Mom's Barbecued Meatloaf ~ ElephantEats.com

With all the cookie making and eating going on around this time of year, it’s important to still remember to eat regular, healthy meals. 

Not that I’m judging you…trust me, I’ve eaten cookies for an appetizer or for dinner on more occasions than I can count (*cough* yesterday *cough*). But I always end up making myself sick and being hungry an hour later. 

So with all the cookie and dessert posts on all your favorite food blogs right now, I thought it was my duty to give you something to make for dinner. You and your family will thank me, I promise. 

Mom's Barbecued Meatloaf ~ ElephantEats.com

This meatloaf isn’t just any meatloaf. It’s the one my mom made when I was growing up. It brings back so many memories when I smell it baking away in the oven, and when I take my first bite it transports me back to my carefree days of childhood…when I wasn’t the one who had to cook dinner ;) (thanks, mom!)

This can be made with any meat you want. Growing up my mom sometimes used lean ground beef and sometimes ground turkey. Now I make it only with turkey because Nate doesn’t like beef. This isn’t your typical dry, gross meatloaf (although Nate would probably like that), it is very moist and has the most delicious sort of sweet and sour tomato sauce that goes over it. I can eat that sauce with a spoon (and do), it is that good.

Mom's Barbecued Meatloaf ~ ElephantEats.com

So do yourselves a favor and make this for dinner tonight. Just make sure you leave enough time since it does need to bake for over an hour. It’s worth it though!

This was definitely one of my favorite dinners when I was younger. Now, Nate begs me for this meal on a regular basis, and I’m so glad it’s become one of his favorite meals too. It’s delicious when served alongside some homemade mashed potatoes and green beans :)

Mom's Barbecued Meatloaf ~ ElephantEats.com

Mom's Barbecued Meat Loaf
Serves 4
This is a moist meat loaf with a delicious sweet and sour tomato sauce. I have no idea what the origin of this recipe is, so as far as I'm concerned, it's from my mom :)
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Ingredients
  1. 1.5 lb ground beef, veal or turkey (i usually use 1.25 lbs because that's how big the containers of ground turkey are, and it's even better because there's more sauce)
  2. 3/4 cup bread crumbs (Italian style are great, or panko works fine too if that's what you have)
  3. 1 onion, minced
  4. 1 egg, lightle beaten
  5. 1 1/2 tsp salt, dash of pepper
  6. 2 cups of your favorite jarred tomato sauce
  7. 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  8. 2 Tbsp mustard
  9. 3 Tbsp cider vinegar
  10. 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix together meat, bread crumbs, onion, egg, seasonings, and 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce.
  3. Form into a loaf and put into pan (a 9x5 loaf pan works best but make sure it is big enough to hold all the sauce, as it will bubble up).
  4. Combine rest of tomato sauce, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, and worcestershire sauce. Pour over meat loaf.
  5. Bake for 1 hr 15 min, basting occasionally with sauce.
  6. Remove to serving plate. Slice and serve. Pass sauce from pan on the side!
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84 Comments

  1. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    Oh, this does sound wholesome and delicious — and simple too (bonus marks! :) ). Nothing quite like a home-cooked meal by mom and all the memories that are associated with it… Lovely photos Amy! You really capture the succulent moist quality of the loaf (I believe it!).

    • Thanks, Kelly! Haha, and I took the pictures straight out of the fridge, not even when it was hot, so I’m surprised I captured it’s succulence :)

  2. looks all delicious-making me hungry too.

  3. This looks delicious! We all love meatloaf, and I love sweet & sour anything. MUST try this!

  4. This meatloaf looks like a perfect winter meal.

  5. confessional: i’ve NEVER. MADE. MEATLOAF. I feel like that’s some sort of cooking sin or something. And my mom made meatloaf for us growing up, but *lean in as i whisper* i do not have fond memories of it.
    So here’s what i’m going to do: i’m going to make YOUR mom’s meatloaf. Because i trust you, and if you say it’s awesome, then i believe you. I like that it seems simple, and straightforward, and like something i would enjoy were i to make it. definitely something i can do when everyone gets into town this weekend.
    any suggestions on the jarred tomato sauce? just a straight-up one, do you think, or like, herbs? thoughts.

    • you’ve never made meatloaf?! I wouldn’t say it’s a sin, but it’s quite surprising…especially if you ate it growing up. Although if the memories weren’t so fond, I can understand, I suppose. I’m glad you trust me and I hope you do make and love this meatloaf! I usually get a mid-priced jarred sauce (i can’t remember if i’ve ever used something cheaper like Prego). Sometimes I’ll pick one that’s garlic flavored- I wouldn’t use any of the cheese ones tho. Please report back!!! :)

  6. Wow, I am seriously in love with this meatloaf. You always see the traditional meatloaf with ketchup on top. I love that you made your own BBQ sauce and slathered over it. LOVE! Thanks for the recipe Amy. Enjoy the rest of your week! :)

  7. Soooo I probably have scurvy thanks to my cookie for dinner habit I’ve seasonally adopted. Thanks for reminding me there exists such food besides sugar haha!

  8. dont worry you are not alone in this cookig/cake habit recently..I had to remind myself to stop eating chips for dinner and make something wholesome as well. My boyfriend would absolutely love this.

  9. I have definitely been on cookie overload lately…thanks for sharing such a delicous and comforting meal!

  10. YAY, MEATLOAF! I’ve been CRAVING meatloaf for some reason lately… I don’t even know the last time I ate it (circa 1995 maybe?) Since I have no mom’s recipe to try, I might have to give yours a whirl! Plus, it’s made with turkey so it’s super healthy and good for me, right? Which means I don’t have to feel as bad when I realize that I’ve eaten half the pan (oops). :) Thanks, Amy!

    • Really? i don’t know if I’ve ever had a meatloaf craving…I hope you’ll give this one a try. It totally is a healthy meatloaf! There’s no oil in it. You can absolutely eat half the pan without feeling guilty. I won’t tell ;)

  11. I’m right there with you. I have a lighter, savory post coming up Sunday to combat all the sweets. Balance is key. I absolutely love a tomatoey meatloaf like this one.

  12. Good call on the savory. We had a dinner party Sunday night that ended with a lot of sweets and a Monday morning clean up that started with a lot of sweets. I’ve had a sugar hangover all week.
    I adore meatloaf- hot is good… or cold in a sandwich with a generous slab of mayo. And I think the cold photos are sometimes more pleasing to the camera anyhow.
    Going on my dinner list for xmas week. It’s any easy re-heat too:)

  13. I just yelled to Matthew “We’re having meatloaf tonight!”. This looks delicious, one of my favorite comforting meals!

  14. I’m kicking myself, because I have absolutely no ground meat of any kind in the house right now, and won’t have time to get to the grocery store before the weekend. This means that I have three days…THREE DAYS I tell you… to wait until I can try this!! It looks absolutely delicious Amy.. I cannot wait to give this a try!! <3 In all honesty, it's going through my head to at least make the sauce tonight just so I can taste it!!

  15. Oh – thank YOU, Amy! I have to make this one day very soon. I’ve made meatloaf once or twice but it involved mincing onions and yours not only looks delicious, I’m surprised by how simple it is. Moms know best and I bet yours is a great cook by the sound and looks of this! My son loves turkey…hard to decide which to go with but I’m glad to hear it works with all the meats.

    • Oops – I see I can’t get away from mincing an onion. Sorry Amy – I didn’t look careful the first time. Okay, I will get my mincing on and totally do this! Thanks! ; )

    • Haha, yes you do have to mince an onion, but don’t worry about cutting the pieces super tiny. A small dice is fine. It’s just that if the pieces are too big then the meatloaf doesn’t hold together well. Let me know if you try it!

      • Amy!! I made this for dinner tonight (it looked too good to wait) and…it was incredibly delicious!! Everyone: MAKE THIS!! My husband had seconds (as in 2 big portions) and my little one also had seconds (smaller versions)…I served it with some garlic mashed potatoes. It was definitely the best meatloaf we ever had and will become a regular part of my cooking repertoire so thank you!!

        I used 85/15 ground beef and a mix of plain and seasoned breadcrumbs. It made lots of yummy sauce and I didn’t need to baste it at all while cooking because it was just sitting on top. I grated the onions because that’s what I always did with meatloaf and my little one is not a fan of onion pieces and this way, he didn’t even notice. Only thing I did was grate in a clove of garlic. Oh, my meatloaf was done in under an hour (I checked the temp.)…maybe because my loaf pan is kind of wide…I had about 1 1/4 lbs. of beef.

        Anyway, you rock and please extend my compliments to your mom!!! xo

        • Sorry I’m only getting to this comment now…I’m SO EXCITED that you made the meatloaf!!! (even if it did involve mincing onions ;) ) Depending on the size of the pan you use, how much meet, and the way you shape your loaf, it doesn’t always need basting. Grating the onions is such a good idea! Although i’m partial to the onion pieces, hehe :) Thanks for letting me know how it turned out, Monica!!

  16. I’ve never had meatloaf, but it looks so good that I’m dying to try it! I love how you used ground turkey, and the sauce looks out-of.this.world amazing! : )

  17. Mom’s meatloaf, grandma’s chili. Yes! I’m totally feeling you on these childhood recipes. I think I might re-make a bunch of them for the blog.

    This meatloaf looks great. My mom makes a meatloaf too but its kind of boring…shh don’t tell her i said that…. the sauce looks great!

  18. While not a big meat eater, I’m a huge fan of processed meats, meatloaf included! I lovvvve meatloaf! I never seem to make it the same way twice, though:)

    • I never really thought of meatloaf as a processed meat, but i suppose it is. This really is pretty healthy though! It’s fun to play around with recipes but this meatloaf is one I don’t mess with ;)

  19. I didn’t grow up eating meatloaf so it seems like such a novelty to me. You made this look so moist and delicious! I want to try your mom’s version ASAP, Amy! Thank you for sharing!

  20. Old, handed down recipes are just the best. I love how this has cider vinegar in it. When I was growing up my mother’s meatloaf was one of my most favourite and most looked forward to meal as well xx

    • I wish I had some more old recipes…especially from my grandma. I guess I’ll have to start the tradition with my own kids. The cider vinegar in this is totally what makes it. I love that sour flavor :) Thanks, Charlie!

  21. This looks really good! Thank you for inspiring something I can bake besides cookies. ;) I just got five pounds of ground turkey on a huge sale and I now know what I’m doing with at least 1.5 pounds of it. :)

  22. I’ve never tried meatloaf, I really should!

  23. I just recently jumped on the meatloaf train. My mom never made it when I was growing up, but my husband’s mom made it all the time. He started making us meatloaf when we first moved in together and it was suuuuper yummy…. now I kind of want meatloaf.

    • So funny how everyone eats different foods growing up. Meatloaf is def one of those foods you get a craving for, and this one in particular. It’s diff than most. I hope you’ll try it, Alyssa!

  24. Yep. Meatloaf lovers in this house too!
    The best part? Leftover meatloaf sammies!
    Oh yeah!

  25. Looks very delicious and wholesome. I love to recreate dishes from my childhood…brings back lots of fond memories and lovely feelings.

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

  26. Yes we do still need to eat dinner, apparently, don’t we? Cookies, while awesome, just don’t seem to cut it! Though this totally does!

  27. This is a meatloaf from my past as well…it is so good.

  28. I love meatloaf, too, Amy! It’s pure comfort food…and mom’s recipe is always the best :)

  29. Um, did someone say cookies for dinner? Guilty! More than once….this month. :) I am actually not a huge meatloaf fan, mostly because they’re usually the gross, dry ones you mentioned. If it’s moist, with a sweet and sour sauce? I’m sold! I’m totally going to give this a try and give up my cookie eatin’ ways.

    • Haha, glad I’m not the only one! Do you think guys have cookies for dinner too, or is it just a girl thing? I promise this meatloaf will make a meatloaf lover out of you…try it!! :)

  30. this looks beautiful amy! and a very welcome post at this time of year – it’s good to be reminded that we can’t always exist on cookies alone, alas. great post!
    the hobbit kitchen x

  31. I have definitely consumed too many cookies this holiday season – and now I just want a slice (or two!) of this meatloaf! It looks perfect.

  32. Everything has been cookies or candy and now I find this lovely meatloaf. I love it – it’s just like a hug from my grandmother. Perfect with mashed potatoes and and a green veg.

  33. You’re right, one can only handle sweets for so long before craving something savoury and substantial! My stepdad would go crazy for this meatloaf… it’s one thing he always craves that my Chinese mom never makes :) Maybe I’ll do it instead.

  34. looks so delicious and moist. i sure could use some of that sauce smothered over some pasta. delectable.

  35. Pingback: Not My Mom's Meatloaf | Brooklyn Farm Girl

  36. Where were your words of wisdom on Christmas Eve when I ate more than my fair share of cookies, fudge, and cake? Yup, I made myself sick. I guess that’s what no willpower will get ya. This loaf o’ meat looks delicious. Going on the menu…like now.

    • Hahahah, sorry! Why do we continute to make ourselves sick by dessert-bingeing?! You’d think we’d have learned our lesson by now ;) I really do hope you try this meatloaf…it’s my fave! Thanks, Jennie!

  37. Amy… we loved your meatloaf so much that I actually made it for Christmas dinner — lol. (We are not particularly traditional when it comes to our Christmas dinner so that opened the door). To me it represented the perfect combination of no fuss (ie: actually enjoy the day with your family/kids) and delicious/satisfying flavour. We all loved it!! (served it with yorshire pudding – heeheeh – a must on the 25th) — and your loaf is back in the oven right now with a little twist; we’ll see how it turns out. (Sometimes it’s best not to mess). thanks so much for this one!! xo

    • Wow, I’m SO flattered! That’s such a great idea for Christmas dinner…good thinking, Kelly :) Oooh, yorkshire pudding is so yummy. I’m totally making that to go along with it next time!

  38. I can’t believe that I hated meatloaf as a kid, because now it’s one of my favorite things. The sauce on yours looks divine–there’s never enough sauce in the recipe I use. So thanks! And since it’s taken me so long to comment, I can see that other people made it and loved it, which is awesome! (And not surprising.)

    • I’m glad you decided to give meatloaf another try as an adult ;) This recipe is THE BEST. I really hope you’ll try it. The sauce is seriously amazing.

  39. This meatloaf looks amazing! My hubby loves meatloaf and yours looks incredibly moist! It’s been really cold here lately so we are totally craving hearty comfort foods like this :) Can’t wait to give this one a try and thanks so much for sharing Amy :)

  40. That meatloaf would hit the spot during any cold spell — it looks delish!

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