Many people think of Meatloaf as some sort of blah food. It is what it is. Hamburger, some onion, an egg, maybe some ketchup or BBQ sauce, maybe some breadcrumbs, etc. Nothing all to exciting. Well, if your meatloaf is missing that certain something that you can't put your finger on, then take notes. It's pretty amazing what a grill and a couple apple chunks can do for meatloaf.
Here is the process for making the meatloaf. I made two small meatloaves. About 2 pounds each. I started with two pounds of ground sirloin and two pounds of ground chuck:
I added just a little garlic:
Some fresh grated Romano:
Half a diced medium onion:
Then I added some ketchup and a beaten egg:
Worcestershire sauce with some emulsified garlic:
After that I added many turns black pepper, about a teaspoon and a half of salt, and a few squirts of Chipotle Tobasco Sauce and then mixed it all together with my hands.
***One very important note for meat loaf. Do not knead the meat too much. Mix the ingredients all together but do not mash the meat up too much. You actually want the meatloaves to remain porous. It should have cracks and crevices (unlike a stuffed fatty).
Here are the two loaves in their perspective pans:
The one on the left I slathered with regular tobasco. I was out of my fave, the Chipotle, so I added some Penzey's Chipotle powder on top of the Tobasco. Since the wife isn't into hot food I put a toothpick in that one to differentiate that from the one I did not spice up.
I was heading to probably the only place in St. Louis that sells Halloumi cheese when I stopped in to my favorite wine store in the St. Louis area - Grapevine Wines. At first I got a rather quizzical look from one of the proprietors when I asked what would pair well with grilled meatloaf. I was thinking a merlot but he recommended a French Red to me. As I have said on many occasions that I am not someone that drinks European wines as I just don't know that much about them. I will drink one on someones recommendation but I don't really touch them much. But these guys at Grapevines know what they are talking about. They have never sent me astray. They don't run a store where they push something just because they have a lot of it. When they recommend something I know it's going to be amazing. And as usual they were correct:
I was told that this Vacqueyras Red Rhone would be spectacular and that the last glass would be the best due to aeration of the wine. So I decanted the wine for about 30 minutes so it would be well aerated for every glass:
I have to tell you the wine was spectacular and paired perfectly with the meat loaf. Just to be honest, I do not have any marketing agreement whatsoever with Grapevines. I just love the store and the people that run/own the place are top notch.
Enough gushing about Grapevines. Time to go check on my fire. Seems that it just may be ready to dump my charcoal chimney into the grill:
While the wine was aerating I put the meatloaves on the grill, coals to the top with a chunk of apple and the meatloaves towards the bottom so that I get some smoke flavor while taking some time to cook the meatloaves:
Despite the high wind and cold temps I was able to keep the temp at right about 300 for most of the session:
I would've liked to have gotten the temp to 350 for 60 minutes. But I just couldn't get the fire that hot in that wind. So I went with 300 degrees for 90 minutes.
About an hour in the loaves are looking pretty good (as well as some Halloumi cheese I added which I will talk about in another thread):
After 90 minutes I pulled the loaves off the grill to rest inside. I took these pictures before I drained the fat out of the pans:
My wife was kind enough to offer this wonderful bowl full of mash potatoes as her contribution to the meal:
My favorite comfort food in the world is meatloaf and mash potatoes. I was about to be in heaven.
And here we have the meat loaf plated over a pile of those excellent mash potatoes:
What I should've done differently:
- My dad suggested I mix a pound of sausage into the meat instead of going all beef. I probably should've done this. I needed a bit more fat since half the meat was ground sirloin.
- With that in mind I should've done a second egg. A meat loaf should be a bit wet after everything is mixed together and this wasn't. The flavor was still great, it was just missing a bit of the fattiness that would've made it stellar...