Many years ago at a church potluck, someone asked Jerri for her meat loaf recipe. “I don’t have one,” she said, but she shared some tips with the admirer of the loaf that evening.
It’s possible that part of the magic of her meat loaf is the fact that she bakes it on a rack in the oven, so any excess fat cooks out of the loaf as it cooks. I followed her advice and bake my meatloaf on a rack as well. I won’t say that it is a low fat loaf, but it never tastes greasy, even when I eat it cold in a meat loaf sandwich.
Here is the way that I usually make meat loaf today, and Jerri approves. I sometimes cut this recipe in half or substitute one or two dashes of garlic powder for fresh garlic, but the result is still very tasty.
2 lbs. 85% lean ground beef
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 medium onion (2 1/2 – 3 inches)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup plus extra for glaze
1 1/2 cups cracker crumbs
2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 325º F.
Crush the soda crackers between sheets of waxed paper. Peel and chop the onion to about a 3/16 inch dice and peel and mince the garlic. You should have about a cup of chopped onion. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well with a fork or with your hands.
Shape the meat into two loaves and place them on a baking rack in a pan. Squeeze a little ketchup on top of each loaf as a glaze.
Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
NOTE: Testing my last meat loaf for doneness with our instant read thermometer prompts me to suggest that every cook should have one of those little gadgets. Ours is an inexpensive analog thermometer that registers only to 220 degrees, but it has served us well for many years and ended the guesswork about when the roasts were done.