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Old 05-31-2005, 08:20 AM   #1
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Meatloaf temperature

Does anyone know what the internal temperature of meatloaf should be when it's time to take it out of the oven (not the final temperature that it should reach after standing)? I always seem to have trouble keeping mine from over baking so I'd like to catch it at just the right temperature. I'm more concerned with baking it just long enough to cook it and keep it moist rather than what temperature the government thinks I ought to cook my meat to.
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Old 05-31-2005, 08:44 AM   #2
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According to the USDA, always use an instant read thermometer, and cook it to 160 degrees. Temps will raise approx. 5 degrees by resting, so mathmatically that would mean to take it out at 155 degrees. I personally don't like mine cooked quite that long, it ends up a little dry, so I cook mine to 150 in the oven and let it rest from there.

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Old 05-31-2005, 08:46 AM   #3
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mmm...just thinking about it makes me hungry for meatloaf tonight! Guess that's what I'lll be making!
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Old 05-31-2005, 10:17 AM   #4
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Thanks, flutterbyu. I'm making a meatloaf with 2 pounds of ground beef. To reach 150 degrees, about how long would you bake yours and at what oven temperature? I've been baking mine at 350 for about an hour, but that seems to be too long.
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Old 05-31-2005, 12:09 PM   #5
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I'm assuming you are using a loaf pan and not a 9x13...I've tried it both ways, but no matter what, my 9x13 always ends up dry I always bake mine (in a loaf pan) at 425 for 15 min, and then drop the temp down to 325 for about 40-45 minutes. I check it usually at the 35 minute point to see where I'm at for temp. Sometimes, it's almost at 150 by then. So, it's about an hour total, but the 425 degree temp seems to "sear" it up and helps somewhat to keep the juices inside and keeps it more tender. I think it was Alton Brown who first gave me the "searing" tip with meatloaf. I always do it with all my other meats, but never gave it a thought for meatloaf!

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Old 05-31-2005, 12:32 PM   #6
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Thanks again, flutterbyu. I will try your method tonight and see how it goes. I do already have it in a foil lined baking pan, but I may try to lift it out and put it into a loaf pan if I can. There's a glaze on top so that might be a bit tricky. Do you ever have a problem with the grease overflowing out of the loaf pan? That's why I've never tried making my meatloaf in one.
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Old 05-31-2005, 12:43 PM   #7
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I just moved my meatloaf to a loaf pan and it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I just lifted it out by the edges of the foil and set it on the counter. Then, I used the foil to push it into the shape of the loaf pan and dropped it in. It does fill the pan rather full so I pulled the edges of the foil up to make the pan a bit taller to catch the grease.
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Old 05-31-2005, 01:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaSue
It does fill the pan rather full so I pulled the edges of the foil up to make the pan a bit taller to catch the grease.
That's exactly what I do. Plus, I put it on top of a baking sheet just in case, but usually the "shrinking" of the meatloaf seems to compensate for the grease that fills the pan. I don't think I've ever had it run over unless I tip it by accident lifting it out of the oven.
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Old 06-01-2005, 04:29 AM   #9
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Well, my meatloaf did come out a bit more moist than my usual recipe, but it took forever to reach 150 degrees. I think I will shoot for 140-145 next time because it was still a little too dry. Also, I put in 4 ounces of cheddar cheese and I might use a full 8 ounces next time and see if that helps.

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Old 06-02-2005, 02:16 AM   #10
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Linda, moist meatloaf isn't really about hitting the right internal temp. It relates more to other factors such as fat content of the beef/fillers/liquid in the recipe.

First of all, you are using 80/20 ground beef, correct? I've never had a lean ground beef that didn't make dry/dense meatloaf.

Secondly, what fillers are you using? I took a look at the meatloaf recipe on your website. Is that the one you're using? In traditional meatloaf, bread crumbs absorb the juices from the meat/create moistness and they get in the way of the protein strands trying to bond and make the product tender as well. In lc meatloaf, you need something to replace the crumbs. Something absorbant. There are a few lc fillers out there. I've seen pork rinds being used, but don't have a whole lot of faith in them. There's also lc bread, which I'm not a huge fan of either. I like wheat germ as a filler. It's not hugely absorbant, but it does hold some moisture and it has a nice wheaty taste without too many carbs. Carbquik biscuits might work well.

Lastly, if that's the recipe you're using, it doesn't look like you're adding much liquid. Traditional meatloaf usually has milk added and gets quite a lot of liquid from fresh onions. Since you're using onion flakes, you definitely need to add some form of liquid other than the ketchup. Lc milk, if you've got it, would be ideal. If not milk, then cream, if not cream, then water. Although fatty beef and fillers are important, the liquid in the recipe is critical. Fillers aside, if, the next time you make your meatloaf, you add just 1/4 C. liquid, you'll see a drastic improvement moisturewise over what you've been making.

With a recipe with fillers and enough liquid, you'll never have to worry about dryness or cooking to the right internal temp. Because I like a lot of fresh onions in mine, my meatloaf has so much liquid in it I can cook it forever and it almost always ends up too moist. I've cooked my meatloaf for 3 hours and it was still incredibly juicy.

And, regarding baking temps, it's been proven that higher temps force more liquid out of meats, so if you want a moister end product, bake it at a lower temp for a longer time. It won't get quite as browned, but it will hold it's moisture better. It's a trade off. With high temps you get more color/flavor but at low temps you get a moister end product. Go lower.

Last edited by scott123; 06-02-2005 at 02:18 AM..
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Old 06-02-2005, 05:01 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the ideas, Scott123. I'll give them a try. Part of the problem is that I have never been a meatloaf lover. That goes all the way back to my mom's meatloaf. She put oatmeal in hers and something about the texture really turned me off. I'm not sure why I don't care for meatloaf because I love all the flavors and things that are in them, but to have one come out dry or mealy sure doesn't help any.

I used to use regular hamburger instead of ground chuck, but have recently switched now that the cheap stuff has gotten so much worse as far as the amount of water in it and other junk. It seems like ground chuck is now more like what regular hamburger used to be. I don't have access to quality meat and have to rely on the grocery store.

I will try adding some liquid. I remember that my old high carb meatloaf had milk and sour cream in it, but I assumed that once the bread crumbs were removed the liquid wouldn't be needed as there is nothing to absorb it. It's sure worth a try. I have also tried adding Carbquik to a meatloaf without any better luck, but maybe Carbquik biscuits would work differently. The thing I'm trying to avoid is adding too many carbs to a dish that should be the protein part of the meal and not a carb hog.

The good news is that even a dry meatloaf can pretty easily be doctored up as leftovers by topping it with a nice sauce. That's what I'll be doing tonight. I've got an idea for making a sauce that's reminiscent of that old Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup. I accidentally made some hamburger gravy once that had that kind of flavor. I'd started throwing in a little of this and that to perk up the flavor and before I knew it, it had turned into Golden Mushroom Soup. The base of the sauce will be Dottie's Mushroom Soup recipe with a few things added to it.

Scott, any chance that you'd post your meatloaf recipe?
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Old 06-02-2005, 08:46 AM   #12
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Linda, my recipe is, like most of the stuff I do, pretty labor intensive. For instance, I caramelize my onions in oil first (I can't stand crunchy half-cooked onions). If you want it, I'll be happy to type it out, but I wanted to warn you beforehand that it's kind of a pain in the butt to make. Are you sure you want it?
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Old 06-02-2005, 09:17 AM   #13
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I use red wine (cheap stuff) for liquid in my meatloaf and it's always moist.....it's about 4 carbs per cup....and pork rinds in place of the original recipe's breadcrumbs, about 1/2 cup for 2 pounds of beef. I put the pork rinds in a plastic bag and let them kids go to town "smooshing" them into crumbs, lol. Also an egg helps hold it together a bit so you don't have to use as much breadcrumbs. I also add mozerella cheese and mushrooms before I roll up the loaf.

I use a meatloaf pan, that is, a loaf pan with a special insert that has holes in it to allow the grease to fall through to the bottom. I like moist meatloaf, which mine is, but I don't like the grease on it (although I started doing this when I was low-fat dieting, lol....but I still don't like the grease on it).

Early in our relationship I served hubby-to-be meatloaf. He jokes now that when he saw it coming to the table he was very disappointed 'cause he hates meatloaf, but being the kind gentleman that he is he wasn't going to say anything to hurt my feelings. I still remember half way through that meal him exclaiming, "Wow this really good!". Then he explained his dislike and his plan and now over 10 years later we still joke about it.
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Old 06-02-2005, 12:05 PM   #14
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I always add a can of tomato sauce or a can of hot sauce. Regular onions and bread crumbs made from lc bread. Julie
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Old 06-02-2005, 03:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott123
Linda, my recipe is, like most of the stuff I do, pretty labor intensive. For instance, I caramelize my onions in oil first (I can't stand crunchy half-cooked onions). If you want it, I'll be happy to type it out, but I wanted to warn you beforehand that it's kind of a pain in the butt to make. Are you sure you want it?
I didn't realize that you don't have your recipe on your computer, Scott. If it's too much trouble to type out, don't bother, but now you've got me very curious. I can't imagine what you do that's so labor intensive. Maybe you could just post the list of ingredients and I can play around with them. I can caramelize onions and they sound like they'd be very nice in meatloaf. Mine may not come out as tasty as your "secret" recipe, but in a meatloaf I don't think it will make that much difference. You've got me wondering if you actually grind your own meat for your meatloaf or something like that.
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Old 06-02-2005, 05:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott123
Linda, my recipe is, like most of the stuff I do, pretty labor intensive. For instance, I caramelize my onions in oil first (I can't stand crunchy half-cooked onions). If you want it, I'll be happy to type it out, but I wanted to warn you beforehand that it's kind of a pain in the butt to make. Are you sure you want it?
Well, if LindaSue doesn't want it,[COLOR=Red] I [/COLOR]sure do!

Yum Yum! I can hardly wait....

ps: next week I'm out of Bakery & Desserts Station (thank u thank u! it's been heLL) and into the Meat Cookery Station!
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Old 06-03-2005, 08:31 AM   #17
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Scott's got the right idea. It's very much about the fat content of the meat and not the temperature. You can have a rare steak and be fine, but ground beef you really shouldn't mess with. It should be cooked pretty well because the outsides of the cut of beef get ground into it, so if there was external contamination, it's now internal and it doesn't all get the brunt of the heat of the oven.

Definitely shoot for 85% or lower meat, or even add some fatty ground pork to the recipe.

That being said, I have even been successful with lean ground turkey, though, by adding spinach (frozen chopped, drained), parmesan, and egg. They provide enough moisture and texture to keep it soft and juicy. Not too carby, either. I imagine that shredded radish would work great, too. (For those not in the know, radishes lose their bite when cooked.)

ETA: Oh, and as for low-slow cooking of meats not browning them, that's what a quick broiler at the end is for.

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Old 06-03-2005, 10:41 AM   #18
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Thanks everyone for all the ideas. I'm trying to avoid using pork rinds, Carbquik and even parmesan cheese in my meatloaf. I normally make it with parmesan, but the flavor is too noticeable and clashes with the flavor I'm looking for. I still think that the USDA guidelines for the temperature of ground beef are way too high. My meat was definitely done well before 160 degrees and even before 150 degrees. I think I will work on the ideas of adding more liquid and some sautéed veggies to add moisture.
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Old 06-03-2005, 01:47 PM   #19
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I've used both low-carb bread and pork rinds in meatloaf and I haven't noticed anything bad about the flavor or texture -- the meatloaf flavor tends to cancel out the pork rind flavor -- anyway, proper meatloaf is made with ground pork, ground beef and ground veal -- so maybe pork rinds substitute for the ground pork??? I also add an egg or two. Dana Carpender has a good recipe for meatloaf that doesn't use bread but has swiss cheese, 2 eggs, onion, green pepper and celery. It's not dry, but it doesn't have the uniform cohesive texture that I'm used to -- it's more like a large, baked hamburger!
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Old 06-03-2005, 02:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaSue
Thanks everyone for all the ideas. I'm trying to avoid using pork rinds, Carbquik and even parmesan cheese in my meatloaf. I normally make it with parmesan, but the flavor is too noticeable and clashes with the flavor I'm looking for. I still think that the USDA guidelines for the temperature of ground beef are way too high. My meat was definitely done well before 160 degrees and even before 150 degrees. I think I will work on the ideas of adding more liquid and some sautéed veggies to add moisture.

If you are avoiding the pork rinds because of the taste, let me just say that I can't stand the taste or smell of pork rinds by themselves......but using them in my meatloaf recipe I don't get even a HINT of their yucky flavor. I think parmesan would definitely take over flavorwise, and haven't tried Carbquick or the like....in fact the pork rinds were first used by my husband who knew I hated them but says he also knew I'd never be able to taste them. I grilled him on whether there was bread crumbs and he kept insisting it was fine for me to eat on this WOE, so I finally trusted him and ate it. AFTER I said it tasted great would he finally tell me it had the dreaded pork rinds in it.

Just thought I'd let you know, because I never in a zillion years would have used those. I hate the smell so bad, I let the kids do the grinding of them in a bag and then they add them and get to moosh the burger and other ingredients with them. It's their favorite part of cooking, mooshing raw meat, lol.
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Old 06-04-2005, 07:13 AM   #21
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I made a meatloaf once with half ground beef and half ground pork and didn't care for the flavor and I can't afford veal. So, I'll have to come up with an all beef meatloaf that I'm happy with.

I have thought about trying pork rinds, but I couldn't figure out what purpose they serve in a meatloaf. They won't absorb liquid like bread crumbs do. I suppose they'd add more fat to the meat, but I'm not sure what else.
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Old 06-06-2005, 07:11 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaSue
I made a meatloaf once with half ground beef and half ground pork and didn't care for the flavor and I can't afford veal. So, I'll have to come up with an all beef meatloaf that I'm happy with.

I have thought about trying pork rinds, but I couldn't figure out what purpose they serve in a meatloaf. They won't absorb liquid like bread crumbs do. I suppose they'd add more fat to the meat, but I'm not sure what else.

They help bind the hamburger together, I think. WHen I've not used enough the finished product falls apart, like a hamburger on the grill that you try to pick up by an edge instead of with a spatula.
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Old 11-27-2005, 03:55 PM   #23
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I am making meatloaf today so I needed to re-read this interesting thread again. Martha Stewart has a meatloaf recipe on her website today and these are the tips: For a loaf with crisp edges, shape the meat mixture with your hands into a log slightly smaller than the pan. And for a light texture, do not press the log into the pan; just drop it in. Do not press down or into corners. Do not overmix or meatloaf will be dense. Brush top of loaf with sauce or glaze AFTER baking 50 minutes; continue cooking until juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 160°, about 10 minutes.
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Old 11-27-2005, 09:25 PM   #24
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LindaSue, "and keep it moist rather than what temperature the government thinks I ought to cook my meat to."
Good for you! Sometimes I really disagree with what our government says. I know they recommend 170* for Campylobactor bacteria in poultry- but that completely destroys any enjoyment whatsoever. Same as recommending 160 for pork. I'd rather take the risk for a good quality product.

Scott123, I am printing that one out. Very interesting.

I've been trying to make a good low carb meatloaf for years. I've tried so many recipes and have never been completely satisfied. Happy, yes, but not satisfied. Last time I tried backing down to 75%. It was nice, but not perfect. Dryness and "togetherness" is an issue. Flavor is not an issue with me (easy), it is texture and moistness- same as meatballs.

Scott123, please DO post your recipe!
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Old 11-27-2005, 09:54 PM   #25
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I might be wierd, but I like to add a can of chopped black olives and some ground up nuts to my meatloaf. I use the nuts in place of bread crumbs. I just grind up peanuts or brazil nuts or a combo in my mini food processor until they are not quite all the way chopped up. The combination of the nuts and black olives taste like part of the meat in the meatloaf.
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Old 11-28-2005, 05:22 AM   #26
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The ingredients in my meatloaf are:

3 pounds ground beef
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
8 ounces tomato sauce
4 eggs
2 Tablespoons beef bouillon granules
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
2 Tablespoons dehydrated onion flakes
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste

I get 2 loaves out of this- 6 servings per loaf.

In the old days, I used 2 envelopes of Lipton French Onion Soup & Dip mix, however,
I've been subbing the bouillon and some of the seasonings for the soup mix to lower the
carb count a bit, especially since I'm still using tomato sauce. (It could be worse; I
used to use ketchup.) I think the mushrooms and the tomato sauce keep it from getting
dry. I never bake it in a loaf pan; I always shape them into ovals (during football
season, I have been known to shape them into footballs), and bake them side-by-side
on some shallow pan, like a jelly roll pan, for about an hour.

Per Serving (using 2 envelopes of commercial French onion soup mix): 403 Calories; 32g Fat
(72.1% calories from fat); 22g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 159mg Cholesterol;
793mg Sodium.

Per Serving (using bouillon granules, parsley, onion flakes, onion powder and garlic powder):
392 Calories; 32g Fat (73.6% calories from fat); 22g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate;
1g Dietary Fiber; 159mg Cholesterol; 382mg Sodium.

I like meatloaf, but I like it better the next day, cold, with a squirt of yellow mustard.
In fact, I will make a meatloaf and take it straight from the oven to the fridge,
just to have cold meatloaf the next day.


Hot, fresh-out-of-the-oven meatloaf- I can take it or leave it.
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Old 11-28-2005, 06:16 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LowCarbConvert
LindaSue, "and keep it moist rather than what temperature the government thinks I ought to cook my meat to."
Good for you! Sometimes I really disagree with what our government says. I know they recommend 170* for Campylobactor bacteria in poultry- but that completely destroys any enjoyment whatsoever. Same as recommending 160 for pork. I'd rather take the risk for a good quality product.
They also recommend that we eat all of our eggs hard boiled. Yeah, right.
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Old 11-28-2005, 07:20 AM   #28
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I pat my meatloaf out into a wide rectangle and down the middle I put slices of ham and cheese. Then I fold the sides over the ham and cheese and smoosh it together so the cheese won't leak out, turn it over, and put it in a 9X12 pan lined with parchment paper to bake. My husband wouldn't even eat meatloaf before I started doing this and now he requests it!
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Old 12-03-2005, 10:15 AM   #29
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Check out the Jan-Feb issue of Cook's Illustrated for an excellent article on an all-beef meatloaf -- the recipe given is too high-carb, but the gelatin idea, possibly with lots more cheese, no saltines and not overbaking might be really good. I can't wait to find out! The glazing method looks really good, too.
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Old 12-04-2005, 07:13 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oliveoyl
Check out the Jan-Feb issue of Cook's Illustrated for an excellent article on an all-beef meatloaf -- the recipe given is too high-carb, but the gelatin idea, possibly with lots more cheese, no saltines and not overbaking might be really good. I can't wait to find out! The glazing method looks really good, too.
Over50Mom (Nancy) made that one with a few tweaks the other day and she said it was probably the best low carb meatloaf she's made so far and she's tried quite a few. I'll let her know that you brought up the Cook's Illustrated recipe and maybe she'll post her version here.
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