Let me assure you that this is the classic juicy and flavorful meatloaf of your dreams, adapted from a great recipe in the pages of "Cook’s Illustrated." Meatloaf is best baked on a rimmed baking sheet, rather than in a loaf pan, so that more of the surface browns appealingly. Wrap leftover meatloaf tightly in plastic wrap, put it between two trays or baking sheets, with a heavy object on top, and refrigerate it, weighted, overnight. It will then slice neatly for sandwiches.
Adapted from "Commonsense Kitchen" by Tom Hudgens.
For the glaze:*
- ¼ cup bottled “chili” sauce or ketchup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
For the meatloaf:
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1¼ teaspoons salt, in all
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 2/3 cup crushed saltine crackers
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
- 6 ounces fresh mushrooms, wiped clean and grated using a box grater or very finely chopped
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon
- Fresh thyme or rosemary
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon hot sauce
*Note: If you love glaze, double the recipe
For the glaze:
To make the glaze, mix the ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.
For the meatloaf:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the olive oil over a medium-high flame in a medium-sized skillet, and sauté the onion and garlic with ¼ teaspoon of the salt, until the onion is transparent and no longer crunchy, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, without smashing, kneading, or otherwise overworking the meat, lightly but thoroughly combine the meats with the parsley, crushed saltines, yogurt, mushrooms, eggs, thyme, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, hot sauce, and the cooled onions and garlic until amalgamated. If you have used different proportions of the listed ingredients and want to taste the mixture, fry a bite-sized piece in a small skillet until cooked through, and taste.
Line a shallow roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (shiny side up), and grease the foil so the meatloaf won’t stick. Pat the meat into a narrow, free-form loaf (about 15 inches long, 4 inches wide, and 2 inches high) in the pan.
Spoon the glaze in a stripe down the center of the meatloaf. Bake the meatloaf for 40-45 minutes. Crank up the oven’s heat to 500 degrees and bake for about 15 minutes more to brown the top and set the glaze. Using a small knife, peek at the interior of the meatloaf — no pink should remain. The internal temperature of the meatloaf, taken with an instant-read thermometer, should register 165 degrees. Let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.