juicy meatloaf… recipe included

My mom is usually the brains behind the whole kitchen curtain, especially during the holidays.  A few years ago she started asking different family members to bring dishes to the holiday dinners.  Now, normally it is a quick side dish (and mom usually has to provide the recipe for that side dish) or we just bring store-bought food or the paper goods.  In recent years my mother has been assigning me the main dish or one of the main meats.  This is a huge compliment to me because it means she trusts me not to foul up one of her family dinners!  For Christmas 2012 mom asked me to bring a meat dish and I chose meatloaf for its simplicity and because it’s economical.
I started out making crumbs from Saltine crackers and regular wheat bread.
Seasoned the meat…
More seasonings…
Whenever I make meatloaf, meatballs or even hamburgers, I like to use a mixture of meats.  Here I used ground beef and beef chuck.  Sometimes I will even throw in a little ground turkey or pork.
Added all of my seasonings…
 Got it shaped up and smoothed out…
Made a sauce for the top and poured it evenly over the top…
There it is… almost finished baking…
You can see the spots of crispy bacon on top… The juice in the bottom of the pan served as a way to keep moisture in the meat as everyone grabbed their slice and swirled it in the pan juice.
Meatloaf Recipe
·        36 oz ground chuck
·        5 lb 73/27 ground beef
·        3 slices bread and 10 saltine crackers which you will put in food processor to make 1 cup of breadcrumbs    
·        1 ½ cups parm cheese
·        2 Tbsp hot sauce
·        4 eggs
·        1 Tbsp onion powder
·        1 Tbsp blk pepper
·        1 Tbsp garlic powder
·        3 Tbsp worcestershire
Sauce for topping
·        2 Tbsp OJ
·        1 cup ketchup
·        1 Tbsp sugar
·        ¼ tsp salt
·        ¼ tsp pepper
·        1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
·        ¼ cup parm cheese
·        2 slices of bacon
Mix all spices into meat, then liquids.  Add eggs last as a binder and work in gently with hands.  Do not over-work your loaf.  Form into rectangular shape.  Mix together all ingredients for the sauce in a separate bowl, stir thoroughly and then apply all over the top evenly.  Chop bacon into small pieces and place them evenly over the top.  Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 45 mins to 1 hr and 15 mins depending on your oven and what you bake it in (I used a glass casserole baking dish).  I went for an internal temperature of between 160-165 degrees F.  Pour off the fatty liquid or just skim the fat off the top and use the rest as a base for a great gravy.  This was for the holidays so I cooked a large one to feed the whole crew.  It should feed at least 15 to 20 people depending on the size of the slices.

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