Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Oct 14, 2011 at 5:48am


When I started asking food friends what they think makes a great meatloaf, three separate people said ask Chef Stephen Trojahn of Gastrotruck, because his smoked meatloaf sliders are amazing.

So I sent him a note, and he kindly shared the following tips!

1. Start with excellent, grass-fed beef.
2. Test & taste your mixture (by frying off a bit first), adjust seasoning as needed.
3. If you don’t have a smoker, add a few slices of smoked, finely diced & rendered bacon to the mixture.
4. Let it rest. It’s even better if you let it come to room temperature then chill overnight.

I took those ideas and incorporated them into a recent favorite recipe by Chef Damon Wise. Both Trojahn and Wise endeavor to add layers of flavor to their meatloaf, with Trojahn adding the killer touch of cooking his in a smoker. If you have a smoker, do that! Absolutely delicious.

(Gluten-free note: I substituted gluten-free bread with excellent results.)

Adapted from recipes by Damon Wise & Stephen Trojahn
Serves 6

2 slices bacon, finely diced
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. grass-fed beef
1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs, soaked in milk to cover
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. dried mustard
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Saute until bacon is just starting to brown, then remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and reserve. With the skillet and drippings still over medium heat, add onion to the pan and saute until softened and starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and set aside to cool.

Place ground beef in a large bowl. Squeeze milk from bread crumbs and add to the beef, along with the Parmesan, mustard, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and eggs. Add reserved bacon and sauteed onion mixture. Using your hands, gently mix the beef mixture.

(Pat out a couple of tablespoons of the mixture and fry it until doneā€“taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. The Parmesan cheese adds a layer of saltiness but can vary widely, so be ready to add a bit more salt if needed.)

Transfer beef to the parchment-lined baking sheet and gently form into a roll, about 12 x 4 inches. Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Brush with glaze and continue baking another 15 minutes or internal temperature is 160 degrees. Let meatloaf rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with more sauce.

To rest overnight, cool meatloaf to room temperature, cover, and chill. Slice and fry slices in a skillet until warmed through.

Makes about 1 cup

1 c. ketchup
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne (or more to taste)

Stir ingredients together in a small bowl.

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Older Comments

  1. By FreshTartSteph on October 17, 2011 at 7:14PM

    Cold rocks. For breakfast. Although LOVE your take. Oh meatloaf, be still my beating heart ;)

  2. By fuzzles on October 17, 2011 at 1:08PM

    You have more patience than I, Steph. Mine almost never makes it to the pan. Love it cold with cheese, purple onion, lettuce, and toe-may-toe!

  3. By FreshTartSteph on October 17, 2011 at 12:02PM

    fuzzles - Seriously! Heated up with a bit of a fry...gah. YEAH.

  4. By fuzzles on October 17, 2011 at 11:53AM

    Gotta agree on the resting and chilling as well. There are few things quite as delicious as a next-day meatloaf sandwich. :feedme:

  5. By fuzzles on October 17, 2011 at 11:51AM

    Bacon just makes everything better.

  6. By FreshTartSteph on October 15, 2011 at 6:03AM

    Hi sweetsugarbean! The meatloaf thanks you, ha, love it! Yes & yes on bacon & Parm!
    Hi carpeseason! Awesome name, I saw you on Twitter too, hi! And thanks :)
    Hi Angie! I hear that vampires love meatloaf...or something ;) Thanks for the kind note, I hope your husband enjoys.

  7. By Angie@Angie’s Recipes on October 14, 2011 at 9:27PM

    I love reading both food articles and the love stories of vampires. ;-))
    Gorgeous meatloaf! So is your photography! My husband will love this.

  8. By carpeseason on October 14, 2011 at 8:39PM

    They were photogenic enough to make me hungry! Fun forks btw.

  9. By sweetsugarbean on October 14, 2011 at 6:03PM

    A most photogenic meatloaf if there ever was one! Love the addition of bacon and Parmesan - perfect comfort food.

  10. By FreshTartSteph on October 14, 2011 at 12:21PM

    Hey thanks Lauren! Not the easiest photo, I realized after I'd made it. I was actually chuckling about it as I sliced it, thinking wow, I need to start picking more photogenic recipes, ha.

  11. By lauren on October 14, 2011 at 9:20AM

    that has to be the tasty looking meatloaf I have ever seen! YUM!