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Meatloaf is one of my favorite comfort foods; it’s one of the first recipes my mother taught me how to make. Over the years, I have put my own spin on her classic recipe; I added liquid smoke, minced garlic, diced carrots, diced celery and a BBQ sauce glaze. Still, the basic flavor remains the same and transports me back to my childhood and opening time in the kitchen with my mother.

You can bake this in a 9 by 5 loaf pan as well. I prefer baking a free-form meatloaf when I want to present it on a platter for dinner guests since it is much easier to plate. I also find that more of the fat drips away when the meatloaf is baked on the baking tray, plus I can glaze more surface area of the loaf. And more glaze means more deliciousness to me!

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tablespoon A 1 sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
1/8 cup BBQ sauce (home-made or store-bought) plus extra for the glaze
1 small sweet onion diced
1 small carrot diced
2 celery ribs diced
2 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a medium saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the diced onion, carrot and celery, a pinch of salt and cook until translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook a further 30 seconds until fragrant. Allow the vegetables to cool.

One the vegetables are cool, combine them and all of the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and combine them well with your hands. Place the mixture onto the baking sheet and shape into a log. Using a basting brush, paint the meatloaf with BBQ sauce.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then reglaze the meatloaf with more BBQ sauce. Return to the oven and continue to bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes. Take the meatloaf out and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy with your favorite sides!


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