Old-School Meat Loaf

Micah Taylor

This recipe was one of the five meals my mom had in her heavy weeknight rotation to feed our family of six. I loved the way she made three holes in the loaf and filled each one with a reservoir of spicy ketchup, so each bite had a touch of it. Little details like a pool of ketchup create a memorable dinner experience for a little kid -- never to be forgotten. 

I grate the onions to avoid unpleasantly large chunks in the meat loaf; use a box grater and they'll melt into the meat mixture as it cooks. Grated carrots help keep the loaf moist.


Raw meatloaf
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs 
  • 1/3 cup whole milk 
  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck 
  • 1/4 cup grated onion 
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup Chili Sauce (recipe follows) or regular bottled chili sauce


1. Preheat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the middle position. In a large bowl, soak the bread crumbs in the milk for 5 minutes.

2. Add the beef, onions, carrots, egg, salt, and pepper to the bread crumb mixture. Mix gently.

3. Shape the meat mixture into a loaf and put it in an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Make 3 holes, evenly spaced lengthwise, in the meat loaf and fill them to the top with the sauce. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Pour any accumulated juices over the top of the meat loaf. Slice and serve with the remaining chili sauce on the side. 

Chili Sauce

Makes 3/4 cup

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste, such as sambal oelek 
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish 

1. Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl. 
Serves 6
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