slices of my “loafs”!

  19. Matronix Said,

    I made this last night… very good. I didn’t have any dijon mustard in the house (not sure why) but I did have some habanero mustard… turned out very well with some spice on the top.

    I’m not a great cook and neither is my girlfriend, but with my recent purchase of a house I am attempting to cook more so an easy and tasty recipe like this was a great find.

  20. Adagio Said,

    OH HEY ALETA! PEEEEAAAS pass the PEEEAAASTACHIO ice cream?! bahahaha! Listening to you talk about how much you hate peas just takes me back to the time after we spent 6 hours going up and down Mt Washington on the hottest train EVER and the mountain of peas the waiter placed on your plate that mom and dad MADE you finish before dessert.

    I’m giggling with delight as I type this (seriously, everyone else in the fam LOVES peas. you’re a freak my friend)

  21. Laurel Said,

    Based on the reviews on this blog, I excitedly made “My Grandfather’s Meatloaf” for dinner tonight. However, contrary to other comments, there really was no taste at all. Adding salt and plenty of ground black pepper (at least) and using a cheap cut of ground beef should help. The beef I used was lean to begin with, so there was no grease to drain off. The aroma from the oven was alluring, but the result was so disappointing. I hope others have a better outcome than I did. 31.05.09

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  23. Heather Said,

    I made this recipe tonight with a few changes. I used 1.25 lb of ground turkey breast and shredded zucchini instead of celery. And I halved the other ingredients. It was tasty, we loved it- thanks!!

  24. Jennifer Said,

    Tried this recipe last night for dinner. Turned out great. Husband loved it. The only thing I will do different next time will be double the sauce.

  25. altin hesabi Said,

    i like meat.. not chicken.. more delicious

  26. Tiffany Said,

    I’ve made this a few times now, and it’s absofreakinglutely perfect.

    Best. Meatloaf. Ever.

  27. Sandi Said,

    This meatloaf was so wonderful! My Boyfriend raved about it to friends. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  28. Marilyn Said,

    This was the winner???!!! Must have been the only entrant. I made it last night and we took one bite and threw it out. I am no novice cook and have made countless meatloafs over the years. This sounded good, but was bland had no flavor at all!! How disappointing.

  29. Brandi Said,

    Dear Dixie….Thank you so much for a good solid recipe that was easy and gave me the opportunity to add a ‘splash of this and a splash of that’ and make it my own. I do love flavor, so I like to play around with add ins! I put used my ‘Magic Bullet’ to grind up a 2″x2″ hard block of cheddar cheese, I added a tbsp of dill relish, pureed a fresh tomotoe, added some diced pimentos for color, added to tsp of ground mustard and used tbsp of garlic salt instead of fresh garlic. Also, I used brown sugar instead! When the baking was final, I turned on the broiler and slightly darkened and crisped the top. It turned out wonderful! Thank you very much!

  30. Paul Said,

    This tip may be of interest: I put a handful of the meat, half the tomato sauce and all the rest of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until gooey and mixed. Then add this to the rest of the meat.

  31. Boffie Said,

    If you like a really terrible, bland meatloaf, this is the one for you. I decided to try it just in case I was missing out on something. Believe me, unless you have no taste buds, don’t waste your time.

  32. nancy ellison Said,

    Okay All, I have read the raves on this meatloaf and read the negatives. I am making it right now and havent eaten anything solid in two months due to radiation and chemo. I am cooking right now for the neighbors..SO!! this better at least smell good!

  33. Gigglebelly Said,

    This recipe above does not have much seasoning, thus the negative comments.
    I never make meatloaf with a recipe. Just throw a package of Lipton’s onion soup mix, a couple eggs, some Italian seasoned bread crumbs, shake in some garlic powder and a dash of milk in a bowl. Mix with hands, (wash first ;>) and throw in a bread pan and cook in the oven at 350 until done. About an hour. That’s it!

  34. Kevin W Said,

    This is really going to be nasty without salt. You can use a seasoned salt or just use Lipton onion soup mix for the salt. Using 1/3 c BBQ sauce and a little water or milk instead of of plain tomato sauce in the meatloaf will add flavor and moistness.The topping sounds good, but let’s face it- it’s basically BQ sauce anyway. I also think 350F for one hour is about right- just be sure to let the meatloaf rest for a bit before serving

  35. rhonda b Said,

    I agree with Gigglebelly ! i have been a mother and good cook for about 35 yrs. I look in the fridge, the cabinets, and pull out what ever looks good. My basic recipe uses about a cup of shredded cheese like chedder or anything you like, BBQ sauce is a MUST. 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup BBQ should do. Now that My kids are grown with families of their own I use 1 lb of choppmeat (beef). Also important I saute 1 med onion, and sometimes a few cloves of garlic till onion is browned and cooked. The rest of the recipe is 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk, a cup of bread crumbs(Italian) and anything else that looks interesting in fridge (tonight I added a can (drained) of chopped tomato and poured some of the juice in the pan. I use what ever pan is available at the time. I am a no fuss kind of cook, laid back and look at recipes of all sorts to decide the things to use. I use cooking as a creative outlet and enjoy making up new combinations of foods. Good luck with your recipes, stay calm, and have fun… it’s only food !!!

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  37. Osman Said,

    I’m all meatloafed out for now! thans for sharing.

  38. Sarah Said,

    My fav dessert is dark chocolate pot de creme topped with butter rum caramel sea salt and cashews!!!! The best dessert ever! And beautiful presentation

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