cracker barrel meatloaf recipe
Cracker Barrel Inspired Meatloaf Recipe: A Homestyle Delight with Detailed Instructions
There’s something undeniably comforting about the aroma of a freshly baked meatloaf, reminiscent of homestyle cooking and family gatherings. If you’ve ever enjoyed the Cracker Barrel meatloaf and wished to recreate that nostalgic flavor at home, you’re in for a treat. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of making a mouthwatering Cracker Barrel inspired meatloaf that captures the essence of that classic favorite.
Before diving into the preparation, gather the following ingredients:
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 cup finely crushed Ritz crackers
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 cup ketchup
Step 1: Preheat the Oven
Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). This ensures that your meatloaf cooks evenly and attains that perfect golden-brown exterior.
Step 2: Prepare the Meat Mixture
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, finely crushed Ritz crackers, chopped onion, green bell pepper, and celery. The Ritz crackers not only act as a binder but also contribute to the signature texture of the Cracker Barrel meatloaf.
Step 3: Add Eggs and Milk
Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and beat them lightly before adding them to the meat mixture. Pour in the milk as well. The combination of eggs and milk adds moisture to the meatloaf, ensuring it stays juicy and tender.
Step 4: Season the Mixture
Sprinkle salt, black pepper, garlic powder, dried thyme, and dried sage over the meat mixture. These seasonings are key to achieving the distinct flavor profile of the Cracker Barrel meatloaf. Gently fold the ingredients together until well combined.
Step 5: Shape the Meatloaf
Transfer the meat mixture to a greased or parchment-lined baking pan. Shape it into a loaf, ensuring an even thickness throughout. The classic meatloaf shape is not only traditional but also helps with even cooking.
Step 6: Add the Ketchup Glaze
Spread a generous layer of ketchup over the top of the meatloaf. This not only adds a sweet and tangy glaze but also contributes to the iconic presentation of the Cracker Barrel meatloaf.
Step 7: Bake to Perfection
Place the meatloaf in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C). Keep an eye on it during the last 15 minutes, ensuring the ketchup glaze caramelizes without burning.
Step 8: Rest and Slice
Once the meatloaf is done, allow it to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a moist and flavorful meatloaf.
Step 9: Serve and Enjoy
Serve generous slices of the Cracker Barrel inspired meatloaf alongside your favorite sides. Mashed potatoes, green beans, or macaroni and cheese make excellent companions to this homestyle dish.
With its hearty blend of flavors and straightforward preparation, this Cracker Barrel inspired meatloaf recipe is a surefire way to bring the warmth of comfort food to your table. Share the joy of homestyle cooking with family and friends, and savor the delicious memories created with each bite. Enjoy this classic dish that pays homage to the timeless appeal of Cracker Barrel’s beloved meatloaf.