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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf
Some meals taste even better the day after they are made.  Many soups, stews and chilis benefit from that overnight soak; they thicken up, and the flavors have time to develop.  The same holds true for many bean and lentil dishes.  I've even heard arguments for day-after pizza.  But my absolute favorite dish to eat the day after it is made (aside from Thanksgiving leftovers) is meatloaf.  Heck, I've been known to make a meatloaf for the sole purpose of having Meatloaf Sandwiches the next day.

The thing about meatloaf is, people seem to love it or loathe it.  I, for one, fall into the love category.  It's another one of those dishes that I grew up on, and a bite of good, homemade meatloaf never fails to put me at ease...bring me comfort.  Which is going to make it seem odd when I tell you that I have never once made the same meatloaf twice in my life.  I've never had a recipe for meatloaf.  It's one of those things that you can do that with, though.  I do prefer to use a half beef, half pork mixture.  The binder always seems to vary - sometimes I use crushed crackers, sometimes fresh bread crumbs soaked in milk, sometimes dry bread crumbs; I've even used rice and oatmeal.  Sometimes I shred veggies into it.  I often vary the glaze.  I've even studded it with cheese, or wrapped hard-boiled eggs into the middle.  I like it all!

My kids, however, are not as enthusiastic as I am about meatloaf.  They eat it.  They don't complain.  But I don't think that they've ever requested it.  I always figured that would change when they are adults themselves, looking back on the food of their childhood.  Until I came up with this recipe.  It is a recipe that I have written down and tweaked - and will USE OVER AND OVER AGAIN.  It was inspired by a Paula Deen recipe that I came across while looking for inspiration.
Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf
One meal that pleases the entire family is Bacon Cheeseburgers.  Bacon cheeseburgers DO get requested.  Often.  So, why not put those flavors into what is essentially just a burger in sliced form?  It was an a-ha moment.  Taaaaake ooooon meeeee....*  Everybody gobbled it.  And I'm even sure that it's going to make the request list.

And yes, the day-after meatloaf sammies were amazing.

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf
Bacon cheeseburgers meat retro comfort food in this delicious meatloaf recipe.
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by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1-1/2 hours
Keywords: bake entree soy-free nut-free bacon beef pork American

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
    meatloaf mixture:
    • 1 pound bacon
    • 1 pound ground chuck
    • 1 pound ground pork
    • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
    • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    • 4 ounces garlic croutons
    • 3 tablespoons ketchup
    • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
    • 10 drops liquid smoke
    • 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    for the glaze:
    • 1/4 cup ketchup
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons agave nectar
    • few dashes Tabasco
    • dash of liquid smoke
    • dash worcestershire sauce
    • big pinch ground cumin
    • pinch of each garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder
    to finish:
    • 2-3 ounces french fried onions, more or less to taste
    Slice the bacon into 1/2-inch strips crosswise. Cook until they are done, and then drain fat. Set aside bacon to cool. Whiz the garlic croutons in a food processor until you have fine crumbs; set aside.
    Preheat oven to 350° F.

    Place everything for the meatloaf mixture, including the cooled bacon and croutons crumbs you've set aside, in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix everything together well.

    Line a large loaf pan with plastic wrap (this helps to turn the "loaf" out nicely) and dump the mixture in; gently push and pat the mixture into the shape of the loaf pan. Carefully turn it out onto the perforated rack on a broiling pan (line the bottom with foil for easier clean up) and remove the plastic wrap.

    Whisk together the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl; set aside.
    forming the meatloaf
    Slide into oven and bake until the internal temperature registers 160° F, ~1-1/2 hours minutes; brush the glaze over the top of the meatloaf after it has been in the oven for 10 minutes. Scatter the french fried onions over the top when 15 to 20 minutes remains in the cooking time. A temperature probe that you can stick into the loaf works really well here. Remove from oven and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

    Wrap cooled meatloaf tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate; use within 2 days.

         This makes excellent meatloaf sandwiches the following day. Slice while cold, and eat cold or heat it up - however you like it. I love it both cold on toasted bread with crisp lettuce and juicy tomato, or in an open-faced meatloaf sandwich (over bread w/ mashed potatoes and gravy on top).

         If you want some extra sauce for dipping, I recommend making a double batch of the glaze, and setting aside half for just that purpose.
    Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf
    *Speaking of a-ha and Take On Me, have you seen this commercial?  I laugh out loud every single time.