Meatloaf is an all-American comfort food, as is barbecue. The roots of meatloaf go all the way back to the 5th century in Rome, when the first recipe was published in the Apicius recipe collection. The modern American take on meatloaf was first published in the Oxford Companion to Food in 1899, while others credit the Amish scrapple as inspiration. Throughout the ages meatloaf has been a cost cutting budget food, relying on extenders (i.e. eggs, grains) to flavor and expand the meat dish and use up less favorable cuts. This version of the budget conscious comfort food is delicious and is taken up a notch with the emphasis on barbecue flavors.
Barbecue Meatloaf with Bacon and Cheese
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup bread or cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 small onion
1 small bell pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup prepared barbecue sauce
1 1/2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
1/4 cup + 1/2 cup (3/4 cup total) shredded Cheddar or colby-jack cheese
2 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
Grease or line a 5” x 9” inch loaf pan with parchment.
Whisk the egg until fluffy. Mix in the milk until well combined. Add bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 5 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
While the egg mixture sits, grate or finely mince the onion and pepper. Add the vegetables to the egg mixture. Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce, prepared yellow mustard and 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce into the egg mixture.
Mix the meat, 1/4 cup of shredded cheese, and egg mixture together.
Top the meat loaf with the remaining barbecue sauce. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top. Evenly distribute the crumbled bacon on top of the meatloaf.
Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour, or until a meat thermometer reads 160°F.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for five to ten minutes before serving.
For a vegetarian version, substitute 12 ounces of crumbles, hydrated tvp or ground beef alternative and a table spoon of oil for the ground beef. Use bacos or cooked breakfast strips instead of the bacon.
Serve with normal barbecue sides for an amazing dinner. Items such as coleslaw, baked potatoes, cornbread pudding, green salad, and baked beans will go well. Any leftovers can be made into sandwiches, served with a little more barbecue sauce, lettuce, tomato, and a couple slices of bacon for a hearty lunchtime treat.