Thursday, May 23, 2013

Meat Loaf, Never Better

Whole Grain Cashew Smoked  Meatloaf

Ready to Smoke
     I love meatloaf,  it is the ultimate comfort food.  Hot with mashed potatoes, it is amazing.  But I have to say the reason I make three large meatloaves at a time is that I love cold meatloaf sandwiches.  With mayo on a good bread,  there is not a better sandwich.

     I also love adding grains to my meatloaf.  From quinoa's to oatmeal, adding grains, ups the nutrition and it really adds to the flavor and texture of the meatloaf.

     I had never smoked a meatloaf before, but reading about it online and having tried smoked meatloaf like meats before, I was really excited to try one in the smoker.

     Just for the record, I adore my smoker.  It is my newest best friend.  There are a lot of smokers on the market and I have been eyeing them for a long time.  I finally decided to buy one at the end of last year and I love it.  The one I decided to buy was the Traegar Texas Smoker.  It works on wood pellets and has a built in thermostat for easy control.  Of course I had to buy the big one and I am so glad I did.  I have used it and used it so much.  I love It.
I have smoked  everything you can imagine on this smoker.  I have even used it as a BBQ grill and I have to say it makes the most wonderful burgers I have ever eaten and steaks are even better.  A few weeks ago I tried placing pizza stones on it for baking pizzas,  it was amazing.  High heat and the pizza's baked perfectly.  So as always I try to optimize my purchases.  If I bought it just for smoking it would be worth it, but since it does everything, it is really worth every penny spent.

Traegar Texas Smoker

     Oh, just to mention,  I bought it at Costco on a road show.  It was a great deal.  The best price I have found.  Make sure if you buy one to get one with the thermostat,  Everyone I have talked to that does not have one with a thermostat regrets it.  Ok, back to the meatloaf.

Topped with Ketchup,  Might as well smoke some pork at the same time.

I love smoking,  I have to be careful who I say that to. 

     I am not a ketchup person.  But meatloaf has to have ketchup on it.  In it and on it.  Meatloaf without ketchup is like a pie without a crust,  bread without butter,  Iced tea without ice,  it just does not work.

     Something in the baking process changes the flavor of Ketchup.  It caramelizes to perfection.  Just the perfect sweetness to the savory of the meatloaf.

     Meatloaf can be made ahead and frozen for future use.  When I am making it I like to do a lot.  Get it  done and prepared for future use.  The best way is to smoke it and freeze it.  It is a quick meal out of the freezer.

Smoking meatloaf makes it better,  It takes sometime, but it is worth it. 
The Recipe
Smoked Meatloaf
This does make a large batch,  perfect for freezing and using later. 

6 lbs. ground beef
4 cups grains, if using quinoa cook it first, if using oats no need to cook it first.
This recipe has steel cut oats
4 cups cracker crumbs
2 cups cashews, chopped
12 eggs, well beaten
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 large yellow onions, chopped finely
6  to 8 garlic cloves chopped
half bunch fresh parsley, chopped
bunch fresh oregano, chopped or 3 to 4 tablespoons Tuscan Sunset, Penzeys
2 tablespoons each salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix really well.  Form into loaves and either freeze or place in cooking pan and top with ketchup for baking.  Bake for one hour at 350 degrees  or smoke for 4 to 5 hours on smoke or low temp.   Make sure internal temperature is at 180 degrees before removing from the smoker. Let rest before slicing.  

    Meatloaf is just an example of how we can add grains the foods we eat making them healthier and tastier.  I think both taste and nutrition are equal in importance.  If it does not taste good we won't eat it and it is not somewhat healthy we should not eat it.  We should not take away our comfort foods, we should add to them.  Adding grains to the foods we eat is easy and it is an easy fix in upping the nutrition in our diets.   Enjoy the adventure,  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy.

1 comment:

  1. What's your favorite kind of smoke to use with this meatloaf?