Jack's World Famous Caribbean Meatloaf Jerk Recipe
A bad meatloaf can put you off from ever eating one again... but a great meatloaf is a joy and a pleasure. Here's a recipe that combines the old fashioned goodness of a meatloaf with today's taste sensation, Caribbean Jerk. This takes two day to prepare properly, so plan ahead.
Finely chop one large onion, one large red bell pepper, and one large stalk of celery. Sauté in just a little hot oil until translucent, about 20 minutes. About five minutes before the veggies are ready to pull off the flame, mix in one heaping tablespoon of dry Jerk seasoning. (Available commercially, but don't get the cheap stuff. Or, use the recipe that follows this one.)
Don't overcrowd the skillet, if necessary sauté in separate batches and then mix together.
When done, set aside and let cool down.
In a very large mixing bowl sprinkle one heaping tablespoon of dry Jerk seasoning on top of one and a half pounds of high quality ground beef, one pound of ground pork, and two cups of cooked rice. Coarsely mix together with your hands. Don't yet worry about equal distribution.
(A note about hand mixing meat: One of the secrets of a great tasting finished product is to ensure that the "fat" in the meat is not melted into liquid by the heat of your hands during the mixing. You can accomplish this several ways. One is to start with meat that is quite cold from the refrigerator. Another is to set the mixing bowl on top of a larger bowl packed with ice. In all cases be careful about not overmixing, as this will help keep the fat the way we want it.)
Whisk together two whole eggs, one pint of heavy cream, and the third (and final) heaping tablespoon of dry Jerk seasoning.
Put the cooled-down sauted veggies in with the meat, pour the egg/cream mix on top of them, and gently but completely mix together until all ingredients are equally distributed.
Mold into two well oiled standard sized loaf pans ensuring no air pockets remain. Put a smooth, level top on each loaf. DO NOT cook in the loaf pans.
After molding into the loaf pans, turn them over and use a thin bladed knife to pry out the meatloafs so that you have what looks like two upsidedown raw meatloafs.
Using a bottom side of a tablespoon, make a crease down the top of each loaf, running north to south. It should not be deep, just a little less than a half inch or so.
Put the loaves onto a cooking rack so that all the grease will drain out under them while they bake.
Bake for about one hour and fifteen minutes, at 350 degrees. However, every fifteen minutes open the oven and drizzle a quarter cup of beef stock (kept at very low boil) over each loaf (This is what the indention is for, and you should be aiming at that for the length of each loaf.)
Use a meat thermometer to tell you exactly when to stop, the internal temp of each loaf should be about 165.
They can now be eaten on the spot (after allowing them to rest for about ten minutes), but the next step moves you into the realm of "real chef" and makes the loaves into something entirely new.
Let the loaves cool down just a bit and then wrap each one very tightly in aluminum foil.
Put each loaf into the refrigerator and place something pretty heavy (2 or 3 lbs), flat, and wide on the top of each loaf, so that the entire loaf is squashed down.
Pull out each loaf, unwrap, slice and serve cold. It's the best meatloaf you've ever had.
Jack's Dry Jerk Seasoning Mix:
Yield: 8 tablespoons
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (or much, much more if you're like our family)
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons ground thyme
2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried chives or green onions
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground pimento (allspice)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Mix together all the ingredients. Store leftovers in a tightly closed glass jar. It will keep its pungency for over a month.
If you like this recipe I invite you to enjoy some of my others, such as this one for a very unusual soup.