July 6, 2016: I'd been completely worn out over the past couple of days, but woke up this morning feeling much better – and with an urge to bake. In the fridge there was a pack of three pounds of ground beef I'd wanted to use during the holiday, but never had a chance to use (personal reasons). This had to be used soon, or else it would begin to spoil. How to satisfy a baking urge with three pounds of ground beef? Two words: meat loaf.
Your basic meat loaf is so simple, anyone can do it. What makes a meat loaf truly special are the additions to kick it up a notch. The basic recipe simply calls for:
Many recipes for meat loaf advise not to bake it in a loaf pan, but rather on a baking sheet. This allows the extra grease and fat to exit the meat, instead of staying and making it greasy. That's also a good reason to coat the loaf with sauce, to help hold in the juices and keep it from drying out as it bakes. So, for a baking sheet, I unleashed "Stumpy," my Birmingham Stove and Range #14 cast iron skillet. I considered coating the bottom of the pan with shortening, but decided to use corn meal in order to absorb the grease from the loaf.
The loaf was shaped into a ring, in order to allow the entire loaf to bake faster (which is why we have tube pans and bundt pans). Also, I wanted to tell some bad Lord of the Rings jokes when I took this meat loaf to work.
Usually, a meat loaf is coated with ketchup; and there's nothing wrong with that. In this case, I felt like mixing a special mixture of sauce. In fact, this comes from my someday-it-will-be-famous recipe for Boston Baked Beans. This sauce is good enough to use as a barbeque sauce:
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In this case, a probe thermometer was used to bake the meat loaf to 160 degrees. This took a little over one hour.
This meat loaf can be made with ground pork, rather than ground beef. The following recipe will turn this into an Italian sausage meat loaf:
This produces three pounds of Italian sausage, which can then be mixed into the meat loaf using the recipe listed above.