Thursday, April 4, 2013

Good Grinds Yield Great Meatloaf

Good evening everyone! We’ve addressed the misconceptions that follow meatloaf previously on the blog, we’ve talked about, when done correctly, how meatloaf can be quite the culinary delight. We’re all on the same page here then, right? Meatloaf = good. If note, take a look HERE and revisit our last meatloaf foray.

I’ll wait.

Are we all square? Okay! Tonight we’re returning to meatloaf, not because I feel like the last iteration needs to be improved upon, but simply because it’s been a while since we’ve cooked up meatloaf. Plus,  we discovered a new recipe last weekend that just begged to be tested out. So, let’s get cooking!

The Recipe: Good Eats meatloaf
Original Recipe From: “Good Eats: A Grind is a Terrible Thing to Waste”

What You’ll Need:
8-12 Ounces Chuck Roast (Ground)*
8-12 Ounces Sirloin (Ground)*
6 Ounces Garlic Croutons
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
½ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
½ Yellow Onion (Chopped)
1 Carrot (Peeled, chopped)
3 Garlic Cloves
½ Red Bell Pepper
1 Egg

For the glaze:
½ Cup Ketchup
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
Dash Worcestershire Sauce
Dash Hot Sauce
1 Tablespoon honey

* Don’t worry if you cannot find ground sirloin or ground chuck – in fact, the whole premise of this episode of Good Eats is that you shouldn’t buy the pre-ground meats. Instead, look simply for whole chuck steaks or roast and a whole sirloin steak and grind it yourself.
(Yes, it matters that the two meats are chuck and sirloin. You need a high quality meat if you want a high quality finished product – thus the sirloin – but you also need fat for moisture. Sirloin is lean, but chuck roast is higher quality, but contains about 30% fat per pound. That’s the secret to keeping your roast flavorful but not dry.)
I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t have a grinder!” or “I’m not taking the time to grind all of that meat!” Well, fear not dear reader, because those worries are both erroneous. You don’t need a fancy grinder; all you need is a food processor, which, if you do much cooking at all, you likely already have. As far as time, do you have 20 seconds? Because that’s about how long it takes to grind each cut of meat.
More on the grinding later. First, set your oven to 325 degrees and place the oven rack in the center slot.

In a food processor bowl, combine the croutons, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder and thyme. Pulse this mixture until everything is ground to a fine texture. Transfer this mixture to a large bowl and set aside.

Next, combine the onion, carrot, garlic and red pepper in a food processor (you can even use the same bowl) and pulse until the contents are diced. Don’t over pulse to the point that the mixture becomes a puree, however. Transfer this mixture to the same large bowl that you placed the dry mixture in earlier.

Now, turn your attention to grinding the meat. Begin by chopping your steaks into 1 inch cubes. Next, add the meat to a large food processor (you may have to work in smaller sections, don’t overload the bowl) and pulse, 10 times, in one second bursts. By the 10th pulse, you should have a nicely ground cut of meat. Transfer the completed grind to the large bowl with the other ingredients and repeat this process until all of the meat has been ground.

Crack your egg into the large bowl with all the ingredients and then begin mixture the contents by hand. Carefully turn or fold the ingredients until everything is evenly incorporated. Try to avoid grabbing, crushing or balling the meat here, you want the herbs and other ingredients to mix evenly throughout the meat, and clumping the meat up into balls here will prevent that even distribution.

Once everything is mixed, grab your loaf pan. Don’t worry about spraying it with cooking oil or otherwise prepping it for the oven – it’s not going in the oven. See, while a loaf pan is great for giving a meatloaf its shape, it allows the fat from the meat to simply sit and stew on the bottom of the pan. We don’t want that – so we don’t want to cook in the pan.

Press the meat mixture into the pan, now you can compact the meat – in fact, it’s important that you do. If you don’t compress the meat here, when you go to slice the loaf after cooking, it will simply fall apart (I’m speaking from experience here!) Once all of the meat is in your loaf pan and nicely compacted, you can prep your cooking surface by laying a piece of parchment paper on top of a rimmed baking sheet.

Turn the loaf pan over on the parchment paper and give the pan a solid tap. The loaf should drop out easily, leaving you with a beautiful loaf shape standing free on the baking sheet.

Pop the loaf into the oven for 10 minutes. During this time, you can begin working on your glaze. In a small bowl, add all of the glaze ingredients and stir until completely combined. Set this mixture aside until the first 10 minutes of cooking have passed.

After 10 minutes, remove the meatloaf from the oven and brush the glaze over the top and sides until the loaf is completely covered. By letting the loaf cook for 10 minutes, you’re allowing the outside of the meatloaf to form a nice crust, which gives some great texture to the finished loaf. Return the loaf to the oven and allow it to roast until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. This can take anywhere between 45 to 90 minutes (depending on the density of your loaf).
Once your loaf reaches 155 degrees, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes prior to serving. Slice and serve with a side of veggies or on a lightly toasted bun for a meatloaf sandwich. Enjoy!

The Results:

The entire point of the recipe is to show that final dish quality comes right down to which cuts of meat you choose. Simply using ground hamburger for your meatloaf isn’t doing it justice. Premium flavors come from grinding your own blend of chuck and sirloin.

Point proven! This meatloaf is simply delectable, juicy, savory and full of great flavors. The glaze is a welcome departure from most meatloaf glazes – the honey allows the glaze to crust up nicely while the ketchup hot sauce blend keeps the glaze from being overly sweet or overly spicy.

This dish clocks in a little higher on the caloric scale – around 300 calories per slice of meatloaf, but you’ll get about 8 to 12 servings out of it, so it can feed a whole family for a few days or a family of two for an entire week.

That’s all we have for you this week. Next week, we’ve breaking into new territory – a mode of cooking that we’ve previously been unable to harness. Stop in next week for brand new recipes and more culinary adventures. Until then,


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