Learn how to make bacon-wrapped meatloaf, the ultimate comfort food, by following these simple steps. Get the tips for making sure the bacon is cooked, how to create a freeform meatloaf without a loaf pan, and how to drain grease from meatloaf the easy way. The essential information is all right here, plus additional hacks to make this the best bacon-wrapped meatloaf experience ever.
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In Search of a Better Meatloaf Recipe
Years ago, I used to make meatloaf in a loaf pan. I used a couple of pounds of ground beef and a packet of onion soup mix. It was a classic recipe that was easy to make. There were some drawbacks, though. The meatloaf would often break apart in the pan. Also, the ketchup and brown sugar glaze I put on top would often get drowned in a pool of grease. Not very appetizing! Of course, I would drain the grease off before serving, but still, it wasn’t pretty. I wanted to find a way to make my meatloaf look more attractive.
Enter the Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf of My Dreams
In my efforts to become a better cook, I turned to the Food Day section in my local paper, The Oregonian. Every Tuesday, new recipes were published and some of them were easy enough for me, as a beginning cook, to make. Although the Food Day section is no longer in existence, there is a recipe archive. It’s a great place for inspiration, but this bacon-wrapped meatloaf recipe is not there. Up until now, all I have had is a faded newspaper clipping with my faint notations written in pencil. What if someone else in my family wants to make this recipe, which has become a favorite?
This bacon-wrapped meatloaf recipe has so many advantages over my old meatloaf recipe. First of all, the ingredients are pantry staples, with no need to go out and purchase a special soup mix. Second, there is a special way to handle the grease. Finally, it makes an attractive presentation. Oh, and the recipe includes bacon. What more could I ask of a meatloaf recipe? So, here is my version. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Equipment Needed for Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf
1 15 by 10-inch baking dish (You can use a 9 by 11-inch dish, but make sure the roasting rack can fit in the pan.)
Meat thermometer (optional)
Ingredients for Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
1/2 cup milk
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound ground sausage, regular or spicy flavor
2/3 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 package of thin-sliced bacon (9-12 slices)
Ingredients for Glaze
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cider or white vinegar
Instructions for Making Easy Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the baking dish and roasting rack by lining the bottom of the baking dish with foil. Cover the roasting rack with foil and poke holes in it all over before setting it in the baking dish. This will help the grease drain away from the meatloaf.
Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened (about 5 minutes), then set aside to cool.
Remove the bacon from the package. Place the strips in a small rectangular casserole dish on layers of paper towels. Cook the bacon in the microwave for 4 minutes. This will ensure that the bacon gets cooked thoroughly when it is covering the meatloaf.
While the bacon is cooking, make the glaze in a small bowl or measuring cup and set it aside. Mix all other meatloaf ingredients (including the cooked onions and garlic) together in a large mixing bowl. You can use a fork, but I like to use my hands. It’s delightfully squishy.
Pour the meatloaf mix carefully onto the prepared roasting rack and pat it into an oval shape.
Cover the meatloaf with glaze.
Remove the bacon from the casserole dish. It should be only partially cooked. Lay each strip of bacon across the meatloaf, overlapping slightly. Tuck the ends of each piece under the meatloaf if you can. This will keep the bacon from curling up as it cooks.
Place the meatloaf into the oven for an hour. When the timer goes off, test the meatloaf for doneness by making a small slit into the top with a knife to see that the meat is cooked. You can also test the meatloaf with a meat thermometer. The temperature should be 160 degrees. If it isn’t, just put the meatloaf back in the oven for about 10 more minutes.
Place the cooked meatloaf on hot pads and let it sit for 20 minutes to cool. Slice and serve the meatloaf in the casserole dish.
Easy Recipe for Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf
- small oval or rectangular roasting rack
- 15 by 10-inch baking dish
- Aluminum foil
- Meat thermometer (optional)
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
- ½ cup milk
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pound ground sausage regular or spicy
- ⅔ cup quick-cooking oatmeal
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
- 1 package thin sliced bacon 9-12 slices
Ingredients for Glaze
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cider or white vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare the baking dish and roasting rack by lining the bottom of the baking dish with foil. Cover the roasting rack with foil and poke holes in it all over before setting it in the baking dish.
- Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened (about 5 minutes), then set aside to cool.
- Remove the bacon from the package. Place the strips in a small rectangular casserole dish on layers of paper towels. Cook the bacon in the microwave for 4 minutes.
- While the bacon is cooking, make the glaze in a small bowl or measuring cup and set it aside.
- Mix all other meatloaf ingredients (including the cooked onions and garlic) together in a large mixing bowl.
- Pour the meatloaf mix carefully onto the prepared roasting rack and pat it into an oval shape.
- Cover the meatloaf with glaze.
- Remove the bacon from the small casserole dish. It should be only partially cooked. Lay each strip of bacon across the meatloaf, overlapping slightly. Tuck the ends of each piece under the meatloaf if you can.
- Place the meatloaf into the oven for an hour. When the timer goes off, test the meatloaf for doneness by making a small slit into the top with a knife to see that the meat is cooked. You can also test the meatloaf with a meat thermometer. The temperature should be 160 degrees. If it isn’t, just put the meatloaf back in the oven for about 10 more minutes.
- Place the cooked meatloaf on hot pads and let it sit for 20 minutes to cool. Slice and serve the meatloaf in the casserole dish.
Making the Meatloaf without the Bacon
Can you make this bacon-wrapped meatloaf without the bacon? Sure, if you have to. You can just double the glaze. brush on half before baking, then brush the meatloaf with the remaining glaze after the meatloaf has baked for about 45 minutes. Then bake for about 15 more minutes after adding the second half of the glaze.
Making this Meatloaf in a Loaf Pan
If you would rather make this meatloaf in a loaf pan, you can omit the bacon and add the glaze using the steps above. If you have a loaf pan with a perforated bottom and a drip pan, that will eliminate the need to drain the grease off after baking. If you have just a regular loaf pan, you will need to carefully drain the grease off after baking, which might affect the way the glaze sticks to the top of the meatloaf.
Meatloaf Tips and Common Questions
There are many varieties of meatloaf, but some basic tips can apply no matter what your ingredients. Here are some of the best meatloaf tips as well as some common questions. When you have the answers you need, making meatloaf can be a breeze.
Meatloaf Cooking Tips and Questions
How long does it take to cook a 2lb meatloaf at 350? What temp should meatloaf be cooked at?
As stated in the recipe, you should cook the meatloaf for at least an hour at 350 degrees. If you want to make very sure the meatloaf is cooked to the proper doneness, use a meat thermometer. The temperature should reach 160 degrees.
Should meatloaf be covered?
When it is baking, the meatloaf should not be covered. In the case of this bacon-wrapped meatloaf recipe, the bacon needs to cook and crisp. That will not happen if the meatloaf is covered. For storage in a refrigerator, or for transport after cooking, the meatloaf should be covered. I usually use plastic wrap, but you can cover it with foil as well.
How do I keep the bottom of my meatloaf from burning?
In this recipe, the way that the meatloaf rests on the foil-covered roasting rack keeps the meatloaf from burning. If you are baking the meatloaf in a regular loaf pan, you can place a pan of water on the rack below. You can also place the loaf pan on an insulated cookie sheet to prevent burning.
How do I keep my meatloaf from cracking down the middle while baking? How do you keep meatloaf moist?
The best way I have found to prevent the cracking that happens while baking meatloaf is to wrap it with bacon. The bacon definitely keeps the meatloaf moist. Other than that, you can try the water pan method and place a pie tin or other oven-safe pan on the rack below the meatloaf. The moisture of the steam from the water might prevent cracking, but if you do get a crack and are bothered by it, you could always fill the crack with glaze to camouflage it a bit. Using glaze is another way to keep meatloaf moist.
Meatloaf Ingredient Tips and Questions
What is the best binder for meatloaf? What holds meatloaf together?
A binder is an ingredient that holds something together. What does milk do in meatloaf? In the case of this recipe, eggs and milk are used to help the ingredients in the bacon-wrapped meatloaf bind together and hold the freeform shape. The other thing that helps the meatloaf hold its shape in this recipe is of course the bacon, but that’s more of an external binder.
What is the best filler for meatloaf?
A filler for meatloaf helps add more bulk so you can get additional servings. I like to use quick-cooking oatmeal in this recipe, but other fillers may be used. Other fillers include fresh bread crumbs or crushed crackers.
Meatloaf Serving Tips and Questions
How long should you let meatloaf rest?
This recipe calls for letting the meatloaf rest for at least 20 minutes. The meatloaf will be less likely to fall apart when cutting if you allow for resting time.
Do you take meatloaf out of the pan?
You don’t have to. You can cut and serve the meatloaf from the pan. At my house, meatloaf disappears so quickly, no one really seems to notice what kind of dish it’s served in.
What can I use if I don’t have a meatloaf pan?
You can use any size rectangular baking dish, especially if you are making your meatloaf freeform, as in the recipe above. If you don’t have a roasting rack, you can poke holes in an aluminum pie tin and turn it upside down. It might not be long enough for an oval-shaped meatloaf, but you could shape a round, mounded meatloaf instead.
Can you bake meatloaf in a glass dish? Can I cook meatloaf in a Pyrex? Can you use a glass pan instead of a metal pan?
You definitely can bake meatloaf in a glass dish. I have a Pyrex loaf pan, and I could use it for meatloaf if I wanted to. The casserole baking dish I use for this freeform bacon-wrapped meatloaf is a Pyrex dish. I’m a huge fan of Pyrex, by the way.
Can I line meatloaf pan with foil?
Yes, you definitely can line a meatloaf pan with foil. It makes cleanup extra easy. When the bacon-wrapped meatloaf has disappeared (it doesn’t take long), I loosen the foil from around the roasting rack and remove the rack for cleaning. Then I gather up the edges of the foil lining the baking pan and wrap it around the foil that had been on the roasting rack. I then compact it all into a nice little package for disposal. I like to make it as small as possible.
How do you mold a meatloaf?
In the case of this recipe, I pour the meatloaf mix onto the foil-covered rack. I gently pat the meatloaf into the oval shape I need. If you are baking the meatloaf in a loaf pan, just press the meatloaf down into the pan. You can leave the middle slightly raised. You can use a fork to pull the meat mixture away from the sides of the pan slightly so the glaze can flow down between the mixture and the pan sides a bit.
Best Side-Dishes to Serve with Meatloaf
What goes well with meatloaf? One very versatile side dish is roasted red skin potatoes. Seasoned with garlic and rosemary, they are the perfect way to accompany any comfort food recipe.
If you like your potatoes mashed, you can serve easy make-ahead mashed potatoes. Berry mandarin tossed salad would add some freshness and crunch to the meal. To top everything off, you could serve a nice warm blueberry rhubarb crisp or apple crisp for dessert.
How to Use Leftover Meatloaf
When we have leftover meatloaf, we like to use it in sandwiches. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on two slices of bread. Place a slice or two of bacon-wrapped meatloaf between the slices of bread. Warm the sandwich in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Yum!
Are You Now Craving Homemade Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf?
I’m getting hungry just writing about this incredible meatloaf. If you decide to try this recipe, I’d love to know how it turns out. Just tag me on Instagram (@lisa_fluxingwell) if you post a photo, and I’ll share it to my story. If you like what you’ve read today, please consider subscribing and becoming part of the Fluxing Well community. You will receive fresh ideas every week, plus access to a library of printable resources, including a free cookbook filled with the best easy recipes from the Fluxing Well website.
Have a fabulous day, and have fun making this easy recipe for bacon-wrapped meatloaf!