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 Need help! Fix my meatloaf!

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ROHfan

  • Total Posts: 89
  • Joined: 8/30/2006
  • Location: West Babylon, NY
Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Mon, 04/1/13 8:51 PM (permalink)
I love meatloaf. I've been working on my recipe for two years and I finally have the flavor the way I want it. But I can't get the texture right. I like a juicy, yet very firm loaf. Almost to the point of being "springy."  I hate mushy meatloaf and I absolutely despise grainy-textured loafs. Am I using too many eggs? Not enough? Too much/little bread cubes? ARRRGGGGGHHHH!
 
Here's my recipe. Tell me what the H-E-double hockey sticks I'm doing wrong:
 
2lb meatloaf mix (beef/pork/veal)
1 medium onion, minced
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tb worcestershire
1 ts ground pepper
1 envelope onion soup mix
3 eggs
4 slices white bread, cubed
1/4 cup milk
1/2 ts ground mustard
2Tb brown sugar
BBQ sauce for glazing
 
Method:
 
Place bread cubes in small bowl and pour some of the milk over it to make cubes moist. Then , mix all ingredients, except bread cubes, milk and BBQ sauce, in large bowl. Fold in meatloaf mix gently until all ingredients are combined. Do not over-work mixture. Add moistened bread cubes and remix loaf being careful not to over-work the mixture.
 
(Optional: smear butter on bottom of loaf pan and add two slices of white bread to the bottom of pan. Form loaf on top of bread)
 
Form into loaf and put in lightly greased shallow ceramic pan. Brush with BBQ sauce. Bake at 350 for 1 hr until temp. gauge reads 160 deg. F. (I may need to leave it in the oven longer?)
 
Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
 
 
So, what am I doing wrong?
 
Bill
 
#1
    Cosmos

    • Total Posts: 1448
    • Joined: 5/14/2002
    • Location: Syracuse, NY
    Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Mon, 04/1/13 10:16 PM (permalink)
    Well, you need to tell us what you think is wrong in the first place. Personally I don't measure anything in my meatloaf, but If I were making yours, I'd drop one egg and one slice of bread (maybe two). I never use soup mix, though I doubt that affects your texture. Never use milk , mustard, brown sugar ,or BBQ sauce either....but then you'd probably hate my meatloaf...
     
    #2
      billyboy

      • Total Posts: 2363
      • Joined: 1/23/2005
      • Location: New York City, NY
      Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Mon, 04/1/13 10:29 PM (permalink)
      Hey ROHfan, where does your meatloaf fall on the mushy-grainy spectrum?
       
      #3
        CajunKing

        • Total Posts: 6317
        • Joined: 7/6/2006
        • Location: Live at Saint Clair
        • Roadfood Insider
        Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Mon, 04/1/13 11:38 PM (permalink)
        ROHfan
         
        Try toasting the bread cubes or let out to stale the night before.
        Doing this will allow them to soak up more liquid in your mix and should help to get rid of the "mushy"ness and firming up your loaf
         
        you can also substiture saltines and crumble them up into the mix or oats work too.
         
        #4
          Foodbme

          • Total Posts: 9548
          • Joined: 9/1/2006
          • Location: Gilbert, AZ
          Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Tue, 04/2/13 1:22 AM (permalink)
          "Juicy yet very firm' is a little bit of a contridiction.
          Juicy is usually not firm and firm is not generally juicy. 
           
          #5
            ann peeples

            • Total Posts: 8317
            • Joined: 5/21/2006
            • Location: West Allis, Wisconsin
            Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Tue, 04/2/13 5:44 AM (permalink)
            I use dried bread crumbs-never bread. I dont add milk.  And two eggs are generally enough for two lbs of meat. My meatloaf turns out firm, and juicy. By the way-my glaze is basically brown sugar, ketchup and worchestershire sauce. Get rid of your bbq sauce and try that.I think too much liquid in the meat mixture....
             
            #6
              tcrouzer

              • Total Posts: 430
              • Joined: 5/26/2003
              • Location: Burlington, NC
              Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Tue, 04/2/13 7:08 AM (permalink)
              Recently I read that to firm up your meatloaf, pat it firmly all over once the loaf is formed and in the pan. I made meatloaf just this past Friday and did the patting/molding once I had the entire recipe in a glass rectangular pan (not a loaf pan, but bigger). It really helped the loaf to slice well and the slices to hold their shape.
               
              Another suggestion: chop your vegetables very finely in a food processor or blender. I had 3/4 cup each celery, peppers, and onion in the recipe I made Friday. I think the vegetables help the loaf to be more juicy - they are mostly water after all. I saw Lidia Bastianich do this with her meatloaf recipe that I made a month or so ago - very good!
               
              I use my Kitchen Aid mixer to make meatloaf: put the bread crumbs/cubes in the mixer bowl, pour over any milk, catsup, tomato soup/juice, or other liquid, add the mush of finely chopped vegetables and seasonings, add an egg or two, then add in the ground meats by the handful at a time. Blend a few turns of the mixer paddle, then add in more handfuls of meat until all is incorporated.
              <message edited by tcrouzer on Tue, 04/2/13 7:11 AM>
               
              #7
                ann peeples

                • Total Posts: 8317
                • Joined: 5/21/2006
                • Location: West Allis, Wisconsin
                Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Tue, 04/2/13 8:16 AM (permalink)
                We all have, what we consider, our tried and true recipe.I, too, add celery, onion and green pepper. i also add a packet of onion soup, as ROH does. And I still mix mine by hand. I can tell by the feel, when it is right.
                 
                #8
                  hatteras04

                  • Total Posts: 1070
                  • Joined: 5/14/2003
                  • Location: Columbus, OH
                  Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Tue, 04/2/13 9:25 AM (permalink)
                  I got a tip from watching an episode of Throwdown on the food network.  In the meatloaf episode, the winners (not Booby Flay) softened the vegetables before adding them to the meat mixture.  I chop up onion, celery, and carrrots and soften for about 5-6 minutes then I add a packet of soup mixture to the pan for the last couple of minutes.  Other than that it's pretty standard.  I do switch up the filler depending on what I haev handy.  The last few times I have used panko breadcrumbs and it turned out great.  I just used more than normal since they are not nearly as dense as regular breadcrumbs.
                   
                  #9
                    CCinNJ

                    • Total Posts: 7745
                    • Joined: 7/24/2008
                    • Location: Bayonne, NJ
                    Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Tue, 04/2/13 9:47 AM (permalink)
                    Drop at least one egg (if not two) and try using very small croutons or Panko instead of the white bread.
                     
                    #10
                      Ivyhouse

                      • Total Posts: 329
                      • Joined: 3/27/2006
                      • Location: Bethesda, MD
                      Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Tue, 04/2/13 9:48 AM (permalink)
                      I don't measure the ingredients as precisely as listed in your recipe, ROHfan.  They are generally the same, the major differences being:
                      1. instead of ketchup I use Heinz chili sauce
                      2. I grate the onion instead of mincing it
                      3. I don't use bread or milk -- dry breadcrumbs only; sorry, no exact measure here, maybe at most 1/2 cup
                      4. I use 1 egg for about 2 pounds of beef, not 3 
                       
                       
                      #11
                        Twinwillow

                        • Total Posts: 4896
                        • Joined: 4/15/2006
                        • Location: "Big D"
                        Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Tue, 04/2/13 1:10 PM (permalink)
                        Ask 10 people how they like or make their meatloaf and you'll get 10 different answers. My (late mother's) basic recipe as follows:
                        (Combine by hand lightly, being careful not to overwork the mixture)
                        2 LBS ground chuck (You're not making meatballs so, no pork or veal)
                        2 eggs
                        1  Large grated (and then drained of excess juice) strong yellow onion.
                        2  Garlic cloves mashed in a garlic press.
                        About a cup of Panko (mom used white bread) soaked in just enough whole milk to make fairly wet.
                        Kosher salt to taste.
                        Fresh cracked pepper to taste.
                        A dash or two of L&P Worcestershire. No more!
                        1 to 1-1/4 cup Hunt's (mom used Heinz) ketchup. About a 1/2 cup (or more) mixed well in the loaf and about a 1/2 cup or so spread over the top of the formed loaf for a glaze.
                         
                        I don't use a metal meatloaf pan. I form my loaf inside a large oval ceramic or pottery baking dish with room to spare around the formed loaf.
                        Note: I make a shallow, narrow channel down the top of the loaf lengthwise before I spread the ketchup glaze on.
                        I don't know why but, that's what my mom did.
                        Put in a 350〫oven for one hour. Then remove and let stand for 15-20 minutes.
                         
                        It's a simple but delicious recipe and, I love it!
                         
                         
                         
                         
                         
                        #12
                          kevincad

                          • Total Posts: 399
                          • Joined: 1/23/2008
                          • Location: Snellville, GA
                          Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Tue, 04/2/13 1:32 PM (permalink)
                          ROHfan


                          I love meatloaf. I've been working on my recipe for two years and I finally have the flavor the way I want it. But I can't get the texture right. I like a juicy, yet very firm loaf. Almost to the point of being "springy."  I hate mushy meatloaf and I absolutely despise grainy-textured loafs. Am I using too many eggs? Not enough? Too much/little bread cubes? ARRRGGGGGHHHH!

                          Here's my recipe. Tell me what the H-E-double hockey sticks I'm doing wrong:

                          2lb meatloaf mix (beef/pork/veal)
                          1 medium onion, minced
                          1/4 cup ketchup
                          2 Tb worcestershire
                          1 ts ground pepper
                          1 envelope onion soup mix
                          3 eggs
                          4 slices white bread, cubed
                          1/4 cup milk
                          1/2 ts ground mustard
                          2Tb brown sugar
                          BBQ sauce for glazing

                          Method:

                          Place bread cubes in small bowl and pour some of the milk over it to make cubes moist. Then , mix all ingredients, except bread cubes, milk and BBQ sauce, in large bowl. Fold in meatloaf mix gently until all ingredients are combined. Do not over-work mixture. Add moistened bread cubes and remix loaf being careful not to over-work the mixture.

                          (Optional: smear butter on bottom of loaf pan and add two slices of white bread to the bottom of pan. Form loaf on top of bread)

                          Form into loaf and put in lightly greased shallow ceramic pan. Brush with BBQ sauce. Bake at 350 for 1 hr until temp. gauge reads 160 deg. F. (I may need to leave it in the oven longer?)

                          Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


                          So, what am I doing wrong?

                          Bill

                          I make my meatloaf by memory, but I too have a problem with mine, in that it falls apart. It has a fantastic taste, and I like the texture, except it falls apart. If I tighten it up with something then the texture and taste doesn't quite match. 
                           
                          #13
                            SeamusD

                            • Total Posts: 939
                            • Joined: 4/1/2008
                            • Location: Syracuse, NY
                            Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Tue, 04/2/13 1:39 PM (permalink)
                            It's all subjective, I guess. I use panko bread crumbs instead of soaked bread, some diced tomatoes and juice, and no eggs.
                             
                            #14
                              kevincad

                              • Total Posts: 399
                              • Joined: 1/23/2008
                              • Location: Snellville, GA
                              Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Tue, 04/2/13 3:31 PM (permalink)
                              SeamusD


                              It's all subjective, I guess. I use panko bread crumbs instead of soaked bread, some diced tomatoes and juice, and no eggs.

                              I use diced tomato as well, but I use an egg or two. I love the diced tomato in my meatloaf, but I'm sure it's a reason it may fall apart! I also saute onion and some bell pepper a little before adding it. 
                               
                              #15
                                ann peeples

                                • Total Posts: 8317
                                • Joined: 5/21/2006
                                • Location: West Allis, Wisconsin
                                Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Tue, 04/2/13 7:49 PM (permalink)
                                I will take Twinwillow's recipe for $1000, Alex!
                                 
                                #16
                                  ROHfan

                                  • Total Posts: 89
                                  • Joined: 8/30/2006
                                  • Location: West Babylon, NY
                                  Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Tue, 04/2/13 10:14 PM (permalink)
                                  Wow, lots of different opinions! That's a good thing.
                                   
                                  To the dude that said "juicy and firm" is a contradiction, I don't agree. I've had meatloaf at a diner that was just that, and that's what I've been striving for ever since.
                                   
                                  I think I will try Panko bread crumbs next time and reduce eggage to 2. Everything else is staying the same. I will post my findings in a new thread.
                                   
                                  Also, to the poster with the loaf falling apart: It's possible you didn't mix it nearly enough. CIP, my wife made a meatloaf last week and, while tasty, was riddled with fault lines and the flavor fluctuated from being "too intense" to "completely tasteless."
                                   
                                  #17
                                    Twinwillow

                                    • Total Posts: 4896
                                    • Joined: 4/15/2006
                                    • Location: "Big D"
                                    Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Wed, 04/3/13 1:28 AM (permalink)
                                    ann peeples


                                    I will take Twinwillow's recipe for $1000, Alex!

                                    Ann, you're sweet. Thank you.
                                     
                                    #18
                                      ann peeples

                                      • Total Posts: 8317
                                      • Joined: 5/21/2006
                                      • Location: West Allis, Wisconsin
                                      Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Wed, 04/3/13 4:01 AM (permalink)
                                      Twinwillow-ask anybody, sweet is hardly how I am described....but I really can be!!!LOL!And I meant it....
                                       
                                      #19
                                        Twinwillow

                                        • Total Posts: 4896
                                        • Joined: 4/15/2006
                                        • Location: "Big D"
                                        Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Wed, 04/3/13 12:01 PM (permalink)
                                        ann peeples


                                        Twinwillow-ask anybody, sweet is hardly how I am described....but I really can be!!!LOL!And I meant it....

                                         
                                        Regardless Ann, I think it was very sweet of you to be so complimentary. 
                                         
                                        #20
                                          ann peeples

                                          • Total Posts: 8317
                                          • Joined: 5/21/2006
                                          • Location: West Allis, Wisconsin
                                          Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Wed, 04/3/13 12:52 PM (permalink)
                                          Well, Twin, I pretty much make mine the same way( Moms recipe) but I do add minced celery.And I add brown sugar to the ketchup on top. Lord, I guess I have to make meatloaf today! And, by the way, no veal or pork in mine, as well!
                                           
                                          #21
                                            chewingthefat

                                            • Total Posts: 6093
                                            • Joined: 11/22/2007
                                            • Location: Emmitsburg, Md.
                                            Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Wed, 04/3/13 5:49 PM (permalink)
                                            3 eggs for 2 lbs. of product, use 1. Milk??? use none. Use bread crumbs, Poupon Mustard instead of Ground, add a few teaspoons of grated Parmesean cheese. The mixture you make is far too wet for a 2 lb. Meatloaf, it can't get rid of all that moisture before it's done!
                                             
                                            #22
                                              EdSails

                                              • Total Posts: 3559
                                              • Joined: 5/9/2003
                                              • Location: Mission Viejo, CA
                                              Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Wed, 04/3/13 6:52 PM (permalink)
                                              I shred finely 3 carrots and mix it in the the meat mix. Adds a touch of sweetness, seems to hold the meatloaf together better and adds to the moistness. Give it a try!
                                               
                                              #23
                                                rebeltruce

                                                • Total Posts: 698
                                                • Joined: 9/8/2006
                                                • Location: Culpeper, VA
                                                Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Wed, 04/3/13 6:54 PM (permalink)
                                                Lose and egg or two, that's going to go a long way in giving you what you're looking for.
                                                 
                                                #24
                                                  ann peeples

                                                  • Total Posts: 8317
                                                  • Joined: 5/21/2006
                                                  • Location: West Allis, Wisconsin
                                                  Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Wed, 04/3/13 7:07 PM (permalink)
                                                  Ed-Bob hates zucchini-I have been known on occasion to grate some in the meatloaf-good idea with carrots!
                                                   
                                                  #25
                                                    agnesrob

                                                    • Total Posts: 1790
                                                    • Joined: 6/4/2006
                                                    • Location: Park Ridge, NJ
                                                    Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Wed, 04/3/13 7:31 PM (permalink)
                                                    I have a few different recipes that I make sometimes depending on what I have on hand. I usually use at least three pounds of ground meat and form it into two loaves. I leave one plain and the other I baste with whatever BBQ sauce I have on hand. For the plain one I use a packet of mushroom gravy mix to serve with it. When I make the gravy mix , I use 3/4 cups of water and 1/4 cup of red wine. My gravy lovers love it!
                                                    I have used many different add ins including cream of mushroom or golden mushroom soup fresh and dry bread crumbs and a variety of finely chopped vegetables. I also really like a recipe I tore out of a Martha Stewart magazine many years ago.

                                                    Martha Stewart's All American Meatloaf

                                                    Ingredients
                                                     
                                                    • 3 slices white bread ( crust removed)
                                                    • 1 cup carrots ( shredded)
                                                    • 1 celery ribs ( minced)
                                                    • 1/2 cup onions ( minced)
                                                    • 2 garlic cloves ( minced)
                                                    • 1/2 cup ketchup
                                                    • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
                                                    • 8 ounces ground round
                                                    • 8 ounces ground pork
                                                    • 8 ounces ground veal
                                                    • 2 eggs ( beaten)
                                                    • 2 teaspoons salt
                                                    • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
                                                    • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
                                                    • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary ( chopped)
                                                    • 3 tablespoons ketchup
                                                    • 2 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
                                                    • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
                                                    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
                                                    .
                                                    Ingredients
                                                    • 1/2 cup red onions ( cut in rings)
                                                    • 3 tablespoons water
                                                    • 1 tablespoon rosemary ( garnish)
                                                    Directions
                                                    1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
                                                    2. Process or crumble the bread and combine with the minced vegetables in a large bowl.
                                                    3. Mix the meat, eggs and seasonings together in a bowl. Knead until thoroughly combined. Add meat mixture to the crumbs/veggie mixture. Combine, but don't over mix.
                                                    4. Set a wire rack over an 11 x 17 baking pan. Cut a 5 x 11 piece of parchment paper and place it on the rack.
                                                    5. Form the meat mixture into and elongated loaf on the parchment paper.
                                                    6. Mix the next 3 ingredients together and baste the loaf--set aside.
                                                    7. Heat the oil and sauté the onion rings. When soft and golden in places, add water and cook until most of the water evaporates. Garnish the loaf with the onion rings.
                                                    8. Bake 30 minutes, then sprinkle rosemary needles on top. Continue baking for another 25 minutes. Cool on rack for 15 minutes before serving.
                                                     I call it my fancy meatloaf. I've also cooked my meatloaf on my charcoal grill using a little smoke. Very yummy! Nothing like a smoke ring in your meatloaf!
                                                    So, I'm sorry ROHfan, I'm not sure what's wrong with your meatloaf. I always tweak mine even when using a recipe.
                                                    My favorite way to eat it is the next day, cold on a sandwich. It is one of the very few things I like ketchup on!
                                                     
                                                     
                                                    #26
                                                      ROHfan

                                                      • Total Posts: 89
                                                      • Joined: 8/30/2006
                                                      • Location: West Babylon, NY
                                                      Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Fri, 04/12/13 4:45 PM (permalink)
                                                      Okay, trying the meatloaf recipe tonight with some of the above suggestions. I will use 1 cup of Panko BC instead of cubed bread, and no milk. Also 2 eggs instead of 3, the rest is the same. I will report back after digestion.
                                                       
                                                      B
                                                       
                                                      #27
                                                        EdSails

                                                        • Total Posts: 3559
                                                        • Joined: 5/9/2003
                                                        • Location: Mission Viejo, CA
                                                        Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Sat, 04/13/13 2:39 AM (permalink)
                                                        ann peeples


                                                        Ed-Bob hates zucchini-I have been known on occasion to grate some in the meatloaf-good idea with carrots!

                                                         
                                                        Ann, the other big advantage with the carrots is you can tell people it's "healthy" meatloaf.
                                                        Just make sure they don't notice the 15 strips of bacon criss-crossing the top.........
                                                         

                                                         
                                                        #28
                                                          EdSails

                                                          • Total Posts: 3559
                                                          • Joined: 5/9/2003
                                                          • Location: Mission Viejo, CA
                                                          Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Sat, 04/13/13 2:43 AM (permalink)
                                                          ann peeples


                                                          Ed-Bob hates zucchini-I have been known on occasion to grate some in the meatloaf-good idea with carrots!

                                                           
                                                          Ann,
                                                          The carrot also helps by letting you tell everyone the meatloaf is "healthy".
                                                          Just make sure they don't notice the 15 strips of bacon criss-crossing the top........
                                                           

                                                           
                                                          #29
                                                            Michael Hoffman

                                                            • Total Posts: 17815
                                                            • Joined: 7/1/2000
                                                            • Location: Gahanna, OH
                                                            Re:Need help! Fix my meatloaf! Sat, 04/13/13 1:20 PM (permalink)
                                                            EdSails


                                                            ann peeples


                                                            Ed-Bob hates zucchini-I have been known on occasion to grate some in the meatloaf-good idea with carrots!


                                                            Ann, the other big advantage with the carrots is you can tell people it's "healthy" meatloaf.
                                                            Just make sure they don't notice the 15 strips of bacon criss-crossing the top.........



                                                            I never use more than three strips of bacon -- longitudinally.
                                                             
                                                            #30
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