Juicy Meatloaf, and how to choose the right ground beef for it with Perfectly Seasoned Mashed Potatoes


Meatloaf and mashed potatoes must be the most popular comfort food in America. It shows up on countless diner menus and many restaurants run a meatloaf blue plate special once a week. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes are so common that almost everyone has a recipe for them and that recipe is fairly standard. This hub will present one version of meatloaf and mashed potatoes and a few tricks that will help to ensure your meatloaf turns out juicy and flavorful, and that your mashed potatoes will be perfectly seasoned every time.

The perfect beef to make meatloaf with is also the perfect beef to use for hamburgers. You want to have enough fat that the meatloaf stays juicy but not so much fat that it stays greasy. Ground beef typically ranges from 70/30 (or 30% fat) to 90/10. 70/30 beef contains a little too much fat. It cooks very fast which makes it easy to burn, and it shrinks considerably while cooking. 90/10 ground beef cooks slower but doesn’t have enough fat. A certain amount of fat is necessary in your meatloaf to keep it juicy as well as to ensure that all the ingredients cook uniformly. I have found that when using 90/10 ground beef my carrots, green peppers, and onions stay raw as the meat cooks and doesn’t season the meat as I would prefer. In restaurants we typically use 80/20 ground beef (actually 82/18). This seems to be the perfect percentage for most uses of ground beef. It has enough fat to stay juicy and cook uniformly, and it doesn’t have so much fat that it stays greasy or burns too easily.

For one pound of ground beef use one egg, one small yellow onion, about half of one bell pepper, two cloves of garlic, one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and one tablespoon of Saracha (or another hot sauce), a heavy pinch of kosher salt and black pepper, end bread crumbs to bind it. Begin by pureeing the carrot, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Mix the puree with the ground beef, egg. Worcestershire, Saracha, salt and pepper with your hands and add bread crumbs until you can easily form firm dense patties.

I think that meatloaf is one of those recipes that isn’t very exact. Depending on how humid it is, you may need more or less bread crumbs. Too many bread crumbs and your meatloaf is too much like bread; too few and the meatloaf crumbles as it cooks and it doesn’t slice nicely.

Shape the ground beef mixture into a loaf, place it in a baking dish (my grandmother will top the meatloaf with bacon slices as well) and cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake the meatloaf at 350 degrees until it feels firm when you poke it, about mid well (or an internal temperature of about 160 degrees). Uncover and top your meatloaf with barbeque sauce or ketchup and bake until the beef is well done. Allow the meatloaf to sit at room temperature for fifteen or twenty minutes before slicing.

Mashed potatoes are also a fairly standard recipe. Some people insist that Russet potatoes make the best mashed potatoes but I prefer red potatoes. I think they have a better flavor. For perfectly seasoned mashed potatoes salt your water instead of your potatoes. This will ensure that all the salt is dissolved before serving and that the mashed potatoes will not become over salty. I have found that salting the water about as I would pasta results in the perfect amount of salt in my mashed potatoes.

Begin making your mashed potatoes when you have about half an hour of cooking time on your meatloaf. I prefer my mashed potatoes with the skins, but if you don’t peel your potatoes prior to cooking. Cut your potatoes into one inch slices and place in a pot. Cover the potatoes with cold water. Salt the water as you would pasta water or with enough salt that the water tastes salty like the ocean. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they are fork tender and drain off all the water.

Mash the drained potatoes with a heavy whisk or a masher (for a lighter texture, run the potatoes through a food mill or ricer). Mix in the butter and milk (or cream) For one pound of potatoes use half a stick of butter and eyeball milk (or heavy cream) until you have the right texture. Quickly whip the mashed potatoes with a whisk to make them airy and fluffy. I will also add a good deal of black pepper at this time for added flavor.

Serve your meatloaf and mashed potatoes together with a gravy made from the meatloaf drippings. Make the gravy by heating the drippings over medium heat and whisking in flour equal in amount to the meatloaf drippings. Add water; continue to whisk and heat until gravy is formed. Season with salt and pepper.


Meatloaf and mashed potatoes must be the most popular comfort food in America. It shows up on countless diner menus and many restaurants run a meatloaf blue plate special once a week. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes are so common that almost everyone has a recipe for them and that recipe is fairly standard. This hub will present one version of meatloaf and mashed potatoes and a few tricks that will help to ensure your meatloaf turns out juicy and flavorful, and that your mashed potatoes will be perfectly seasoned every time.

The perfect beef to make meatloaf with is also the perfect beef to use for hamburgers. You want to have enough fat that the meatloaf stays juicy but not so much fat that it stays greasy. Ground beef typically ranges from 70/30 (or 30% fat) to 90/10. 70/30 beef contains a little too much fat. It cooks very fast which makes it easy to burn, and it shrinks considerably while cooking. 90/10 ground beef cooks slower but doesn’t have enough fat. A certain amount of fat is necessary in your meatloaf to keep it juicy as well as to ensure that all the ingredients cook uniformly. I have found that when using 90/10 ground beef my carrots, green peppers, and onions stay raw as the meat cooks and doesn’t season the meat as I would prefer. In restaurants we typically use 80/20 ground beef (actually 82/18). This seems to be the perfect percentage for most uses of ground beef. It has enough fat to stay juicy and cook uniformly, and it doesn’t have so much fat that it stays greasy or burns too easily.

For one pound of ground beef use one egg, one small yellow onion, about half of one bell pepper, two cloves of garlic, one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and one tablespoon of Saracha (or another hot sauce), a heavy pinch of kosher salt and black pepper, end bread crumbs to bind it. Begin by pureeing the carrot, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Mix the puree with the ground beef, egg. Worcestershire, Saracha, salt and pepper with your hands and add bread crumbs until you can easily form firm dense patties.

I think that meatloaf is one of those recipes that isn’t very exact. Depending on how humid it is, you may need more or less bread crumbs. Too many bread crumbs and your meatloaf is too much like bread; too few and the meatloaf crumbles as it cooks and it doesn’t slice nicely.

Shape the ground beef mixture into a loaf, place it in a baking dish (my grandmother will top the meatloaf with bacon slices as well) and cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake the meatloaf at 350 degrees until it feels firm when you poke it, about mid well (or an internal temperature of about 160 degrees). Uncover and top your meatloaf with barbeque sauce or ketchup and bake until the beef is well done. Allow the meatloaf to sit at room temperature for fifteen or twenty minutes before slicing.

Mashed potatoes are also a fairly standard recipe. Some people insist that Russet potatoes make the best mashed potatoes but I prefer red potatoes. I think they have a better flavor. For perfectly seasoned mashed potatoes salt your water instead of your potatoes. This will ensure that all the salt is dissolved before serving and that the mashed potatoes will not become over salty. I have found that salting the water about as I would pasta results in the perfect amount of salt in my mashed potatoes.

Begin making your mashed potatoes when you have about half an hour of cooking time on your meatloaf. I prefer my mashed potatoes with the skins, but if you don’t peel your potatoes prior to cooking. Cut your potatoes into one inch slices and place in a pot. Cover the potatoes with cold water. Salt the water as you would pasta water or with enough salt that the water tastes salty like the ocean. Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they are fork tender and drain off all the water.

Mash the drained potatoes with a heavy whisk or a masher (for a lighter texture, run the potatoes through a food mill or ricer). Mix in the butter and milk (or cream) For one pound of potatoes use half a stick of butter and eyeball milk (or heavy cream) until you have the right texture. Quickly whip the mashed potatoes with a whisk to make them airy and fluffy. I will also add a good deal of black pepper at this time for added flavor.

Serve your meatloaf and mashed potatoes together with a gravy made from the meatloaf drippings. Make the gravy by heating the drippings over medium heat and whisking in flour equal in amount to the meatloaf drippings. Add water; continue to whisk and heat until gravy is formed. Season with salt and pepper.

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