Okay, this recipe is definitely not for the health-conscious, but it is for the bacon lover in all of us. Sean had seen this recipe in my recent issue of Cook’s Country and knowing his love for all things bacon asked when I was going to make it. The problem is that Michelle and bacon don’t always play nicely together, so I really needed to wait for her to be away on business before I could break out the recipe and give it a try. When she went away recently, the first night she was gone Sean asked me if I was going to make this. I broke out the recipe for bacon-wrapped meatloaf and gave it a try. This recipe seems a lot like a standard meatloaf recipe, with the addition of bacon in, on and around the meatloaf itself.
1/4 cup your favorite bottled barbecue sauce, plus extra for serving
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
17 square or 19 round saltine crackers, crushed (about 2/3 cup)
4 slices coarsely chopped bacon, plus 8 whole slices
1 onion, chopped coarse
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds 90 percent lean ground beef
Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack in the baking sheet. Whisk the barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar and mustard together in a bowl. Set aside the glaze.
Process the saltines in a food processor until they are finely ground, about 30 seconds,; transfer the ground crackers to a large bowl. Pulse the chopped bacon and the chopped onion in the now-empty food processor until both are coarsely ground, about 10 pulses. Transfer the bacon mixture to a large non-stick skillet and cook over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Set the mixture aside off the heat.
Add the milk, eggs and egg yolk, parsley, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of the glaze to the saltines and mash the ingredients together with a fork until a chunky paste forms. Stir in the bacon mixture until everything is well combined. Add the ground beef and knead with your hands until the ingredients are blended.
Lightly spray an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray, Line the pan with a large sheet of plastic wrap with some extra plastic wrap hanging over the edges of the pan. Push the plastic wrap into the corners and up the sides of the pan. Line the pan crosswise with the remaining 8 bacon slices, overlapping them slightly and letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan. You should have at least 1/2-inch of overhanging bacon. Brush the bacon with 3 tablespoons of the glaze. Transfer the meatloaf mixture to the bacon-lined pan and press the mixture firmly into the pan. Fold the bacon slices over the mixture.
Using a metal skewer or the tip of a paring knife, poke 15 holes in one 14 by 3-inch piece of foil. Center the foil rectangle on top of the meatloaf. Carefully flip the meatloaf onto the wire rack set in the baking sheet so the foil is on the bottom and the bacon is on the top. Gripping the plastic, gently lift and remove the pan from the meatloaf. Discard the plastic. Gently press the meatloaf into a 9 by 5-inch rectangle.
Bake the meatloaf in the oven until the bacon is browned and the meatloaf registers 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meatloaf, about one hour. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and heat the broiler. Brush the top and sides of the meatloaf with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the glaze. Broil the meatloaf until the glaze begins to char and the meatloaf registers 160 degrees, about 3 to 5 minutes. Using the foil as a sling, transfer the meatloaf to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with the extra barbecue sauce.
While it may seem like a bit of work to create the loaf itself, it really doesn’t take that long and it makes a difference in getting the right shape and having a way for some of the fat to drain off the meatloaf while it cooks. The meatloaf gets great flavor from the bacon both inside and outside, but to me the real winner of the meatloaf recipe is in the glaze. You get this really great smoky flavor to the meatloaf that makes it extra-special. You can use whatever barbecue sauce you like for this one and I actually added 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke to the glaze to enhance it a little more. I also put the meatloaf in the pan and then refrigerated it for about 15 minutes to let the shape set more before I flipped it out onto the wire rack prior to baking. It seemed to help in having the meatloaf hold its shape better. The other thing to remember is that you will get better slices of meatloaf if you allow it to sit and rest after taking it out of the oven. I often wait up to 30 minutes before slicing it to get the best slices. I can see using this glaze on other meatloaf recipes even without all of the bacon in and out to get the flavor. Sean and I both liked the meatloaf and he loved it with all of the bacon and the bacon in the meatloaf does add extra smokiness but I can see where this can be bacon overload for some people.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!