(Updated October 2011) After many years, I found this recipe in 1996 in Cooks Illustrated Magazine where Pam Anderson and Karen Tack went about this recipe very scientifically----and came up with truly the most memorable meat loaf hubby and I ever tasted. Note that the meat loaf may also be baked in a 9-by-5-inch greased loaf pan, without bacon on top if preferred, but I have found that a foil-lined shallow baking sheet works best and it's easier to remove the loaf from the pan.
Serves: 6

1/2 cup ketchup or chili sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 medium onion -- chopped medium
2 large cloves garlic -- minced
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon corse ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tobasco
1/2 cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek yogurt
2 pounds extra lean ground beef
2/3 cup crushed saltine crackers (about 16) or quick oatmeal
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley, or 1 tablespoon dried parsley
8 slices bacon (or more if needed)

GLAZE: Mix all ingredients in small saucepan; set aside.

MEAT LOAF: In a small skillet, heat oil and saute onion and garlic, sprinkled with alittle salt and pepper until just softened. Set aside to cool while preparing remaining ingredients. In a small bowl, beat eggs, then add thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and yogurt and mix well.

In a large mixing bowl, place meat, cracker crumbs and parsley. Add cooked onion and garlic and mix well. Add liquid mixture and mix well with your hands or fork until evenly blended. If time permits, cover bowl and chill about 1-2 hours to allow flavors to marry.

Remove meat loaf from refrigerator to com to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a shallow baking sheet with non-stick foil or parchment paper.

Turn meat mixture out onto the center of prepared baking pan. Press and mold into and oblong loaf shape. Brush top of loaf with half the glaze, then arrange bacon slices crosswise over loaf, overlapping slightly and tucking only the bacon tip ends under loaf.

Bake about 1 hour, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Let stand exactly 20 minutes. Meanwhile reheat the remaining glaze briefly and serve separately with meat loaf.

Nutrition information per 6 oz. serving (2 slices) (using 96/4 ground beef) Calories 298 Sugars 3 g; Total carbohydrates 5 g; Fat 10.8 g; Sodium 398 mg; Cholesterol 124 mg; Protein 46.4 g; Fiber 0 g; Potassium 200 mg

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Copyright 2001 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved