How to Save Overcooked Meats
Using Cheap Cuts of Meat
How to Stretch Ground Beef
You know you've got your nice tender steaks and you've got your prime ribs and other high end type roasts, but when it comes right down to it, there is nothing like a nice slab of meat loaf. Of course, just like steaks and roasts, not all meat loaves are created equal. I have had meat loaves as dry as the Mojave desert in the middle of summer (sorry mom). I have also had meat loaves that are so bland that after going to bed I dream of eating hospital food and enjoying it. There are lots of other meat loaf disasters. Some of which I can't talk about right now, at least not until the investigations have been completed.
Anyhow, good meat loaf starts with good ground beef. You can use the "all ready to go hamburger" in the meat counter, but chances are, you are spending too much for too little. The prepackaged ground beef is generally made from old cows with questionable vitality and heritage. Even the ground beef made in the shop will have some of that mystery meat mixed in with their shop trim. You can, however, get outstanding quality and even save money.
Next time you want to make a nice meat loaf, look for boneless chuck on sale. Usually, you will find some somewhere. You can often find boneless chuck roasts on sale. Grab a couple of nice ones from the counter and hand them to the butcher and ask him or her if they would grind them up for you. Ground chuck has the best flavor and it will be plenty lean. You now have in your possession the best hamburger known to mankind, or at least to me. You can grind fillet mignon and it won't have the flavor of ground chuck. Now all you have to do is follow my cheap and easy meat loaf recipe and be the envy of all your friends.
John's Cheap and Easy Meat Loaf
1 1/2 pounds fresh ground chuck
1/2 pound pork breakfast sausage (fatter and cheaper the better)
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cups dry bread crumbs or crushed crackers.
1 clove garlic put through a garlic press
4 tablespoons of watered down Worcestershire sauce
1 level teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Mix all ingredients well and mold into a loaf. Place in a pan with plenty of room. bake at 325 degrees until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees or about an hour and 15 minutes. Now, you have a cheap, easy and good meat loaf.
John Smith has been a butcher/meat cutter for 30+ years. He's written the book Confessions of a Butcher - Eat Steak on a Hamburger Budget and Save $$$. You can check some of his archived articles at all-about-meat.com. John, his wife Vickie and their 8 kids live in eastern Idaho in the shadow of the Tetons.
Take the Next Step
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
Food, gas and other prices keep rising while my family's income remains stagnant and I worry we are heading for debt trouble. Tell us: Yes, I think we are heading for debt trouble and could use some help! or No, we're not in debt trouble but I like finding new ways to help keep my family finances on track!