My ultimate meatloaf has more in common with a bacon cheeseburger than it does with the loaf my mom used to make. Cooked with sautéed onions and mushrooms, chunks of cheddar cheese, and all enclosed in a weave of bacon that helps trap in all that flavor, this meatloaf is extra moist and bursting with tons of flavor.
It is also pretty easy to make.
The hardest part is weaving your bacon, but that's a snap once you know how. (Check out the step-by-step the sideshow above.) All it takes is a pound of thin sliced bacon to make the weave. You will want a thin-sliced bacon because it makes a tighter weave. And that will trap in the meatloaf juices while it cooks. Plus, everything taste better with bacon.
Bacon wrapped meatloaf with cheese
- 2 ½ pounds hamburger meat (I used the 85/15 meat-to-fat ratio grind)
- 1 pound thin sliced bacon
- 1 ½ cups diced onions
- 1 ½ cups diced mushrooms
- 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese cubes
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup BBQ sauce (I used Kraft's Hickory BBQ sauce)
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons favorite rub (optional)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme (or a tablespoon of dried)
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- Pepper to taste
- Aluminum foil
- A small loaf pan
- Instant read thermometer
Sauté diced onions and mushrooms in vegetable oil with thyme for 3 to 4 minutes, letting the onions get soft and translucent. If using fresh thyme, just throw the sprigs in whole and pull the stems out when the sauté is finished. Let the onions and mushrooms cool down for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
In large mixing bowl, add hamburger meat, bread crumbs, egg, BBQ sauce, salt, pepper and the cooled onions and mushrooms. Mix ingredients by hand till everything is mixed up, but try not to over work it. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until ready to shape meatloaf.
Lay out a square sheet of aluminum foil that is longer than the length of a strip of bacon. Now it is time to make the bacon weave. Place 7 or 8 slices of bacon side-by-side, until you have a square of bacon on top of the foil.
Fold alternating slices of bacon in half length wise, then lay a slice of bacon across the alternating slices of bacon next to the fold.
Unfold the alternating slices, you should now have one piece of bacon threaded across your bacon square.
Now fold up the slices you have not folded yet over the first threaded slice of bacon and lay another slice of bacon across the alternating slices.
Unfold the slices again and now you should have 2 slices threaded. Repeat 1 or 2 more times to finish the half square, then repeat on the other side.
This is actually easier than it sounds. Again, check the pictures above.
Now set the loaf pan next to the bacon weave. Pick up the foil with the bacon weave on it and center it over the loaf pan foil side down. Work the foil into the pan with the bacon weave on top. Check the picture in the slideshow above, but you should now have a loaf pan lined so that when you look inside the pan you see the bacon weave.
We are going to layer the meat in with the cheese. Take the meat and cheese cubes out of the refrigerator. Grab a handful of the meat and spread it into the bottom of the loaf pan on top of the bacon. Once you have a layer of meat about an inch thick, distribute some cubes of cheese on top of the meat. Add more meat on top of and around the cheese cubes till you have another layer. Add some more cheese cubes, then fill the rest of the pan with meat.
Take the ends of the bacon and wrap it around the top of the meat in the pan. If it does not make it all the way around, take a couple of the leftover slices of bacon and finish covering the top with bacon.
Cover pan with foil and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to make sure the loaf is firm.
Preheat grill to 300°F (You can use an oven, just make sure you have a pan under the rack to catch the drippings).
Remove loaf from refrigerator and uncover. Now it is time to flip the loaf out of the pan. It is best to have some sort of small rack to transfer it to the grill and cook it on. I am using a rack I make beef jerky on (but if you don't have a rack you can do this with a plate). Set the rack on top of the uncovered loaf pan, the flip the whole thing over. Remove loaf pan and foil. You should have a nice looking meatloaf wrapped in a weave of bacon. I like sprinkling a little bit of rub on top of the bacon, but that's optional.
Place the rack with the meatloaf on the preheated grill (if you are using a plate, remove meatloaf from plate and place directly onto the grill grates).
Cook at 300°F for 1 hour, then raise the heat to 350°F and check internal temperate of meatloaf every 10 minutes. Pull meatloaf when the internal temperate reaches 160°F (approximately 1 1/2 hours total cook time).
Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting, then enjoy!
The meatloaf I made on the grill turned out great! It was nice and juicy with gooey cheese running throughout. Plus it had that great bacony flavor and a little Hickory tang from the BBQ sauce.
Be sure to check out the slideshow above for step-by-step pictures.