RECIPE: Hickory Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Mini Meatloaves
These little mounds of deliciousness were amazing. I know meatloaf is not really a summer dish by any means. It's a lovely comfort food. What is nice about these is that they are small, individual ones which can be easily frozen and reheated for a quick lunch or weeknight dinner. Now, I need to fess up here. I really have never liked meatloaf, until NOW. We have tried many ways to make it, including Alton Brown's recipe. It just never really does anything for me. It just seems like a bland loaf of beef trying to be a burger and either really soggy or really dry, or both at the same time!
But these were different. First, there is a nice mix of pork and beef in the mixture, which gives them a deeper dimension. Not to mention all the fresh herbs we used from our garden. And, well, let's not forget that they are wrapped in bacon. I mean...it's bacon. Their small size I think helps with the perfect brownness and doneness inside, too. Nice caramelization, with tender middle laced with herbs and minced vegetables. We paired it with a roasted garlic mashed potatoes and a summer veggie saute and VOILA. I was in a food coma. And my husband rejoiced in the fact that we made a meatloaf recipe that finally passed muster!
Hickory Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Mini Meatloaves
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 lb. pork loin cutlets (mix light and dark meat) minced finely by hand with a sharp knife
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
5 small button mushrooms, finely chopped
1/3 red bell pepper, finely chopped
4 baby carrots, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/8 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1/2 tsp. beef base mixed in 1/8 cup hot water (can substitute beef bouillon)
1 tsp. salt
fresh herb mix (see below)
8-12 slices hickory smoked bacon
Fresh herb mix
1 4" sprig Rosemary (remove leaves from stem)
3 2" sprigs Oregano (remove leaves from stem)
2 4" sprigs Tarragon (remove leaves from stem)
1 Tbsp. Thyme leaves (remove leaves from stem)
1 Tbsp. fresh Parsley
Finely chop all herbs and mix together.
Heat oven to 350˚. Mix all ingredients in a big bowl except for the bacon. Shape mixture into 4-6 loaves about 5- 6" in length. Wrap each loaf in bacon by draping a piece over the loaf and cut bacon so it can be tucked under the bottom edge. Angle two strips for the middle of the loaf, cutting off the ends and tucking them under. Than take the excess you just trimmed off and use them to cover the two end areas of the loaf. Place loaves on a foil covered baking sheet. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes. Internal temp should be 170-180˚. Let sit for a few minutes to rest, then serve. You can keep the bacon on or take it off. My daughter LOVES bacon, so we served them on. The bacon is for flavor but it was yummy to eat it along with, in my bacon-loving opinion.