Andrew Zimmern's Go-To Meatloaf Uses 3 Types Of Ground Meat

On his show "Bizarre Foods," chef Andrew Zimmern ate some decidedly, well, bizarre foods. On his website, Zimmern describes hakarl, an Icelandic delicacy of putrefied Greenlandic shark meat, as "ammoniated wax." The coral worms he dined on in Samoa tasted of liver fermented in salt water. And a horse rib sausage got high marks for the smoky, "melt-in-your-mouth fat."

As IMBD notes, Zimmern has hungrily sought obscure edibles since "Bizarre Foods" debuted in 2006. The show has even spawned the spinoffs "Bizzare World," "Bizarre Foods America(s)," "Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations," and "Dining with Death" (via TV Tropes.) But before these shows, Zimmern was a lauded chef who worked under some big names in New York City and Minneapolis, a restaurant critic and food writer for "Mpls.-St. Paul Magazine," and an on-air chef for HGTV in the network's early days. More than just an adventurous eater, he is someone who knows his way around a kitchen.

All the same, one might expect a meatloaf from Zimmern to be chockablock with strange meats, alien ingredients, and bits of offal, but his signature recipe errs more on the conventional side than his pedigree suggests.

Different meats, different qualities

Meatloaf in America dates back at least to 1870, says Bon Appétit. Back then, it was a way to use up all parts of the cow by mixing less-desirable cuts with onions, spices, and binders. But it didn't stay that way for long, as soon enterprising American cooks and chefs were adding spices like nutmeg and fancier types of meat, like ham and veal.

Pulled from his online compendium of personal recipes, Zimmern's meatloaf is a rendition that gets full flavor from three different kinds of ground meats. Full-bodied beef provides ample savory flavor, veal gives a wonderful tenderness, and pork  rounds things out with its signature richness. Pork even appears again later in the recipe in the form of smoky bacon. Further, Zimmern calls for the umami punch of canned tomatoes and tomato paste as well as a medley of vegetables, including celery and spinach, that help the meatloaf retain its moisture. It's a recipe worthy of grandmas, which might be why he calls it "Grandma's Meatloaf."

If you're not interested in shopping for three different types of meat, you could also go with our classic meatloaf recipe. This humble yet satisfying version calls only for beef — but note that it is 80% lean, which promotes a nice richness — that gets a flavor boost in the form of piquant Worcestershire sauce, wood rosemary, and sage.