I have always loved meatloaf. My mom made pretty good version when I was growing up, but she cooked it in a baking dish so there wasn’t nearly enough crusty exterior. And she never glazed it the way my friend Stanley’s mom did. But then Stanley’s mom used too many fillers and overcooked hers. Then there was Craig who lived behind my house. His mom put whole cooked eggs in hers. That just ain’t right. This one here though…just right.


  • 6 ounces homemade croutons or store-bought garlic croutons
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 onion (peeled and quartered)
  • 1 carrot (cleaned and broken into chunks)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (peeled but left whole)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (roughly chopped)
  • 18 ounces sirloin (trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes, chilled)
  • 18 ounces chuck (same as above, chilled)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Combine the croutons, black pepper, cayenne, chili powder and thyme in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is like sand. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Combine the onion, carrot, garlic and red bell pepper in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped, but not pureed. Add to breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Load the sirloin into the food processor and pulse 10 times. Dump the sirloin into the mixing bowl and repeat with the chuck.
  5. Add the salt, then the egg to the mixing bowl, and using your clean hands, combine thoroughly.
  6. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Plop the meat mixture into the middle of the pan and shape it into a loaf. Or if you prefer precision, line a loaf pan with plastic wrap, mold the meat into it then flip it out onto the parchment.
  7. Insert the probe of a remote oven thermometer so that the tip is in the middle of the loaf. Set the thermometer alarm to go off at 155 degrees F.
  8. Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, combine the ketchup, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and honey in a small bowl.
  10. After 10 minutes*, brush the glaze onto the meatloaf and continue to cook for 25 minutes, or until the loaf reaches 155 degrees F.
  11. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.**

* Seems like an odd step, but 10 minutes will harden the outside of the loaf enough to prevent exiting juices from pushing off the glaze. Also, if the glaze went on at the start it would probably burn…and burnt ketchup is never good eats.
**Don’t worry, carryover heat will continue to push the temperature higher. I’ve never had one come out under-cooked yet.


Add yours
  1. 1
    Michelle Praeger

    Ang Fritz I have doubled the recipe and made one and froze one three different times and it’s always came out just as if I just made it fresh. I do freeze it in the meatloaf shape and not in a big heap. And then when I’m ready to cook it I put it on the counter in the morning and then pop it in the oven about 9-11 hours later. Make the glaze while it cooks the first 10 minutes and then let it get to 155* and you’re ready to eat. I hope that helps.

  2. 2

    Alton is always emphatic to use ONE EGG ONLY, and that bad stuff can happen with more than one egg as binding. Does anyone know why that is?

  3. 3

    My mother’s meatloaf was wonderful but she never wrote any sort if recipe down and I cannot remember everything that went into it . I saw Alton Brown’s recipe and thought wow that sounds really good . I followed the recipe yo the letter and even baked it on parchment paper on a baking sheet which I have never done because I’ve always used a loaf pan. Sorry Mr. Brown. I’m going to try this on a meatloaf sandwich, white bread, catchup and mayonnaise, and see if that perks it up at all . Otherwise, I’ll continue my search for my mom‘s meatloaf !

  4. 6
    Nina Smith

    My family loves it as do my neighbors! My oven takes longer to cook to get to 155 degrees than the 25 min so i use an instant thermometer to check. I leave out the bell pepper (allergies). I don’t own a food processor so my vege chunks are bigger than I’d like!

  5. 7
    Ang Fitz

    I’m wondering if this would freeze well before cooking. I’d love to prep it and then stick it in the freezer to thaw and cook at a later date.

  6. 8
    Eric Robel

    I liked the idea of the coarse chop of veggies in the processor and love the crunch of them in each bite. I added mushrooms, one jalapeño, Italian parsley stems and a few scallions to the mix. I’m an avid smoker, so that’s what I did with this. 185 degrees for 3 hours smoke time then up to 245 until it hit 155 degrees internal temp. The initial baste of sauce gives it a great crust and is a must. Really good flavor, texture and look of it. Oh, I split the mix in half and made 2 smaller loafs.

  7. 10

    This is a fantastic recipe and it’s The only one I’ll ever use, don’t know why some people are saying that it’s terrible, Love it

  8. 11

    If it tastes bad to you than it needs to cook longer. When I first made it the taste wasn’t great when I sampled it, so I cooked it a bit longer and wow! Awesome meatloaf!

  9. 13

    This is the most awful thing I’ve ever tasted in my life and I am NOT a picky eater. I couldn’t even pretend to like it and my poor husband tried so hard…I gave it to the dog…I think he ate it. Although he kind of glared at me for a while…

  10. 15

    No way this meatloaf cooks in 35 mins at 325 – tried it and it’s raw inside. Looked at at least 5 other online recipes, and they all cook the same amount of meat at 350 for 45-60 mins, plus 10 mins rest time. Pretty bummed since dinner is now 1/2 hr late and the side dishes are getting cold.

  11. 16
    Jerolyn Dolan

    This is my go-to meat loaf recipe. I always just make it according to the directions and it comes out perfect every time. I also really like the cumin tomato sauce – delicious!

  12. 17
    Paul Clark

    I decided to push it up a notch, and laid two andouille sausages in the middle of the loaf. It spiced it up, and I called it “Dr Brown’s surprise”. Worked out well.

  13. 18
    Scott Brigham

    I’ve made this one so many times I’ve lost track, it is that good. Two changes I’ve made:
    1. Leave out the honey – the glaze is already sweet enough with the catsup base.
    2. I now use 90% lean ground turkey instead of beef, and it is even better. Can’t tell it’s turkey, but the texture and taste are fantastic.

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