Saturday, January 17, 2009

Meat Loaf Muffins

Meatloaf is delicious, but mine always falls apart when I try to cook it, whether I use a loaf pan not. Cooks Illustrated claims to have the perfect solution, involving gelatin and a panade of fresh bread crumbs and milk. Sounds like a pain. Instead, I solved the problem by making meatloaf muffins. Easy to portion, fun to eat. However, halfway through they were bobbing in watery grease so I had to take them out of the tins and finish on a cookie sheet, which was good because then I could fully glaze them in BBQ sauce instead of just doing the tops. Next time I'll try just molding them w/ my hands or these little silicon prep bowls I have and bake them on a broiler pan.

Thanks again to Marquita for sending Rudy's Original BBQ Sause from San Antonio - a light-bodied sauce rather than the thick sludge sold in supermarkets seemed to be a good fit in this recipe. The best thing about using a really tasty bbq sauce is that it provides all the needed seasoning, but feel free to add stuff too.

Meat Loaf Muffins

1 1/2 lbs ground venison (or other lean meat), 1/4 lbs pork breakfast sausage, 1 cup BBQ sauce plus 1/4 cup set aside for glazing, 1 cup dried bread crumbs, one finely diced onion, 1 tbsp thyme, 1 egg

  • Mix everything together.
  • Scoop into muffin tins. Mine filled 10 of the 12.
  • Bake at 400 for 15 minutes
  • Transfer meatloaf muffins from muffin tin to a foil-lined cookie sheet and brush them liberally with BBQ sauce.
  • Put cookie sheet on middle rack and switch to broil. Keep an eye on them - in five minutes they should done, with just a few tiny burn marks on them. But gas broilers vary and I've never used an electric, so your results may vary.

serves 5 (two muffins each)

Serve with mashed potatoes. Really, that's the only acceptable way to enjoy them. Or maybe mac n' cheese. I made my mashed potatoes with buttermilk, which cuts down on the fat. But that's hardly a recipe, so I'll leave it to you to figure out. The only vegetable I ghas was a block of frozen chopped broccoli I was saving for a casserole, but sauted over incredible high heat in garlic and olive oil, it tasted okay.

Notes: I made these with venison and pork sausage, but you could substitute any ground meat- lean meat with sausage or fatty meat with no sausage (or fatty meat and fatty sausage - go nuts). Different meats may yield different results but all will be delicious. Definitely don't stress about equal parts veal, beef and pork or whatever - those pre-packed meat loaf mixes at the supermarket are often overpriced and tend to stick around on the shelves past their prime.
If nobody sent you any Rudy's BBQ Sause, the closest thing widely available in supermarkets is Stubbs. You could try using Kraft or something, but the liquid smoke might be overpowering. Or make your own: equal parts vinegar, molasses and tomato paste (one can) w/ a pinch or two of , paprika, cayanne, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic powder, mustard powder, celery seed and allspice would work great. Ketchup

Frugal Factor: Again, the venison was a gift, but for comparison, ground buffalo is $5/lb so this is $7.50 worth of meat. BBQ sauce also a gift, but Stubbs brand is $4/bottle and I used 1/3 so $1.35 . Onion and bread crumbs, $0.50. Total, $10.25 for 5 servings or $1.87 per portion (two muffins). Not really all that frugal, especially since the mashed potatoes and frozen veggie add another $0.75 per portion for a total of $2.62/portion.

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