I came across the concept for this recipe in an email from foodnetwork.com. Their kitchens came up with a nice looking meatloaf made with ground beef, pork, barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, and stuff that was baked in a six-pack muffin tin so that everyone at dinner got their own, individual meatloaf – or, if you were feeling extra ambitious, you could make a double batch, and drop the cooled leftovers into freezer bags for lunches and/or dinner next week. Nice idea, and really not a bad meatloaf, just not so very nice to look at.
Of course, I needed to change a few things first…
not the meat (mostly) – I kept to a pound each of ground pork and 75% lean ground beef. The recommended added ground veal is not so easy to find around about these parts.
I did, tho’, swap out panko for plain bread crumbs, buttermilk for regular, diced sweet onion for scallions, and cut the cheese way back, and it was all pretty darned tasty.
•1 lb ground beef (75% lean)
•1 lb ground pork
•2/3 cup buttermilk
•1/2 cup panko crumbs
•1/2 tsp sea salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/4 cup barbecue sauce* + additional sauce for topping each meatball muffin
•1 cup sweet onion, diced
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•1 large egg, lightly beaten
•1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
*I used my barbecue sauce that I had also blended with a bit of spicy pepper jelly.
Heat your oven to 375º.
Combine the panko crumbs in a large bowl with the sea salt, black, and Aleppo peppers.
Add the buttermilk, stir to mix, then let sit for fifteen minutes.
Stir in the egg, diced onion, minced garlic, and barbecue sauce.
Add the ground beef and pork and mix well. The only really good way I’ve found to do this is with your hands – tho’, for meatballs, I’ve been known to run the whole thing, in batches, through the food processor fitted with the steel blade. That will give you a nice, very finely textured meatball, but mebbe a too finely textured meatloaf.
Once the meatloaf is well and truly mixed, scoop 1/2 cup into each of the six holes in a large muffin tin.
Note: I had lightly applied cooking spray to the tin before adding the meatloaf, but I’m not sure it was really needed – the fat, etc. released in baking served to keep each meat muffin from burning and/or sticking to the sides of the tin.
Place the muffin tin on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and brush each muffin with one tablespoon or so of the barbecue sauce.
Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 20 minutes.
This might be a good time to wipe away any excess cooking liquid from the top of the muffin tin – OR – at this point, I’m thinking that next time I make these (they’re not pretty, but they are tasty), I will remove each meatloaf muffin from the tin and arrange them on a fresh bit of foil directly on the baking sheet – before…
topping each muffin with a bit of the shredded cheese and sliding back into the oven for five minutes or so to melt the cheese.
My meatloaf muffins turned out perfectly cooked through to an internal temp of 165º.
The nice Food Network folk suggested serving with mashed potatoes and a salad.
We had ours with oven roasted potatoes and a nice bit of lightly steamed asparagus.
Mebbe not the prettiest of plates, but a nice dinner. Kids will probably get a kick out of the whole meatloaf muffin thing, and leftovers are a snap to cool, pop into small zipper bags, and stash in the freezer for another day.
I’ll make this again – popping the meatloaves out of the muffin pan before adding the cheese, and mebbe drizzling with a touch more barbecue sauce to make a second glaze. Some ground chicken or turkey added to the mix might could be nice, too…