The Best Meatloaf Recipe You’ll Find

When M and I met, he was The Gourmand and I was the Peasant. He, having gone to culinary school, and I making the best meatloaf he’d ever had. Times have changed and the line between who’s who has blurred, but I remain meatloaf champion of our kitchen. Here’s my recipe. I give quantities, but once you make it once or twice, you’ll be able to eyeball how much of each ingredient to add. And trust me, you’ll make it more than twice.

Meatloaf
2 lbs ground meat (I use all beef, a combination of beef, pork and veal, or ground turkey)
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 cup milk
1 cup crushed saltine or ritz crackers (about 16) or 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T hot sauce
1 T whole grain mustard
2 tsp each of salt & pepper 
Meatloaf Glaze (recipe follows)

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, except the glaze. Using clean hands, mix thoroughly, to evenly distribute all the mix-ins, but be careful to not over mix, as the result will be tough, grainy meat.

On a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, form the meatloaf mixture into a loaf about the size of a football* and make a shallow gutter down the middle. Pour half of the glaze into the gutter and used the back of a spoon to smear some glaze around the top and allow some to drip down the sides of the meatloaf.

Bake at 350° 50-60 minutes, until cooked through. Serve with extra glaze.

Meatloaf Glaze
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar

In a small saucepan, mix the ingredients over low heat. Stir occasionally until the glaze beings to simmer. Take off the heat, allow to cool slightly before glazing meatloaf.

*I know there is a tradition of placing the meatloaf into an actual loaf pan and baking it that way. I don’t do that for two reasons. First, when the meatloaf cooks, lots of fat and juices cook out onto the cookie sheet. If you cook the meatloaf in a loaf pan, those juices have nowhere to go and essentially poach in fat the bottom half of the meatloaf. Second, more exposed surface area means more glaze to get caramelized and that is everyone’s favorite part.