Why does it hurt to make meatloaf?

Make perfect meatloaf every time with these simple tips

Disdained as mysterious meat, banished to the leftover purgatory and seen everywhere as a scourge of school-age children in cafeterias, meatloaf often gets a bad reputation.

But here's the thing: Meatloaf can be in order to much more than a piece of ground beef heaved into a pan.

With these nine tips on how to prepare meatloaf perfectly, you can take classic American comfort food to a new level. Plus, a bacon-wrapped meatloaf and more meatloaf recipes that are delicious year-round.

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How to make meatloaf

1. Use fatty meat.

The leaner the meat, the drier and grainier the meatloaf. For a beef meatloaf, always a high-fat cut, at least 15 percent.

For a meatloaf made with a leaner beef or turkey, consider mixing in some ground pork and / or veal for a moist, tender meatloaf.

Chopping the bacon and adding it to the mixture is always a great way to add fat. Oh, and putting it in bacon never hurts either. More on that below.

2. Add moisture at each step.

Don't skip adding eggs, ketchup, tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire, barbecue sauce, or a combination of wet condiments. Not only do they add flavor and texture, they help make the meat super juicy.

3. Use soaked crustless bread.

For a meatloaf with beef, pork or veal, first soak the bread in milk.

For a ground turkey meatloaf that needs a boost of fat, soak the bread in cream.

Lactose intolerant? Kosher? No problem! Soak the bread in stock and it will turn out just fine too.

Here's the best way to tell if the mixture is moist enough: if it sticks to the bowl, it will need a little more liquid. Add the liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture no longer sticks to the bowl. Above all, do not use wrapped breadcrumbs.

4. Sauteed vegetables are key.

That one extra step makes a huge difference. Sauteed vegetables add flavor, texture, and moisture. Try a mirepoix, a French word for a combination of carrots, celery, and onions. Boil them, let them cool, and then chop them.

Hate hate by hand? Throw the sauteed vegetables in the food processor to save prep time. Blitz first with the sauteed carrots. Then add the sautéed onions and celery, which are softer and take less time to process. Pressing buttons is fun, but be careful not to overwhelm the ingredients.

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5. Don't play patty cake with the meat.

Mixing over makes a meatloaf dry and tight. Start by stirring the wet ingredients together. Then add the sauteed vegetables. Now, before we start mixing everything up like a madman, just stop. Fold the Mirepoix in the meat only once, holding it loosely and lightly. It may seem like the loaf isn't compact enough, but don't worry, it will set quickly in the oven.

6. Try the meat mix.

No, it is not advisable to eat raw meat (although many cooks might use this method). Since the only thing worse than a dry meatloaf is a mild one, take a moment to fry a tiny bit of the mixture - perhaps the size of a teaspoon - to check for flavoring. Then it is clear whether there is a need to pump up the spice or add herbs. It is better to know before it is too late to correct the seasoning.

7. Put the meatloaf in the pan.

Yes, there is definitely something satisfying about filling a baking pan around the edges with meat smear. Here's the thing: baking meatloaf in a loaf pan makes a meat brick.

When choosing a baking pan, avoid a small loaf pan or baking pan. A tight fit means the loaf is steaming - think of the school canteen meatloaf. Use a sheet pan or large baking dish instead, and leave some breathing room so the edges caramelize well.

Also, consider making some small loaves of bread. Mini meatloafs have more of the "fun"; H. The browned and glazed crust that forms. They're also easy to freeze for later. When made especially for sandwiches, each additional uncut mini meatloaf is nice and moist too.

8. Glaze it.

Even a meatloaf made from the best, highest quality meat in the world should have a beefed up top. Straight ketchup works in a pinch, but chili and barbecue sauces are great alternatives too.

Try peppering ketchup with chili powder, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, and dark brown sugar. Pick up things by layering strips of bacon on top of each other.

9. Let it rest.

As with a roast, it's important to let a meatloaf sit for at least 10 minutes (covered with foil to keep it hot) before slicing it. It helps set the bread up for easier cutting and, most importantly, it locks in those delicious, precious juices.

Here are five delicious meatloaf recipes to try.

Amazing meatloaf recipes

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Ham-Wrapped Meatloaf

Carolyn Grifel

Coating a meatloaf with bacon not only gives it a delicious smokiness, but also helps seal the juices so that the meat is extra spicy.

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Turkey meatloaf

Siri Daly

"This meatloaf is simple and tasty, and before you pack up the leftovers, you can prepare breakfast and lunch for the next day," said TODAY Siri Daly.

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Dr. Oz Meattier Meatloaf

Dr. Oz

"This is going to be the meatiest meatloaf you've ever tried," said Dr. Oz TODAY Food. Mushrooms and powdered gelatin make it extra moist. "I especially like the meaty meatloaf because it's still moist like the traditional meatloaf, but it's a healthier, leaner version!"

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BBQ meatloaf

Ryan Scott

"This recipe takes simple, straightforward meatloaf and gives it a sweet and smoky barbecue twist," said Executive Chef Ryan Scott TODAY Food.

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BBQ Mini Meatloaf Sliders

Grace Parisi

“Sliders are perfect finger food for a crowd,” says Cookbook author Grace Parisi TODAY Food. Instead of baking small patties, she likes to make small meatloafs, slicing them, layering them with barbecue sauce, and frying them. "This trick allows the chef to enjoy more of the party and diners to enjoy perfectly hot slides!"

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Short Rib Meatloaf

Jeff IcInnis and Janine Booth

Believe it or not, there is no baking in this tasty and incredibly good meatloaf made with tender short ribs.