Barbecued Meatloaf

I was kind of a weird kid.

I used to make tape recordings of myself all the time. It makes for good blackmail fodder for my parents.

In addition to the tape-recording obsession, I also liked things that kids weren’t supposed to like.

Like broccoli.

And meatloaf.

In fact, I liked my mom’s meatloaf so much that it was actually my requested birthday dinner pretty much every year.I feel like meatloaf gets a bad rep. (Garfield, anyone?) And I can understand that. I know people whose mom would make meatloaf at the end of the week using whatever leftovers they had in the fridge. I’m just going to come out and say it: that’s disgusting.

Also, I’ve had meatloaf that’s flavorless and soggy or clearly more filled with, well, fillers than meat.

But this meatloaf is different. It’s full of tangy flavor, and it even has cheese.

Who can say no to cheese??

Other than you, Yasmin. I know you don’t like cheese. But I think you’re the only person I’ve ever met.

Anyway. Here’s what you need.

Ground beef, ketchup, an egg, brown sugar, worcestershirecestershire sauce, and a roll of Ritz crackers (or the generic equivalent)

And mozzarella. Mozzarella is kind of a diva and refused to be in the group shot.

I’m going to be honest with you all.

I really enjoy making fancy meals, with everything from scratch. Here’s the thing: my life doesn’t always (or even often) afford me that luxury. So I have a vast number of recipes like this in my arsenal. Simple, delicious, and EASY.

Ok, let’s get on with it.

In a large bowl:

Combine ground beef, egg, 3/4 cup ketchup, and crushed up crackers. I just crush them in the package. Warning: sometimes the package opens when I do this. I always take the risk, though, because I don’t want to get anything else dirty. Also, I usually crush them more finely than this, but I was trying to crush extra quietly so as not to wake the sleeping baby. Er, toddler.  Sigh.

You’re going to have to use your hands for this. I know, it’s gross. Get over it. Suck it up. It’s pretty much impossible to adequately mix it with a spoon.

Press half of the meat mixture into a standard loaf pan.

Sprinkle an even layer of shredded mozzarella over the top. You could also thinly slice mozzarella and make a layer like that. Whatever floats your boat. I don’t ever measure the cheese here, but I would guess it falls somewhere in the 1/2 to 3/4 cup range.

Then top with the rest of the meat mixture, and press evenly.

Bake this in at 350〫for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

But wait! We need to make the barbecue part of this recipe.  This is what makes the thing.

In a small saucepan:

Combine 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup worshestershirechestershire sauce, 1/2 cup water and 1 cup ketchup.

Do you spell it ketchup or catsup? I inexplicably have it written, in my handwriting, “catsup” in this recipe despite the fact that in the rest of my life I spell it “ketchup.”

However you spell it, add it to the other ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. I don’t wait for it to come to a rolling boil, just so it’s boiling around the edges. But if it comes to a rolling boil, it will be fine, too. I just don’t want to wait that long. I find it works best to whisk this as it cooks otherwise sometimes the ketchup doesn’t incorporate well.

Once it’s boiling, pull it off the heat. It’ll look something like this:

I feel like I’m using an excessive number of colons as I write.

After the meatloaf has been baking for half an hour, pour some of the sauce over the top.

Don’t be shy.

You won’t use all the sauce, by any means. But you want a nice, thick, even layer.

Return it to the oven and continue baking for the remainder of the time.

When it comes out, it will look something like this:

Yum.

Slice it up and serve.

We like to serve it with rice, because we’re Asian on the inside. But it would also go great with mashed potatoes.

Notice the side of broccoli? I’m still a fan.

Drizzle more of the sauce over the meat loaf and rice (or potatoes.) This sauce is SO good. SO GOOD. I could eat it on a lot of things. And generally, I’m not a big barbecue person. But this sauce is delightful. Tangy and a little sweet… ahh. Yum.

What I also love about this meal is I can make everything up ahead of time (like while Little Man is sleeping) and bake it when I’m ready.

Serve this to you and yours. You won’t regret it!

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