Many have tried to improve traditional meatloaf with fancy mix-ins and showy techniques. But at Marc Taft's new American restaurant Chicken and the Egg in Marietta, Georgia, the chef proves that a layer of bacon is the only addition a meatloaf needs. As his meatloaf cooks, the bacon mingles with the sweet glaze and permeates the pork and beef, infusing the entire dish with a rich, smoky flavor. Serve the meatloaf alongside the extra sauce for dinner or slip leftover slabs into a sandwich for a memorable day-after lunch.
Recipe adapted from Marc Taft, Chicken and the Egg, Marietta, GA
Yield: 1 meatloaf
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 cup panko
½ cup ketchup
1 teaspoon ground cumin
⅛ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
⅛ teaspoon hot sauce
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
4 slices bacon
1. Make the meatloaf: Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium skillet set over medium heat, heat the oil and cook the onion and garlic until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, cooked onion and ketchup mixture, eggs and thyme. Add the panko and mix well.
3. Make the glaze: In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the ketchup, cumin, Worcestershire, hot sauce and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Lightly grease a loaf pan or baking sheet with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Form a log on the cookie sheet or in the pan and lightly coat the top with some of the glaze. Lay the bacon slices across the loaf lengthwise with the pieces touching each other.
5. Place in the oven and bake until the meatloaf is firm, 1 to 1½ hours. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool before slicing. Serve with the remaining glaze.