A delicious platter of nutritious food is probably one of the best and most anticipated joys enjoyed by all of humankind; apart from the nutritional benefits of various foods that we regularly consume, something very ecstatic and profound happens when we devour a delicious meal. So, it is safe to say that no person alive would turn down a delicious recipe and restrain their desire and hunger upon confronting a delightful meal. Such is the case for the cracker barrel meatloaf recipe as well. It is easily amongst the best-favored dishes all over the world.
As we all know, the concept of food preparation is an ancient concept. People have mastered and altered it throughout the history of humankind. However, the primary reason for eating a nutritious meal is to stay alive and healthy.
Although, recent food discoveries and blends of various tastes worldwide have made this subject turn fancy. People genuinely love and accept such changes worldwide. The constant exchange of goods and ideas has made recipes such as the cracker barrel meatloaf recipe a very effortless and prevalent topic in the current world that we live in.
In this segment, you will come to know about the most effective cracker-barrel meatloaf recipe that you can cherish with your friends and family on weekends. This recipe is quite simple if you follow the steps mentioned in this blog properly.
Why is the cracker barrel meatloaf so famous?
The cracker barrel meatloaf is a delicious food platter, primarily consumed and enjoyed worldwide. People generally consider this as a comfort meal as it is perfect for family gatherings. Thus, you can effectively prepare this dish with a few necessary directions and ready it by night!
The world got the gift of the first-ever Cracker Barrel in the year 1969. This took place in Lebanon, Tennessee, when Dan Evins initiated the recipe for the first time. The cracker-barrel meatloaf became one of their most popular food items in the next few years. This institution became vastly famous for the checkerboards, biscuits, and other vintage candy bars and chairs. In addition, cracker Barrel is famous for the vintage and antiques preserved to uphold the National heritage of the locals.
However, the meatloaf inspired by Cracker Barrel is one of the most loved and celebrated food recipes all across the globe. The United States of America alone is famous for its global meatloaf consumption.
What ingredients do you need to prepare cracker barrel meatloaf?
It might seem to some that the cracker-barrel meatloaf would require tons of ingredients that are hard to find and use in the recipe. However, the ingredients used for making this meatloaf dish are pretty accessible. Most of them might be in your kitchen right now. However, we recommend you choose some of the ingredients mentioned below. These impose a crucial distinction in the taste and smell of the food item.
The ingredients that you would need to prepare easy barrel meatloaf are:
|Ground beef is 80 percent lean in its consistency (2 Pounds)|
|1 large onion|
|1/2 cup Bell Peppers|
|2-3 cups Ritz Crackers|
|4 ounces Cheddar cheese|
|1/2 cup Milk|
|1 teaspoon Salt|
|1/4 Black pepper|
Other ingredients which are necessary and used as toppings in this barrel meatloaf platter are:
- Brown Sugar
You must remember that the meat you choose in this recipe makes up for the most crucial aspect of the dish. Thus, you must select and prepare beef up to 80 percent lean. Using a different composition of meat can make your meatloaf recipe very dry and not juicy at all. So, you will not be able to cherish the taste of what you have prepared.
You can cook 80 percent lean beef thoroughly without letting it dry from the inside. Thus, it remains pretty juicy after the entire process is complete. The similar composition of moisture and juices from the meat makes for a great meatloaf to be cherished by all. However, you can also use sausages if you are unable to find 80 percent lean beef.
Directions to prepare the meatloaf in the best way possible
Now that you are aware of the ingredients used in this recipe, you must also know how to cook the meat and add the other elements to the bowl. This is why you are highly recommended to follow the steps mentioned below and be as precise as possible in the process.
The direction for preparing a platter of delicious meatloaf is as follows:
- You must preheat the oven that you would use to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and then proceed accordingly.
- Take a small bowl and mix ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard as per the already mentioned ratios. This mixture is for preparing the topping of the cracker-barrel meatloaf recipe, and thus, it will be utilized at the end.
- Take a large bowl and add eggs, Ritz Crackers, Milk, Cheese, Onion, Bell Pepper, Salt, and Black Pepper. Once you have added these ingredients, you need to mix them thoroughly.
- Now, add the ground beef you have chosen for the meatloaf preparation into the large bowl and let it mix with the other ingredients. Please make sure not to mix the meat with the other ingredients and leave the mixture.
- Now, take the beef out from the mixture and form it into a loaf. After that, place the loaf on top of a baking pan.
- Now, bake the loaf at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for the next thirty minutes.
- Now, take the freshly cooked meatloaf out from the oven and spread the topping that you had prepared on top of it.
- Next, reach your over one more time and bake the meatloaf for another 30-40 minutes at 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Let the freshly prepared meatloaf cool down for a while, and then serve it to your friends and family to enjoy the meal together.
Key considerations for preparing cracker barrel meatloaf
As mentioned earlier, the cracker-barrel meatloaf recipe depends on the kind of meat you are using. Thus, most of the flavors and tastes of the food item are based upon the beef’s consistency. For this reason, you must use lean meat up to 80 percent. This makes the prepared meatloaf juicy and full of exquisite flavors. However, there are some other considerations to keep in mind as well.
Given below are some aspects that we highly recommended to keep in mind while preparing Cracker Barrel meatloaf for dinner:
Over mixing the meat is not a good decision
If you are preparing the meatloaf for the first time, you might succumb to this particular mistake as it is one of the most prevalent in this recipe. People tend to mix the meat with the other ingredients to make the dish more wholesome and tasty. However, this takes away the inherent properties of the meal and its tendency to induce the natural taste of the beef that you have chosen.
Moreover, this makes the meatloaf quite heavy, and the taste of onions, garlic, and other sauces overpowers the delicate flavors of the beef. Thus, it is highly recommended not to mix the meat and let it breathe alongside other ingredients, naturally.
Cooking the meat at high temperatures is a big mistake
Like the previous mistake, overcooking or cooking the meat at higher temperatures is a grave mistake. Not only are you exposing the meatloaf to be burnt upon heating it at higher temperatures, but you are also limiting the time it requires to be cooked appropriately. Time is one of the critical aspects for a well-prepared meatloaf cracker barrel platter, and thus, limiting the time will not allow the meat to be cooked appropriately.
The higher degrees of heat from the oven will cook the outer crust of the meatloaf very quickly, but due to the less time in hand, the insides of the meatloaf will hardly receive enough heat to be cooked. Thus, the meatloaf will remain half cooked. However, suppose you try to extend the time inside the oven while cooking at higher temperatures. In that case, you may eventually burn the outer layer of the meatloaf and ruin the dish altogether. So, it is advisable to cook within the acceptable ranges of heat.
Adding vegetables can be a great idea
This part does not constitute the don’ts of the recipe, but the don’ts might turn the dish into something more delicious and nutritious. Vegetables are one of the critical components of this recipe. However, you do not need to add them mandatorily. So, if you seem to have enough time to cut and prepare some veggies for the cracker barrel meatloaf, it is the best way to go about it.
Apart from the onions and pepper, you ought to add to this recipe, and you can also use freshly chopped carrots and celeries to make the dish more delightful. Vegetables are necessary to maintain the moisture in the food item and, in turn, make it juicy upon preparation. So, do not miss out on this part.
Provide enough space in the pan when you bake the meatloaf
Most people make this fairly common mistake while preparing meatloaf, referring to the cracker-barrel meatloaf recipe. You must make enough room for the meatloaf while it continues to bake inside the oven. If you cluster the food in a small space item by mistake, the meat might remain undercooked.
If there is not enough room for the platter to breathe inside the oven, the prepared meatloaf will be extremely hard to chew upon. Thus, it is advised that you leave enough space alongside the meatloaf while it is being cooked so that the crust is cooked thoroughly and the meat remains juicy.
What can you do to prevent the meat from drying out?
Although numerous ways of keeping the meat from drying off display in the blog, there is still a chance that the meatloaf will turn out dry and deprived of its natural juices. However, it would be best if you did everything in your power to make sure such a situation never arises as the tenderness of the beef is probably the most crucial part of a meatloaf.
So, you can try these methods to keep the meat from drying out. These points will help you to keep the heart juicy and tender throughout the process:
- Incorporate sufficient fat. The best meatloaves are sodden and delicious since they have the best proportion of meat to fat.
- Meat that is 80/20 is an ideal decision. This implies it is 80 percent meat and 20 percent fat. You could likewise utilize 85/15. However, cooking any more slender than 85/15 will make the portion dry.
- Utilize sufficient fluid in the preparation of meatloaf. The introduction of fluid makes up for a significant part. You can depend upon milk, tomato/garlic sauce, or even grill sauce.
- Make sure not to overcook the meat. If you somehow manage to get your hands on a thermometer, utilize it to decide when your meatloaf is cooked. This is to make sure no mistakes are made while cooking and the meat is not overly cooked.
- Broilers once in a while cook equitably, and some are known to be sultrier than others. Thus, instead of cooking the portion for a set measure of time, it is ideal for cooking it to an inward temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Permit time for the dish to rest. Would you mind making sure to permit the meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes before cutting it? This enables the juices to rearrange into the portion. So, the juices do not run out when you cut into them.
Can you freeze the meatloaf and eat it the next day?
There is a common notion amongst people who believe you cannot store meatloaf and eat it later. However, such a belief is not entirely true. You can certainly freeze the leftover of this dish and choose to eat it the next day. Meatloaf is perfect to freeze. Thus, you can even make larger batches of platters and store them in the freezer for the next few days.
However, we recommend you let the freshly cooked meatloaf cool down first. Then you must wrap the food item in a foil and keep it inside an air-tight container. You can then place it in your freezer and warm up it any time you feel hungry.