One of my favorite childhood memories is getting to choose my birthday dinner menu. Every year it was the same thing – Mom’s meatloaf. In my book, this iconic American food reigns supreme in the comfort food category. Meatloaf is an essential link to our past, as traditional to Americans as turkey at Thanksgiving – and this is my family’s traditional recipe.
Mom said the original recipe actually came from her sister, Joyce, but over the years she added her own touches here and there, and when I had my own family, I did the same. It seems every family has their own unique meatloaf recipe – one they’ll swear is the better than all the rest. We have strong opinions about the ratio of ground meats, the special sauce, the spices. I’ve sampled many a meatloaf, and whether from a restaurant menu, or a family gathering, no two have ever tasted the same.
Andrew Smith, a food historian, says the first recorded recipe for modern American meatloaf dates back to the late 1870s. When the Great Depression hit, meatloaf helped home chefs stretch their food budgets by using scraps of cheap protein (ground meats) with leftover bits of vegetables, grains, bread, and spices. And it’s not just an American staple. International variations are plentiful, but all start with ground meats and ingredients specific to their cultural tastes.
This recipe uses both ground beef and ground pork, with low-carb bread and reduced sugar ketchup. The hot pork sausage adds an extra shot of flavor and zing. And the sauce, well, the sauce is heaven. It’s what makes this recipe unique and moist. No dry meatloaf here.
Oh the leftovers! Nothing short of fantastic. Today, Mike and I ate sliced meatloaf from the fridge, smothered in pimento cheese. Double yum. It’s great served cold, or reheated on the stovetop or in the oven. We’re so happy to share our recipe with your family!
Aunt Joyce’s Savory Meatloaf
- 1.5 lbs 80/20 ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork sausage (hot variety)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1 chopped medium onion
- 2 slices low-carb bread We use Dave’s Killer thin-sliced 21 whole grains and seeds, moistened with hot water, then squeezed out
- 3 tbsp Heinz reduced sugar ketchup
- 1 cup tomato sauce We use Publix brand tomato sauce with only 8 net carbs per cup
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp Heinz 57 sauce
- Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix only until ingredients are incorporated. Over-mixing will result in too dense a texture! Hint: we use disposable gloves to combine ingredients when using raw meat.
- Form into a loaf and place in 9 x 11 pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 350° F.
- While the meatloaf is baking, mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Remove the loaf from the oven and pour the sauce mixture over the top. Bake another 30-40 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your loaf.
- Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Spoon the sauce over the slices and enjoy!