I struggled with meatloaf that was dry and overcooked on the bottom, soggy above that, and left me about a third of a decent meatloaf. I started cooking mine as a self-standing loaf - no pan. It may not qualify as American-style but it sure is working well and a lot more consistent. YMMV.
I use one of several enameled cast-iron terrines, one holds exactly 1 lb raw meatloaf, another 3 pounds. They both cook evenly and the result is moist throughout with moderate crusting on top. I wonder if the heft of the pans help keep them moist.
That’s how I cook my meatloaf, and I’m American. I like the idea that the meatloaf isn’t sitting in its fat while it cooks. It turns out okay.
What is an American style meatloaf?
Is there a British style meatloaf?
Yes, there is. Although it’s not something I’ve ever cooked which is why I refer to an “American style meatloaf” which I do cook, to distinguish it from the British version (see also pancakes versus American style pancakes)
FWIW, we’d usually call it haslet. It’s pork based and usually served cold (on a sandwich or with a salad). Here’s an old recipe for it (I can tell it’s oldish as the ingredients are in pounds not grams) - http://www.foodsofengland.co.uk/hasletlincolnshire.htm
As for the American style meatloaf, I don’t own any American cookbooks so usually turn to the internet when I’m thinking of making one. Recipe such as this one seems about right but I suspect it’s one of those dishes where every American home cook has their own recipe. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/16354/easy-meatloaf/
I think you’re correct here …there are recipes out there, but most everyone I know makes it the way their mother or grandmother taught them. (Not being gender exclusive here…I dont know anyone who was taught by a man…)
I actually dont make it at all anymore…some years ago I was having a crazy week, so I bought a ready-made meatloaf from the butcher. It got great reviews, and requests to buy it again, so I don’t make my own!
Hmm…. customized recipes is a distinctly American thing?
My DH makes the best meatloaf I’ve ever had. A mix of beef, pork and veal. Some onion and green bell pepper. He forms them into three loaves and they roast on parchment paper on a sheet pan - they have a ketchup based glaze. We eat it hot with mashed potatoes and eat it cold in sandwiches. A true comfort food.
Meatloaf is something I make once in a very great while. Probably because I use either Empire kosher ground turkey or ground turkey from a local turkey farm, which means making a special shopping trip. Ming Tsai’s meatloaf recipe is my favorite one to riff on because we find it flavorful.
Now you have me thinking about mashed potatoes and meatloaf even in this sweltering weather.
Like @retrospek , I make meatloaf “free form”, although I don’t make it often. It seems to me I started doing this because it promised more “crust” and less steam or some other wet process. Pretty sure it was a Cooksillustrated.com article, maybe 20 plus years ago.
I do all my meatloaves free-form. My mother always did too - never occurred to me to do them any other way!
As Will Owen so succinctly stated in Chowhound over a decade ago: “I thought everyone knew that fresh meatloaf is merely the larval stage of a meatloaf sandwich.”
Maybe most people do! I believe this thread was a spinoff of one that was talking about baking, then loaf pans, then meatloaf, but wasn’t really about meatloaf, so it seemed off topic to mention it there.
This is our family recipe for meatloaf (however, it is late and I must get up very early) … Shall add the written recipe tomorrow.
Napoli Style Meatloaf …
2 / 3 cup day old baguette torn
1 kilo of ground beef or veal
1 / 3 cup milk without lactose
2 large eggs lightly beaten
1/ 4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/ 4 kilo prosciutto finely chopped
1/4 cup fine seasoned bread crumbs
1/ 2 cup aged provolone
Special equipment: an instant read meat thermometer
meatloaf is like stew.
there is no “original” recipe,
there is no “authentic” recipe.
the amount of liquid - which may be fat or water - that is exuded…
80/20 ground beef will release more fat than 95/5.
previously frozen ground beef will release a lot more water than fresh.
oven baked in a loaf pan - perhaps with a tray to allow the liquid to collect below the loaf… - or formed on a flat pan/sheet.
my peanut gallery likes the crustier variety - which is more better produced by a free form on a sheet or large casserole dish.
True. But there is “tradition”. Some ingredients/methods make it a meatloaf. It’s the same with many dishes. My Lancashire Hotpot is different than my Mum’s. I use stock whereas she used water. But she would recognise mine for what it is - tradition dictates that you use lamb, potato and onion. Anything else can be very nice but it isn’t hotpot. Using beef might be very nice but it definitely wouldnt be Hotpot.
That’s interesting, because I would say the same about turkey and various other meats that don’t fit the traditional meat loaf ingredients, but on the other hand, they sound tasty.
Maybe someone remembers this. More than 10 years ago!