15 Fabulous Tips and Tricks For Making a Perfect Meatloaf.
1. Do, not over mix… mix just enough to combine the ingredients. Working the mixture compacts the meat making it tough.
2. Use any combination of beef, pork or veal and experiment with different ratios of meat as long as the total amount of meat remains the same in the recipe.
3. The general rule of thumb is to add 1/2 cup of filler for every pound of meat. Note: A filler being: bread crumbs, Panko chips, moistened bread, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, cooked rice… etc.
4. If you go to the trouble of making a meatloaf, make extra and freeze it. Just place the extra mixture in an oven/freezer safe baking dish, seal it up tight and freeze. This will save a lot of time.
5. A meatloaf made entirely of ground beef will be drier and less flavourful. Try adding veal or pork for extra flavour and moisture.
6. General rule of thumb – For every 1 pound of meat, use 1/4 cup liquid: tomato juice, beef broth, whole milk, buttermilk etc.
7. Standard cooking time is 1 to 1 1/2 hours in a 350 degree oven.
8. Cooking the meatloaf on a sheet pan will allow all the fat to drain off. This gives the meat a nice crust. If using a loaf-pan, a ‘steamed’ texture will result and the fat will remain in the meatloaf. The choice is yours.
9. Letting the meatloaf rest for 10 to 20 minutes after it comes out of the oven, will allow for easier slicing… it holds together better.
10. Topping the loaf with bacon strips adds moisture, flavor and tenderness.
11. When using a higher grade of ground beef, there is less fat and shrinkage. However, keep in mind, that less fat means less flavor and moistness.
12. Ingredients to experiment with… ketchup, soy sauce, dijon mustard, honey, paprika, cayenne, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, buttermilk, celery, green pepper, cheese… you name it. When experimenting, add small amounts of the new ingredient.
13. Make a simple glaze to go over the meatloaf while baking. Don’t forget to make extra as a condiment for the final dish. A glaze is always a hit. Yummy!
14. Sauting celery, garlic, green pepper beforehand adds a tremendous amount of flavour. Gently saute until vegetables are transparent in colour. Remember to cool this mixture before adding to the meat.
15. Add a 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese… a secret ingredient!