Juicy meatloaf with a delicate hint of hickory smoke flavor, topped with a thick, tangy sauce. An easy classic meatloaf recipe made with ground beef, bread crumbs, and the perfect blend of seasonings. The sauce is made with ketchup, smoked paprika, garlic, and tomato paste. The best meatloaf!
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Welcome to My Kitchen Serenity! If you’re looking for the best meatloaf, then you found the right place! This turned out to be the best homemade meatloaf that I’ve ever made. The reason this meatloaf is so special is because of a special ingredient that I discovered on a whim. I’ll tell you about it in just a bit.
What Makes This Recipe Work
This southern style meatloaf is covered with the best sauce! I call it southern style meatloaf because of the incredible flavors. The meatloaf sauce (or glaze) is a thick, tomato based sauce with a tangy zip and just a hint of hickory smoke. The flavors come together perfectly and it’s the perfect topping for this moist, tender meatloaf.
Meatloaf just seems to be an amazing comfort food, too. Those amazing, delicious smells coming from kitchen as the meatloaf bakes will make your mouth water and your tummy growl. Sometimes, you can smell it before you come through the front door. I’ve had people ask me, “what’s that amazing smell”? Just my meatloaf baking, I’d tell them.
(see recipe card for detailed info)
So, what goes in this meatloaf? Well, mostly meat (lol) and lots of seasonings. FLAVOR is the main personality of southern cooking! For this recipe, we use 11 ingredients to bring out that southern flair:
fresh ground chuck
STEP 1: Preheat oven to 325F. Saute chopped onion in a small amount of olive oil until soft. Set aside.
STEP 2: In a large bowl combine eggs, 3 oz tomato paste, Allegro marinade, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and smoked paprika. A whisk works well at thoroughly combining these ingredients.
STEP 3: Add the ground beef, bread crumbs, and sauteed onions. Mix well but do not over mix. Suggestion: Use your hands, in a kneading fashion, to blend the beef with the egg mixture.
STEP 4: Shape the mixture into a loaf, and place it into a casserole dish or loaf pan that’s been sprayed with non-stick spray.
STEP 5: Mix the topping ingredients then spread on top of the meatloaf. (Note: For extra sauce: Make a double batch of the meatloaf topping and spread 1/2 of it onto the meatloaf before cooking, and spread the other half on top of the meatloaf after baking). Bake uncovered at 325 for about 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
NOTES: (1) You can typically find Allegro Hickory Smoke Marinade in most grocery stores. But if you can’t find it, you can use Worcestershire sauce instead. (2) The best meatloaf starts out with freshest hamburger meat, and preferably ground chuck.
Now about that special ingredient…A lot of great meatloaf recipes call for Worcestershire sauce. I was out of Worcestershire sauce the day I wanted to make a meatloaf so I used the Allegro instead. I already knew Allegro was a great marinade for chicken and steak; and I even add it to flavor green beans so I thought “Why Not Try It.” And now I know it adds a delicious flavor to meatloaf, too! This stuff is awesome and I highly recommend it!
Breadcrumbs are Essential to Meatloaf
Bread crumbs are added to meatloaf to lighten the texture; otherwise, it would have the consistency of a hamburger patty. Bread crumbs also help to bind the meatloaf (hold it together).
A Juicy Meatloaf is a Must
Use a good quality, high-fat content ground beef such as chuck. Don’t leave out any of the liquid (wet) ingredients! Saute the onions in olive oil, and add both (onions and olive oil) to the meat mixture.
Storing Leftovers in the Refrigerator
Store any leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I prefer to use BPA-free glass containers with locking lids. Check out this 18-piece set of glass food storage containers with locking lids from Bayco, available now on Amazon.
Leftover Meatloaf Ideas
IF you have any of this meatloaf leftover, there are many ways to serve it the next day. One way is to serve it as a meatloaf sandwich or poboy. Meatloaf is particularly crazy good in a yeast roll (enter sister shuberts!). Serve it on top of spaghetti or use it as a topping on your favorite pizza crust! How do you serve leftover meatloaf?
After baking, let the meatloaf completely cool off. Place it into a sealable, freezable container. Write the date on the container so you can remember when you froze it. Place the frozen meatloaf in the refrigerator to thaw about 24 hours before you want to eat it. Reheat in the microwave or heat in a 350 oven, covered, until hot.
The key is to “blend” the ground beef with the seasonings and other ingredients with as little action as possible. As stated earlier, I like to use the kneading and folding technique. Use your best judgement; when you can see that the seasonings are evenly distributed, then stop the mixing process. If you over mix, the result could be a more dense meatloaf that could be tough.
What Goes with Meatloaf
Mashed potatoes seem to be the most popular choice. Macaroni & cheese work well, too. Lima beans or corn are always a good choice for us. You can’t go wrong with a green salad if you want to keep the sides “light.” I recommend serving meatloaf with one starch and one non-starchy side. Also, I like to keep a little extra meatloaf sauce topping handy for those who like a wet meatloaf.
If you try this delicious meatloaf recipe, please let me know in the comments below.
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Best of the Best Meatloaf
- 2.25 lbs ground beef, chuck
- 1 cup finely chopped onions (minced)
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp Allegro Hickory Smoke Marinade see recipe note
- 3 oz tomato paste
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- FOR THE MEATLOAF TOPPING:
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- dash pepper
- Preheat oven to 325F. Saute chopped onion in small amount of olive oil until soft. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine eggs, 3 oz tomato paste, Allegro, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and smoked paprika. A whisk works well at thoroughly combining these ingredients.
- Add the ground beef, bread crumbs, and sauteed onions. Mix well but do not over mix. Suggestion: Use your hands, in a kneading fashion, to blend the beef with the egg mixture.
- Shape the mixture into a loaf, and place it into a casserole dish or loaf pan that's been sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Mix the topping ingredients then spread on top of the meatloaf (see Note 3 below). Bake uncovered at 325 for about 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
If you try this recipe and like it, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you!!
TRY SOME OF MY KITCHEN SERENITY’S OTHER RECIPES!