Today is meatloaf for dinner, yum! I often use these helpful tips.
Meatloaf Tips and Hints• For a firmer texture to your meatloaf, use ground meat that has been run through the grinder at least 2 or 3 times.
• The higher the grade of ground meat, the less fat and shrinkage will result. However, keep in mind that less fat means less flavor and moistness.
• Ground chuck is the grade of choice for the most flavor.
• Do not overdo the bread crumbs. An excess can make the loaf spongy.
• Topping the loaf with bacon strips or salt pork adds moisture, flavor and tenderness. Those watching fat content might want to use turkey bacon or other low-fat alternatives.
• Let meatloaf stand about 20 minutes or longer after removal from the oven before serving. This helps it set and makes it easier to slice.
• Add tomato sauce to the meat mixture for added moisture.
• Do not over-knead the mixture or texture will be lost. Mix just enough to combine the ingredients.
• In place of bread crumbs, add a mashed wet slice of white bread and a tablespoon of salad oil.
• If you like using the beef/pork/veal method, feel free to experiment with different ratios as long as the total weight of the meat remains the same in volume.
• For individual servings that bake quickly, mound meat mixture into greased muffin tins, which should be done in about 20 minutes.
• Meatloaf baked in a standard 4-inch by 4-inch by 8-inch loaf pan is baked at 350 degrees F. for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
• Use about 1/2 cup filler per 1 pound of meat. This filler can be bread crumbs, mashed moist bread, oat bran, grated potato, grated carrot, mashed potatoes or wherever your experiments take you.
• Add a cup of grated cheese to the meatloaf mixture before baking, and another 1/2 cup over the top of the loaf during the last 15 minutes of baking.
• Add 1/3 cup of vegetable juice, wine, beef broth, or beer to the mixture for added flavor.
• Soft bread crumbs make a more tender, juicier loaf than dry crumbs. You can briefly soak dry crumbs in a bit of milk before adding.
• One cup of finely grated potato or carrot (or a mixture of both) can be added to the loaf in place of 1/4 pound of the meat to reduce the meat content.
• To minimize cracking, smooth the top of the loaf by rubbing in a little cold water.
• Internal temperature of the meatloaf should register 170 degrees F. for beef or 185 degrees F. for pork.