Recipe Re-Post: Mom’s Dill-Pickle-Sauced Meatloaf

Yesyterday would have been my parents’ 56th anniversary. Oddly enough, dad would have been 86 yesterday as well. See, dad told mom he was going to marry her by the time he turned 30 years old, and he beat it by a day. And people wonder why I wait till the last minute to get things done …

For either dad’s birthday yesterday or their anniversary today, it’s quite possible mom would have made this meatloaf for dad. Since dad passed in December and mom passed last week … well, I wonder if they’re eating this meatloaf in heaven, if they eat in heaven, that is. This meatloaf would certainly be appropriate.

In memory of them, I’m reposting this recipe.

Mom’s Dill-Pickle-Sauced Meatloaf is the kind of meatloaf that, by design, can never turn into hardtack. In fact, if you screw it up somehow it’s more likely to fall apart from too much good juices than not enough. Later on, after refrigeration, a sandwich made with this meatloaf that’s been chilled will still be so flippin’ tender you’ll never knock your dentures out of alignment. The flavor is beautifully sweet with the minor savory touch of the the dill pickle coming through in every wonderful bite.

You can use a fresh meatloaf mixture for this recipe. If you want to lean-it-up a bit, you could ask them for a combination of ground buffalo and ground turkey instead of beef and pork. There’s no need to add fats if you do this … the recipe is juicy enough as it is, and this will cook up just fine.

This is a fun meatloaf to make as it’s mixed lightly and there’s minimal chopping to do. It’s the kind of meatloaf you can make with kids, and as it tastes the way it does, they’ll actually eat it afterward. Until just over a year ago, I hadn’t had this in probably 15 years. When mom finally sent me the recipe after a couple years of my asking for it she said it’s been probably 10 years since she’s made it herself. That’s a real shame. In my house, this particular tradition will now return, and this meatloaf will become a staple once more.

Do right by your meatloaf, or your mother’s meatloaf. Make meatloaf for dinner. Learn to appreciate it all over again, especially when it’s good.

This meatloaf is simple, looks great, and has always been downright good.

Dill-Pickle-Sauced Meatloaf
Recipe courtesy Joyce Liske
Serves 6

1-1/2 lbs meatloaf mixture (50% ground beef/50% ground pork)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs (about 1 fresh slice)
1/2 cup bottled dill pickle juice
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/2 cup chopped dill pickle
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. For the loaf, lightly mix the meatloaf mixture with the chopped onion, bread crumbs, dill pickle juice, egg, and salt and pepper until well-blended. Shape into a loaf in a loaf pan, making sure to leave room around the sides of the loaf.

For the sauce, combine the chopped dill pickle, ketchup, water, sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Pour the sauce over the loaf.

Bake uncovered in the 350 degree F oven 40 minutes, basting with the sauce at the 20- and 40-minute marks. Continue baking another 35 minutes or until richly-glazed.


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  1. I love a good meatloaf and tried your Mom’s recipe when you posted it the first time. It was very good. I used a meatloaf mix containing beef, pork and veal (which is what our local Giant sells), but I doubt that made any discernible difference.

  2. I just found your blog through Serious Eats and I’m sold on this meatloaf recipe. Anything that contains pickle juice usually works for me!

    And big hugs to you. I’m so sorry about your parents.

    Mrs. L’s last blog post..Small Plates – May 20, 2009

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