This recipe is one of those I WISH my parents were still alive not only to taste but to see me eat. See growing up I REFUSED to eat or go near meatloaf. It was chalked full of hunks of onions (that I swore would kill me if I ingested one), tomatoes and just flat-out yucky stuff. The only meatloaf I would eat would be my grandma’s as while she used tomatoes, onions and peppers she minced them to the point you needed an eagle eye to find them in the dish. I cut a piece off, give it a thorough look through and if I didn’t see an onion I’d eat it. However the first one I spotted then the dinner was over for me and I was grabbing a pb&j. I just couldn’t do the chunks man.
However now I’ve grown to love onions (not raw) and peppers (not green as they still are yucky) and can tell when they are missing from the dish. I also now love meatloaf…MY meatloaf TYVM! I know I’m a snob, but I like what I like. We all are food snobs or better yet, we should be. Now let me clarify, we should only be food snobs when we are paying for a prepared meal. I’m sorry but if I’m paying you for a dish the food and quality should be good. The price of the dish is irrelevant. Okay sure if it’s a 99cents burger then I wouldn’t exactly expect to have it made out of kobe beef however it still can be really good.
This recipe is one that honestly kinda just came to be. See I was cleaning out my big freezer again – I have been doing this a lot lately only because truthfully I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to properly food shop. And since I never EVER do take-out I have to go with what I have on hand. Well okay I should clarify why I don’t do take out. There is zilch stuff here in countrybumpkinville. Yes we have a chain type pizza shop but you all know how I feel about those. Nope, no way, no how. I do not do mass-frozen/re-heated foods.
As I was pretty much shoulder-deep in my big freezer I found a bag of pre-made Cowboy Meatball mixture. Those meatballs are super juicy and that sauce is killer! Immediately I knew I had to make these. Into the fridge the bag went to defrost and on to my other chores. Hours later I took the thawed out bag out and whipped up a batch of the cowboy bbq sauce to go with it. As I was grabbing the stuff from the fridge I spied my plate Crispy Potato Cake Stacks. These things are awesome and one of the best ways to use up leftover mashed potatoes. Since the stacks were not shaped to match the size of a meatball I knew I couldn’t go with making them. They wouldn’t line up and I’m one of those anal people who need stuff balanced.
So I threw out the notion of meatballs and opted to make this as a meatloaf. I shaped it into the traditional meatloaf shape and popped it into the oven. Now I’m not one that uses a loaf pan to make mine. It’s just not something I ever did nor my Mom or grandma. It was always free-form shaped and I guess made it more comfort-life. Plus by leaving the sides exposed you get that semi-crispy exterior that seals in all the moistness.
After I put that first pass of bbq sauce over the meatloaf and it baked for about 15 minutes the smells were intoxicating! It was incredible and honestly I was chomping at the bit cursing my oven for not working faster. Like I KNEW this was going to be good however it wasn’t until we sat down to dig our fork into these did I know just how good they really were. As this was baking Mr. Fantabulous came out to the kitchen, nose sniffing away asking what I was making. He knew something good was coming up because that smell alone of the almost caramelized bbq sauce was mouthwatering.
Alas the meatloaf had another 30 or so to bake and then 10-15 to rest before we could eat. I think I made him a snack to hold him over for dinner – dinner lite as he would call it. It’s a prequel to dinner that doesn’t “count” towards your real meal. God, if only calories really worked like that! “Yes I’ll eat those big bowl of ice cream before dinner, call it dinner lite therefore it has zero calories.” If only…
sigh… hate his unreal metabolism!
Finally it was done but as I said it needed to rest for 10-15 minutes before we could slice it. If I sliced it then it would have fell apart and while it would have tasted awesome it would have been a big ol’ mess. So while I let it rest I put the potato cakes back in the oven to let them crisp up and get all warm on the inside. After about 15 minutes I took the stacks out of the oven and placed one on each dinner plate. I then sliced the meatloaf into 1″ thick slices. I, of course, at the end and he got the next piece. See I love the end and he hates it. Perfect for us both.
Now I did go to just serve them as-is but they looked a bit bare. Sure the top had the caramelized bbq sauce on top but not the sides that were cut. So I took my stacks with the meatloaf slices off of the plates, placed them on a baking sheet, cranked the oven to broil and ladled on a bit more bbq sauce on top of the slices. Just a few minutes under the broiler and that sauce was all caramelized and bubbling. THAT’s what this recipe needed. It added amazing presentation and hey it was a way to get more sauce on these things.
As I plated these my finger accidentally-on-purpose touched some of the caramelized bbq sauce. When I set the plates down I licked the sauce off my fingers. OMG people! No seriously.. OMG! If Mr. Fantabulous hadn’t been already seated at the table I may not have called him to eat only so I could have eaten his serving as well! It was sticky, sweet, smokey and tangy. It was PERFECT! As I explained to him how to eat these to is to slice a piece that has both the potato stack and meatloaf in every single bite. Trust me on this… you can thank me later for this bit of advice!
So if you just can’t seem to get your family to eat meatloaf, make this recipe and serve it just like this! It doesn’t look like traditional meatloaf – it’s sexy and incredibly delicious! Your family will love this as will you!Print
- 3 lbs ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 cup minced onion
- 2 cups oatmeal, not instant
- 2 tsp salt
- 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 2 cups ketchup
- 2 Tbl liquid smoke
- 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 cup bbq sauce (not honey)
- Potato Cake Stacks, warmed
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add all of the ingredients for the sauce.
- Cook until thick and bubbly; stirring occasionally. ~10 minutes.
- To make the meatloaf mix all the meatloaf ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet and using your hands, form a loaf that is about 12 inches long, 6 inches wide, and about 2 1/2-3 inches tall. The loaf should be smooth and have rounded edges. This will help the loaf stay together when serving.
- Bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and spread the bbq sauce on top of the meatloaf, dripping over the sides.
- Place back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and spread more of the bbq sauce over top.
- Place back in the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting.
- Put the oven to broil and put the rack in the upper third of the oven.
- Place a Potato Cake Stacks down on parchment lined baking sheet, slice a 1” thick slab of the meatloaf and place on top of that.
- Ladle some bbq sauce on top and place the pan in the oven for a few minutes or until the bbq sauce is bubbling and starts to brown/caramelize.
- Remove from the oven and serve.