Meatloaf is classic American comfort food that is enjoying a revival. When I ask people whether they like meatloaf I get mixed reactions. Some people nod and smile, some scowl and make faces. So far, everyone has loved this modern version. It’s not your mother’s meatloaf.
When I began to work as a personal chef, I had to expand beyond what I cooked at home to what worked for my clients. Meatloaf was on the menu, but I had not made it for many years. I wanted an updated version of what my mom made. That’s how this recipe came to be. It’s a moist, healthy, modern meatloaf that works for dinner one night, then sandwiches the next day.
Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf
Mom’s version included the basics of ground beef, egg, ketchup, diced onion, seasonings and breadcrumbs. In my version I’ve split the meat between lean ground sirloin and ground turkey thigh and added finely diced Granny Smith apple with the onion for moisture and fiber. Sounds crazy, but it works great. You will never taste the apple.
For extra flavor, I’ve added Dijon mustard and horseradish along with the ketchup and used Japanese panko crumbs for their light texture. To top it off I use a barbecue glaze instead of ketchup.
A few recipe notes. When possible choose natural meats, organic eggs and apple, and choose ketchup that has no high fructose corn syrup. As condiments often have high sodium levels, read the labels and choose lower sodium products. When buying panko crumbs, read the labels and skip those made with partially hydrogenated oils. I have notes below for anyone needing gluten-free options.
Mix, Shape and Bake
Simply mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and pat into a loaf shape on a foil covered rimmed baking sheet. Bake until done, glazing with your thinned barbecue sauce several times during baking to develop a gorgeous rich color and taste. I use a homemade apple-barbecue glaze, my “secret sauce”.
This meatloaf freezes well, so make two and freeze one for another dinner. I hope you enjoy this modern meatloaf.
Barbecue Glazed Meatloaf
A healthier, modern take on the American classic comfort food with ground turkey, diced apple and a barbecue glaze. The classic side dishes are green beans and mashed potatoes. To make this gluten-free, see note below. Be sure to seek out condiments that are HFCS-free and have no PHO’s (partially hydrogenated oils), and I use as much organic as possible. For the beef, use grass-fed if you can find it.
- ½ pound (228 grams) ground lean sirloin
- ½ pound (228 grams) ground turkey thigh
- 2/3 cup finely diced onion (about half of a medium onion or 3-4 ounces)
- 1 1/3 cups Japanese panko crumbs (option for gluten-free, note below)
- 2/3 cup skinned, finely diced Granny Smith apple
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon back pepper
Glaze – 2/3 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, thinned with a little water
rimmed baking sheet
digital thermometer (I use a Thermapen)
pastry or basting brush.
- Cover a rimmed baking sheet with heavy foil and spray with non-stick spray. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees (177 Celsius).
- In a small bowl, thin barbecue sauce with a little water to a glaze like consistency. Set aside.
- Mix the two meats together with your hands, wearing disposable gloves if you prefer. Then mix in all other ingredients through salt and pepper. Mix completely but don’t over handle it. If the mixture seems a little wet, add a little more panko crumbs.
- Turn the mixture onto the baking sheet and form into a compact, smooth loaf, like an oval loaf of bread. When the loaf is formed, pour a little glaze from the bowl onto the loaf and distribute with pastry brush. Don’t dip the brush into the glaze then onto the meat as you contaminate the glaze with the raw meat.
- Place the meatloaf in the oven and bake, brushing several times during baking with the glaze. Meatloaf is done when it reaches 165 degrees (74 celsius), about 30-40 minutes. Mine takes 30 minutes in a convection oven. Test with a digital thermometer.
- Allow to cool a bit, slice and enjoy. Drizzle with a little more of the leftover sauce if desired.
Note: you can also make individual mini meatloaves by dividing the meat mixture into 4 small loaves. These will bake more quickly, so watch your timing.
To make this gluten-free: I’ve used Gluten-free panko crumbs from both Kinnikinnick Foods and Jeff Nathan Creations. Use an extra egg if the mix seems dry. I also added a little extra ketchup to bring up the moisture. You will have to get a feel for the moistness. Choose gluten-free condiments as well.
To complete your dinner try these complimentary recipes:
Baby green beans, you can do a simple version and skip the garnishes if desired
Green beans with almonds and thyme, from Simply Recipes
Baked sweet potato fries from Family Fresh Cooking
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