Meatloaf has come a long way since my childhood. Turns out you can put things besides just beef in it (veggies help!) and you can top it with things other than just ketchup. If only our parents had known that . . .
This Bourbon BBQ Meatloaf takes advantage of all the modern meatloaf tips and tricks, and it completely delivers.
The meatloaf is tender and juicy, sliced thick, and it also makes a great leftover sandwich the next day. I recommend adding a little of the Bourbon BBQ glaze to the meatloaf right as it finishes baking, but also serve plenty on the side for people to drizzle on their slices.
THE SECRET TO TENDER MEATLOAF
Meatloaf has a technical problem. Ground beef tends to dry out when it reaches higher temperatures, but you also need to cook a meatloaf for a long time because it’s so thick and takes a while to cook all the way through. This means that many meatloaf versions just end up being sad dry cubes.
The solution to dry meatloaf isn’t actually to add sauce, it’s to add vegetables! As they get hot, they release moisture, and keep the texture of the meatloaf moist.
Make sure you pulse or mince your vegetables until they are very finely diced, and then quickly sauté them before you add them to the meatloaf mixture. They should almost disappear in the meatloaf as it cooks; you’ll hardly notice they are there. This will keep your meatloaf moist, and ensure that it sticks together! (If you just chop and stir in veggies, your meatloaf will be tough to handle and fall apart.)
Yes, finely chopping and cooking your veggies takes more time, but the results are worth the extra work! Adding the sautéed veggies to the mixture along with a binder and fat means your meatloaf will be juicy and tender!
9×5-inch Non-Stick Loaf Pan
Glazed and Not Confused
Some recipes call for pouring some ketchup on your meatloaf and calling it good. I actually like that classic meatloaf technique just fine, but sometimes a change is nice and this Bourbon BBQ Glaze is the change I need.
While the meatloaf bakes, I recommend simmering the glaze on the stovetop for a few minutes until it reduces enough to coat the back of a spoon. Then let it cool slightly and it’ll thicken into a nice sauce.
I top the meatloaf with some of this near the end of baking, but also reserve some for drizzling on individual pieces. It definitely takes this meatloaf to another level!
HOW TO STORE AND FREEZE MEATLOAF
I do not really believe in freezing meatloaf. It keeps fine in the fridge for a few days and is even good cold (meatloaf sandwiches!), but if you try to freeze the whole loaf then it just turns into a huge block and is hard to thaw.
If you desperately want or need to freeze this meatloaf, slice it up and wrap each slice individually before freezing. Thaw the slices in the fridge overnight and then reheat them either in the microwave for 1 minute on high or (my preference) in a skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of oil until warmed through, 4 to 5 minutes.
Or, if you are looking for an easy-to-freeze meatloaf option, check out my Meatloaf Bites recipe, which freezes much better than a full loaf!
LOOKING FOR MORE GREAT MEATLOAF RECIPES?
- Great Meatloaf with Spinach and Feta
- Turkey Meatloaf
- Moroccan Meatloaf
- Tuscan Meatloaf with Mushroom Sauce
- Classic Meatloaf
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium red or yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
- 1/4 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 pounds ground beef (90/10 blend)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
For the Bourbon BBQ Glaze:
- 1 cup BBQ sauce, homemade or store-bought (I like Stubb’s)
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 9×5 loaf pan