I love my mom's meatloaf - when she makes it. Mine never turned out the same for some reason. I failed HUGE with a meatloaf recipe in 1984 that caused my then-husband to turn green at the slightest mention of meatloaf for dinner. OK, ok, the sausage wasn't quite as thawed as it should have been and that was long before I learned the joys of a digital thermometer. When Harry and I started The Wright Taste, my ex-mother-in-law - more than 20 years after the fact - chirped "You can't even make a meatloaf and you expect people to buy food from you?"
Harry wasn't, in general, a fan of his mother's cooking. We both have memories of the same general meals and these days, I'm not a fan of the way my mom cooked a lot of things when I was a kid. I still loved them - the only place I'll eat Ragu on my spaghetti is when Mom makes it - it's kind of hard to explain. And I STILL can't get my Boiled Dinner (corned beef and cabbage) to come out the same way Mom does, even if we buy the same brand of corned beef at the same time!
But Harry did like his mom's meatloaf and the first time he showed me the recipe, I thought "ICK!" But, this is the best meatloaf recipe I've ever tried. It's never dry and it's the perfect sandwich meatloaf - it doesn't get crumbly when you slice it and it also freezes beautifully.
This is the "normal" recipe - plenty for dinner for six plus leftover for sandwiches. Save yourself a little time and double the recipe. Freeze one loaf whole to heat for another dinner or freeze it in slices for sandwiches later. I don't know where Mrs. W got the recipe but since Harry was eating this as a kid in the late 50's, early 60s, I don't stand a chance of tracking down the original source.
Harry's Mom's Meatloaf
2 pounds ground chuck
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 can evaporated milk
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon Frank's Red Hot
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the evaporated milk, ketchup, dried minced onion, eggs, granulated garlic, Frank's and salt. Mix it well and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck with the bread crumbs - take your time to work all the crumbs into the meat.
Now is when it will get really messy: Have Harry pour the liquid mixture into the ground beef mixture. As you squeeze the liquid into the meat, it will originally appear to be very soupy. Mix it with your hands until the liquid and meat are well-combined, then allow to rest for five minutes. The resting time will give the bread crumbs time to absorb the moisture, so it's possible to form it into loaves.
Add the cooled melted butter and mix well. Now it's time to shape your meat loaf. Only shape it into two loaves if you have doubled the recipe.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about an hour. I check the temp and try to keep it between 170 and 180 degrees inside.
Remove from oven and let rest for five minutes. Then, remove to a serving platter (to get it out of the grease), cover with foil and allow to stand for another 10 minutes - this will help the meatloaf "stiffen up" so that it's easier to cut without crumbling.