The Ultimate Meatloaf Recipe

Recently on Food52, Toponia Miller and Taylor Boetticher from The Fatted Calf shared recipes from their new book, In The Charcuterie: The Fatted Calf's Guide to Making Sausage, Salumi, Pâtés, Roasts, Confits, and Other Meaty Goods.

Today: We're sharing their secret steps for the ultimate meatloaf recipe. Read on, meat lovers.

The Fatted Calf's Meatloaf

At The Fatted Calf we make this classic American pâté by the dozen. It is a thing of beauty, shaped into a large oval loaf and glazed with tangy cocktail sauce. We like to serve thick slices over creamy mashed potatoes. Leftovers make excellent sandwiches with whole grain mustard and pickled red onions.

Fatted Calf's Meatloaf

Serves 6 to 8

The Loaf

3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 allspice berries
2 teaspoons fennel seed
1 teaspoon chile flakes
1 whole clove
1 1/4 pounds boneless lean beef from eye of round or sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound boneless pork picnic, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 ounces pork back fat, cut into 1-inch cubes
Sea salt
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
4 ounces chopped bacon
2 cups diced yellow onion
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg lightly beaten
1/2 cup ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh horseradish
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped oregano
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 tablespoon chopped sage

Cocktail Sauce Glaze

1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh horseradish
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

>>RELATED: Want a leaner loaf? Try this recipe for Spicy Turkey Meatloaf.

1. Preheat the oven to 325° F (165° C). To make the forcemeat, spread the peppercorns and allspice on a baking sheet and toast for 3 to 5 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool completely. Toast the fennel seeds the same way, then let cool completely. Reserve half of the toasted fennel seeds and half of the chile flakes. In a spice grinder, combine the remaining chile flakes and fennel seeds, the toasted peppercorns and allspice, and the clove, and grind finely.

2. Place the beef, pork, and fat in a large nonreactive bowl. To make the spice kit, in a small bowl, combine the freshly ground spices, the salt, and the garlic and stir well. Mix the spice kit evenly with the meat, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Reserve the bacon in the refrigerator.

2. Sift your dry ingredients, and cream your shortening and sugar together. Add in the egg and egg yolk and mix on high until light and thickened, about 5 minutes.

3. Combine the onions and butter in a sauté pan set over low heat. Season with the salt and sweat the onions slowly for about 20 minutes, until they are tender and translucent. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Add the bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, oregano, sage, and thyme to the onion and mix well.

4. To make the cocktail sauce glaze, in a small bowl, combine the ketchup, salt, pepper, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco and mix well. (The sauce can be made a day ahead and refrigerated or just prior to grinding.)

5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set up your meat grinder. Fit the grinder with the largest plate and grind the bacon once. Stop the grinder, switch to the medium plate, and grind the beef and pork once. Mix the ground bacon into the ground beef and pork. Pour the panade over the meat and mix by hand for 2 to 3 minutes, until the farce comes together in a cohesive mass. Cook a small sample of the mixture in a sauté pan and adjust the seasonings if necessary.

6. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).

7. Transfer the farce to the prepared baking sheet. Using your hands, mold into a long, even loaf about 2 1/2 inches tall and 7 1/2 inches wide. Smooth over any cracks so that the surface appears relatively uniform. If the loaf seems at all crumbly, return it to the bowl to knead further and then reshape. Small cracks will become bigger during cooking, making the loaf unattractive and hard to slice, so it is important to make sure that it is firmly held together at this point.

8. Using the edge of a spatula or the back of a chef's knife, score the top of the loaf in a diamond pattern: Facing the loaf lengthwise, turn your spatula or knife at a 45 degree angle and make a cut 1/8 inch deep from the left side all the way to the right side. Repeat at 1-inch intervals, then reverse and score in the opposite direction.

9. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees to ensure even cooking. Check the temperature after another 10 minutes. When a thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 100° F, remove the loaf from the oven and spread the cocktail sauce evenly over the top and sides with a spoon. Return the loaf to the oven and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until the loaf reaches an internal temperature of 140° F.

10. Let the loaf rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Wrapped tightly and refrigerated, the loaf will keep for 3 to 4 days.

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Photo by Alex Farnum

This article originally appeared on Food52.com: The Fatted Calf's Meatloaf