John’s Favorite Meatloaf

John’s Favorite Meatloaf

From The Pioneer Woman

While I’m sure there’s no one on the planet John would rather be married to (right sweetie???), if he HAD to pick a backup, I’m pretty sure Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, would top the list. Have you ever seen that commercial where women attract men by putting Taco Bell in their purse and going to a bar? Well that’s essentially Ree’s strategy. Except the Taco Bell is an endless supply of meaty, manly recipes and the purse is a blog. Ok, it’s a weird analogy, but take one look at her blog and you’ll get my point. She cooks for her cowboy husband and his posse of ranch hands, and her dishes never fail to rock John’s socks off.

We’ve made her meatloaf a number of times and it never disappoints. Nonetheless, when John suggested a meatloaf night last week my recipe ADD caused me to push a new recipe I had seen. But John stood his ground because frankly, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. And if it’s topped with bacon, keep cooking it. So here it is, the man’s man of meatloaves. No superfluous veggies, just two kinds of meat and the condiment king, good old Heinz ketchup.


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 slices bread
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 heaping cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp seasoned salt
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup parsley, minced
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup (John is a firm believer that it must be Heinz)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • your favorite hot sauce (John swears by Sriracha), to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place bread slices in a bowl and pour milk over them. Allow to soak for a few minutes.
  3. Place ground beef, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, seasoned salt, salt, pepper, parsley and eggs in a big bowl. Use your hands to mush everything together until well combined.
  4. Form mixture into 2 free-form “loafs” and place them on a broiler pan, which will allow the fat to drain into the bottom part [JOHN’S TIP – Broiler pan is very important, seriously, if you use a normal baking sheet or one with sides your meatloaf will be deep frying in its own fat before half of the cooking time is up]. To save a lot of time and mess, line the bottom of the broiler pan with a bunch of foil.
  5. Lay bacon slices on top of each loaf.
  6. Mix ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and hot sauce in a small bowl. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the top of the bacon, spreading it out with a spoon.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes. Add another 1/3 of the sauce to the top of the loaves. Continue baking for an additional 15 minutes. In the last 2minutes, turn the oven to broil to get the bacon good and crispy.
  8. Slice and serve with remaining 1/3 of the sauce.

Serves an army of cowboys. Seriously though, she says 8, I think way more. It does make AWESOME meatloaf sandwiches the next day (or 5), but consider halving the recipe if you’re not in the mood for a whole week of meatloaf.

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