Speaking of meatloaf

eandhlMarch 22, 2011

I didn't want to add this to johnliu's meatloaf post but I do have one question.

What makes some meatloaf's stay together fine for a leftover meatloaf sandwich? Mine taste fine but isn't like my mothers. With hers you could make a great sandwich the next day, with mine is crumbles. I do use an egg.

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Sounds like yours needs more moisture. Tricia's post about her mom's meatloaf turned me onto putting sour cream in my mix, and I believe her recipe also has a can of evapo milk mixed with soft bread crumbs. Sometimes I also use a leaner beef mixed with pork and add some shredded cheese to make up for the fat missing in the beef which is tasty.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 5:15PM
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Ya, meatloaf properly mixed up is almost soupy and can be (slowly!) poured into the meatloaf pans.

Thick soupy now...don't jump on me.

Mixtures that are stiff and can be formed and baked on a sheet pan are not meatloaf, they are baked hamburger shapes.

Milk and fresh bread crumbs (as opposed to dry crumbs) are my "secret". The milk and bread are mixed (there is a name for this...) and then that is mixed into the meat mixture.

I use a ground burger/ground pork mixture and grate the garlic and onions...it ends up pate like, minus the liver taste, not chunky with bits of stuff in it.

Most excellent for cold or hot meatloaf sandwiches the days following.

Oh, and mix it in a mixer, not by hand. Stop before you get to hot dog consistency, you want it to be "not baked hamburger" consistency.

You'll know it when you get there, it feels right.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 6:03PM
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I think I do everything the exact opposite of metaxa...HAHAHA! I have never made it "soupy"? I make the best ever meatloaf and it slices just fine for sandwiches the next day! I pretty much just use the recipe on the package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix! Of course I have to doctor it up some! :) My husband just loves it! It's one of his most requested meals!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 6:41PM
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metaxa, the milk and bread mixture is referred to as "panade." From what I've read in Cooks Illustrated, it is good for adding moisture to otherwise dry dishes, like meatloaf.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 8:42PM
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metaxa - Having never, ever, seen a meatloaf recipe making a soupy mix like that, and most of them cautioning against anything more than minimal gentle mixing, I might take issue with calling your method a "properly mixed up" meatloaf. Nonetheless I'm interested. I assume you just wing it, but could you post approximate measures of your ingredients? I'd definitely give it a go. TIA!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 8:55PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

"Mixtures that are stiff and can be formed and baked on a sheet pan are not meatloaf, they are baked hamburger shapes"

This must be why I despise most meatloaf since I had "hamburger shaped" dinner once a week growing up and always hated it.

About ten years ago when Dad moved in with us, and wanted meatloaf, I bought him some Boston Market meatloaf dinners.
I tried a bite and it was delicious! Salty, of course, but nothing like my mothers ketchup, ground chuck monstrosity. (They loved it)

Anyway, I was happy to see Ann T's meatloaf recipe which is like the homemade version of the Boston Market kind.
I'm actually going to make it one day.

My grandmother, who repeated stories over and over, liked to tell how as a young bride, she gave her husband (my grandfather) a meatloaf sandwich in his lunch box. He hated that more than anything she had ever made and requested no more meatloaf sandwiches ever.
It must of had ketchup.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 9:32PM
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I make what I have been told is a durned good meat loaf.
I make it in a loaf and bake in on a baking sheet. I would never ever mix it with a mixer but only gently by hand.
I believe one of the secrets of a meatloaf that holds it's shape in the absence of air in the mix....I slap and pat it into shape....no pressing it, no squeezing...just pat and pat.
Another secret is good meat. Lots of "ground beef" contains the gristley ends and the tough sections. Of course it gets tough when you cook it!

I am sure a "ground beef pate" or a "beef terrine" us lovely, but it's not the diner fare type of meatloaf I want....the kind served with catsup and mashed potatoes. The kind that you slice the next day and make a sandwich of.
It's down home country cookin' as varied as the people who make it and each person likes their mom's best....mostly!! LOL!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 10:19PM
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well, I've conjured up the wrong mind picture, sorry.

Take out "soupy" and remove any thoughts of terrine or pate.

All I'm saying is my mix is moist, perhaps a bit more moist than yours?

I guess I could pour it but I'd be there all day and need a beer IV to get me through it. Bad writing, less so the food, eh?

Thanks for the term, I knew there was one...panade.

so I mix ground beef and ground pork. Both I grind myself using my middle die. I mix the two meats (2/3 burger, 1/3 pork) with a mixer but only long enough to incorporate it evenly. Add in the panade and seasonings via mixer, on gentle tho. I do that by feel, so sorry, I have no recipe type amounts. Enough. I make a lot and bake and freeze because its as much trouble to make 8 as it is one.

seasonings are the grated onion and garlic already mentioned and my 222 spice.

222 is simply 2 Tablespoons each of:
brown sugar
dry mustard
onion powder
garlic powder and 8 Tablespoons of:

This mix is definitely a burger mix but it would slump before cooking firmed it up without being in a pan.

It looks like diner meatloaf, not the frozen Swanson type meatloaf when sliced but the mouthfeel along with the meatloaf taste puts it head and shoulders above diner meatloaf, for sure.

Again, sorry for my sloppy descriptors used previously.
My food isn't that bad, eh?
Or different.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 12:11AM
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Meatloaf is something that has so many conflicting "absolutes". Some insist that you barely mix the ingredients to keep it tender. Some say mix it a lot for a firmness. My desire, keep it quite well mixed.

Another dispute: some claim the meats should be warmer, and some insist it must be as cold and possible.

Big chunks of onion, pepper, carrots, celery or other vegetables will make it tougher to slice and be more crumbly. Make everything into a paste and it'll hold together, since that's what "paste" does. I like some texture. I like a small chunk of onion and pepper but some will use a food processor or use powders for flavor.

There is no right or wrong. And it's usually edible experiments as long as I don't overseason it which I do on occasion.

My experience on moistness: Too dry will be crumbly, but too wet isn't good either. I've found it works best for me to be workable. It should hold together and form a ball or loaf and be slightly tacky but not too wet. If it's too moist I add more crumbs.

I also had trouble putting in too much egg. One egg per pound of meat is the max and usually works well.

I've used the hand mixer with dough hooks to mix the meatloaf before but I've found no advantage to it. I like to put on gloves and get in there. Also I've found that if you have a larger amount of meat, say 3# or so, don't plop all the meat in at once. Start with about 1/2 and mix in the mix-ins. Then add more meat. I like to use about 2# ground beef with 1# of sausage so I usually mix 1# of each, add-ins then the other pound of beef and adjust with breadcrumbs or moisture if needed. The meats will have different moisture levels so that will affect it too. I'm convinced that they're adding water to the meats now too and that'll evaporate while fat won't so that'll affect it too. And of course you also need perfect planetary alignment and the sun and moon in perfect contrast to avoid other variables.

And fer cryin out loud, a dab of ketchup is fine in the meatloaf but these culinary terrorists that top a meatloaf with an inch of ketchup or tomato sauce should go back to the trailer parks and leave the meatloaf alone! Meatloaf should have gravy! at least for the dinner serving. Put some ketchup on a sandwich if you must, but pass the gravy. Ketchup pollutes gravy.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 12:48AM
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Okay, thank you. Perhaps I mix to much and beside the egg I soak bread in mild and tear it up so maybe I need more moisture. I did try bread crumbs and wasn't happy with that either. I have tried mine in a loaf pan as well as shaped dome in a large low pan. Taste good but doesn't stay together good for a leftover sandwich. It has been a really long time since I made one.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 2:04PM
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I understand what Met is saying. The "smoother" and wetter the ingredients the finer the end product. I find mixing fresh bread crumbs with a bit of milk and pureeing the onions and garlic with some chicken broth results in a very moist, somewhat dense loaf. Slices beautifully when cold.

Guess what I'm making tonight!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 2:42PM
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metaxa...so how is it that your meatloaf is soupy or wet. I don't even see egg or milk or anything? Did you forget those ingredients? What am I missing? My meatloaf isn't at all like a seasoned up hamburger patty but your recipe looks to be just that....seasoned up meat and nothing else?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 2:42PM
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gravy on meatloaf? NEVAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 3:08PM
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Sharon, that's what I do when I make meatloaf too, I use the mix for Mama'a Meatballs, which has the onions and garlic pureed in chicken broth, and a LOT of eggs. Mix of pork and beef.

OK, I'd have gravy on meatloaf but what the heck to you make the gravy out of? I never have liquid left when I make meatloaf.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 4:19PM
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cynic, I happen to like my meatloaf with ketchup and guess what...I don't even live in a trailer park! Wonders never cease! My husband hates gravy on meatloaf and he doesn't live in a trailer park either! IMAGINE!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 6:34PM
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Annie, I use my frozen demi glace cubes for gravy. It takes a bit of effort and lovin' care to make it in the first place but once done I can have amazing gravy any ole time I want it!

Speaking of which, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy and peas for himself is on the menu tonight. Meredith and I are having creamed corn as a side! YUM!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 6:43PM
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I learned something...that I have to try!!!

sausage meat in meatloaf, yum.

we make our own sausage as well so its all good.
I can certainly see how putting fresh pork sausage in there would be an improvement on ground pork.

Arkansas Girl, I use that panade stuff...milk and fresh bread mixed together mixed into the meat mix...I don't egg or oil it. Again, soupy was the wrong term, its just moist, perhaps moister than most but not soupy.

And...I stand firmly with Cynic...hot meatloaf, first meal is mashed potatoes, creamed corn and gravy. Cynic is so right...ketchup pollutes gravy.

Now cold meatloaf sandwiches may have some ketchup but I prefer Dijon. Cheddar cheese and red onion with lettuce and white bread. good white bread but nevertheless white bread. same as a turkey sandwich. White bread. There are rules, you know?

One can do interesting things with mashed potatoes, creamed corn and meatloaf with mushroom gravy. Volcanoes, dams, rivers, play with your food,eh?

And I'm going to make AnnT's recipe posted here or on the other thread, looks great!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 6:52PM
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You don't used gravy with the ketchup...you just used ketchup...period!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 9:00PM
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Now be careful you guys, I live in a "Mobile Home Park". And there isn't a bottle of ketchup to be found in my house.

Reminds of when we lived in the Sault. Matthew would have been about 15 or 16. One of his friends was staying for dinner. They were playing video games in the family room and when I called them for dinner, I heard Matt say to his friend, "We are having my Mom's meatloaf, whatever you do don't ask for ketchup until you have tried it". I don't know if this was a kid that would have asked for ketchup, but he ate his meatloaf with gravy and ketchup was never requested.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 9:28PM
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Nothing wrong with a mobile home or trailer park or with ketchup for that matter. There are many ways to enjoy your meatloaf just as there are many ways to enjoy potato salad. It's a personal preference.

The meatloaf finished on the grill looks really interesting as do other recipes on that other thread. I am open to trying anything at least once.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 9:47PM
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I've also lived in a mobile home at one point in my life, although not in a "park", just out in the sticks with no neighbors. My mother still lives in a double-wide mobile home. In a very nice and kind of high rent type of mobile home park and she has lake frontage. Nicer than a lot of the houses I've seen, in fact. Plus, she has her own dock for her pontoon boat.

Sharon, thanks for that. I don't know why my brain would not register gravy, I just kept thinking that my meatloaf didn't have enough drippings to make any gravy, and didn't get any further to think maybe I should make it from something else, LOL.

Probably because I don't really like meatloaf very much. Enough gravy, though, and it could be better!


    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:00PM
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Mobile Home Parks attract tornadoes.

Actually helped a friend move into his new place recently...I was told it wasn't a mobile home but rather a modular home.

They sure have come a long way if you like new. I'm into old homes.

I don't know his position on ketchup. Mine is "meh", take it or leave it.

Basically if you see me putting ketchup on something in a diner or cafe you can pretty much bet I won't be returning. I'll go where the food is venturesomely seasoned and put together with craft and love.

Too sweet.

Now...a proper and good salsa is different.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 11:54PM
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DH says the "topping" depends on your sides.
If you serve with mashed potatoes, then OF COURSE you need gravy.
However, if you serve with Mac 'n' Cheese, ketchup is OK!

Makes sense to me. I'm a ketchup girl myself, yes, I live in a "manufactured" home. Just in case someone is keeping track!

Now..............I'm thinking cornbread sounds good with that meatloaf........

Anybody got a recipe????????



    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 12:23AM
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Any simple gravy works fine. Or a complex one for that matter. Beef gravy, chicken gravy, doesn't bother me. Mashed potatoes without gravy is garbage. I've used the 3 condiment gravy and that's fine. Onion gravy goes well too. Lots of options. Makes a fine hot meatloaf sandwich.

And sheesh, some just can't take a joke I guess. But you can offend some by saying good morning. And you'll definitely offend me by putting a 1" layer of ketchup, tomato sauce or soup on top of meatloaf you want me to eat.

For a sandwich, I like some mayo, salad dressing or ranch dressing. Maybe some pepperoni or bacon with it.

FWIW, all modular home are manufactured homes but not all manufactured homes are modular. Modular is more of a permanent setup, usually placed on private property and on a standard foundation and often with a basement in areas conducive to them. Moving them is more like moving a stick built dwelling. Manufactured homes are different than modular and although they can be put on a basement and standard foundation the setup is different since they have the steel framework underneath them that's used to assist in moving, thus more conducive to the "park" or rental property locations than modular as it's easier to move. You essentially attach wheels to a manufactured and it can be towed where a modular must be transported on a trailer. Another difference is US manufactured homes are built to HUD (national) standards while modular homes are built to state/local codes which in northern states are more strict. Generally a modular will be better insulated since northern climates require it. And so on.

There's more, but it's getting OT. I learned a lot about them since I've been looking at buying one and made offers on several over the past few years. For that matter I have 2 at the lake place. And no, I won't be putting ketchup (nor even "catsup") on my meatloaf even if I do move into one!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 2:33AM
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I was invited by a friend for dinner. They make their own Ketchup from their own tomato garden. Five different flavors. Very nice and unique. They put ketchup on everything and I don't blame them.

But the most interesting thing was their house. It was a Sears catalog factory manufactured home. Sears sold about 75,000 homes from their catalog in about 450 styles.

My friend�s house is in a waterfront area which has property values increased significantly and the house has been renovated so many times that I am not sure if any old Sears parts are still left.


Here is a link that might be useful: Sears homes

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 7:37AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

There are nice, kind, decent people everywhere just as there are rotten apples across the board. We own a trailer park and it certainly has it's fair share of trailer park trash but there are some very lovely people who live there too.

Since when did where you live determine what kind of person you are or if you have good taste?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 9:30AM
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Well apparently according to some people...there are right ways and wrong ways to eat our foods. Apparently ketchup is the WRONG (trailer trash) way to eat meatloaf. And the hoighty-toighty way is with gravy. WHO KNEW? I sure didn't! HA!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 10:18AM
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Arkansas girl, looking back at your comments, they are just as strongly worded in favour of ketchup and definitely negative about gravy.

You are entitled to that view just as others are entitled to theirs. Your WRONG is someone elses RIGHT.

No need to get snarky.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 11:35AM
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The difference being I didn't tell someone they were needed to go back to the trailer park if they liked it this way or that way.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 11:39AM
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The point is........Who cares?

Let's each make our meatloaf the way WE like it and live happily in our "home", be it a tent or a castle or any other option.

The forum is for sharing, not coercing.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 12:02PM
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