Timing is everything, isn’t it? In film and TV, it’s what makes a scene funny, scary or romantic. I guess you can say it also applies to real life, but the timing is rarely perfect. I set out to make this meatloaf on a cloudy Wednesday to get over the hump day blues. But about 15 minutes before the meatloaf was done, the power went out on my block. I was very much annoyed because not only was I borderline hangry (anger caused by hunger), there was a power outage the Sunday before. They’re usually very good about restoring power where I live because I live on a busy street in my town so I figured that I would wait until the power came back on. My resolve lasted about an hour and a half until I gave up and decided to order Papa John’s. It took another 50 minutes for the pizza to arrive and when I brought the pizza in, my cousin said, “Wouldn’t it be really funny if the lights came on right now?” and just like a sitcom, the lights came back on.
Honestly, I was too hangry to find humor in the situation at the time but now that I look back on it, I can see that the timing was spot on. I reheated the meatloaf the next day, and as usual it was delicious. It is one of my favorite weekday meals to put together. Even better because it’s wrapped with bacon, and it is never dry. The original recipe states to use three kinds of meat but I simplify it and use just beef and pork which is just easier since they usually sell meat by the pound. I would say that the only downside to this recipe in comparison to others is that you have to cook the garlic and onion in a separate pan, which disqualifies it as a one-bowl recipe.
Remember to line the sheet pan with aluminum foil to make clean up easier. Also, don’t forget to line the cooling rack with aluminum foil and poke holes in it for the fat to drain, because we don’t like greasy meatloaves, no sir.
Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze
For the Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze
½ c. ketchup
4 tbsp. brown sugar
4 tsp. cider or white vinegar
- In a medium bowl, stir ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar together until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
For the Meat Loaf
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black paper
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
¼ tsp. hot red pepper sauce
½ c. milk, buttermilk or low-fat plain yogurt
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef
⅔ c. crushed saltine crackers (about 16) or quick oatmeal or 1⅓ c. fresh bread crumbs
⅓ c. minced parsley
8 oz. thin-sliced bacon
- Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, shiny side down.
- Line a metal cooling rack with aluminum foil (shiny side down), poking holes with a chopstick where the meatloaf will be, a little larger than a 9 x 5 inch rectangle (to drain the fat).
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- In a medium skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is softened and translucent.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs, thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, worchestershire sauce, hot sauce, and milk (or yogurt) together.
- Add in the pork, beef, crackers (or oatmeal or breadcrumbs), parsley and the cooked onion and garlic.
- Using your hands, mix everything together until it just comes together. Do not squish the meat between your fingers, use light hands.
- Shape the meat into a 9 x 5 inch rectangle on top of the cooling rack where the holes are.
- Using a silicone basting brush, brush the loaf liberally with the ketchup glaze.
- Cover the loaf with the strips of bacon, tucking the ends under the loaf and slightly overlapping.
- Bake loaf until the center of the loaf registers 160°F, about an hour. About five minutes before the loaf is done, brush the entire loaf with the remaining ketchup glaze.
- Once out of the oven, let the loaf rest for about 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.
It’s rare that I find a technique that is life-changing. I love trying out new ways to do things. Mostly because they are novel and I’m always looking for ways to grow and learn in general. I’ll usually try something once or twice, but that’s about it. It’s on to the next obsession, the next trend, the next new way to do something.
But this, oh man… It is such a simple technique but it makes the average hot dog 10000% tastier than what it was before. You simply stick a skewer into the sausage, take a knife and create a swirl pattern along the meat, which will result in a Slinky looking piece of meat. It does not look like much but once you cook it, the increased surface to volume ratio creates extra crisp, juicy, meaty goodness.
The first time I made this on a grill, the neighboring party came over and asked what kind of meat I was cooking. Once they saw that it was just a hot dog cut up into a fancy shape, they amused at its novelty and went about their merry way. Little did I know that I was a monkey about to touch the monolith.
I’ve eaten my fair share of hot dogs and this one is right at the top. Neck and neck with the deep fried hot dogs they sell at a local hot dog joint in my town. Yes, true to the busy spatula fashion, I had to jazz it up by adding bacon, avocado, Sriracha and Kewpie mayo. (Which by the way, if you can do it, you must. It is a serious flavor bomb.) But honestly, this post is really about the technique. Simply cutting it up in a spiral shape will be life changing. I promise.
Avocado Bacon Spiralized Hotdogs
Hot dog sausage
Avocado, peeled and cut into thin slices
Kewpie Mayo (yes, there is a difference between this and regular mayonnaise)
Potato hot dog buns
Skewers (I understand that this is not an ingredient but SO NECESSARY)
- Stick a skewer through the middle of a hot dog sausage. If it does not go straight and pokes out the side, pull it back and continue until you get it to the other end of the sausage.
- With a sharp knife, make a continuous spiral cut along the sausage, using the skewer as a guide to know how deep to cut the sausage.
- Spread a thin layer of mayo over potato hot dog buns and toast it in a heated frying pan.
- Remove toasted buns and cook sausage over medium heat until well browned and crispy.
- Remove sausages, turn heat to low and cook bacon until desired level of crispness.
- Top toasted hot dog bun with sausage, avocado slices, bacon, Kewpie mayo and Sriracha.
- Enjoy immensely.
I wasn’t sure if I should really put the word “Galbi” (aka Kalbi / 갈비) since this recipe isn’t a traditional Galbi recipe. Galbi is a Korean grilled dish made by marinating meat in a soy sauce based sauce. It usually requires grated onions and Asian pears, and to be honest some days I don’t even have the time to do that. So this is my extremely simple version of Galbi sauce. You literally put everything in a glass bowl, whisk, put meat in and you are done. The only utensils you need are measuring cups and spoons, and no cutting boards, or knives are required. Is it going to taste traditional? No. But it’s darn tasty, I can guarantee that.
On the weeks I know I will be short on time, I cut up whatever meat I have on hand (usually short ribs or chicken breasts) make this marinade and toss it in. Over the next few days, I’ll cook it up little by little incorporating it to whatever dish I decide for the day.
Whenever I decide to make tacos, I usually buy more corn tortillas than I need and freeze the leftovers for another day. If you toast it over a (clean) gas burner, it reheats well and becomes soft and pliable in the middle and toasty crisp on the edges. I happened to have some frozen corn tortillas in the freezer and decided to make quick tacos.
You can really top this with whatever you’d like. On this particular day, I ran out of cheese, sour cream, parsley, avocados… pretty much every traditional taco ingredient and put my meat on a bed of mixed greens, topped it with Sriracha and sesame seeds. It still turned out delicious.
Easy Galbi Tacos
For the marinated meat:
½ c. brown sugar, packed
½ c. soy sauce
¼ c. water
2 tbsp. mirin (rice wine)
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tbsp. sesame oil
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 lbs. of meat, cut into strips (I usually use chicken breasts or short ribs)
- In a large glass bowl, whisk all the ingredients (minus the meat) until combined.
- Place meat into bowl, turning to coat.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and put into the fridge to marinate.
For the tacos:
½ lb. mixed greens
12 corn tortillas, toasted
¾ lb. cooked, marinated meat
toasted sesame seeds
- Cook the meat to desired doneness.
- Top toasted tortillas with mixed greens.
- Top with meat, Sriracha and sesame seeds.
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? I discovered Spongebob when I was in middle school many years ago. It caught my attention from the very first episode, and I was an avid fan for a while. If you don’t know already, Spongebob works at the Krusty Krab where he makes Krabby Patties as a fry cook. A Krabby Patty looks like this. Every time they did a close up shot, my adolescent mind wanted to sink my teeth into one. Now I wonder if I was the only one that was hankering for a made-up burger…
I saw a recipe for a California roll burger, and my first thought was, this is what a Krabby Patty would taste like! Perhaps minus the beef, because where would they get it from? And maybe minus the crab sticks, because wouldn’t that be cannibalism? A Sweeny Todd scenario perhaps? Let’s stop questioning a fictional burger that has no definite flavor and substance, and get down to the nitty-gritty.
It starts with a beautiful set of hamburger buns.* Followed by a spread of Sriracha mayo, and a stack of the standard lettuce and tomato. The beef has just a dash of fish sauce for the umami factor and is topped with a light crab stick salad. It is then followed by a few slices of avocado tossed in lime juice and topped with masago (smelt roe) and nori (dried seaweed).
It’s bursting with flavor and is definitely a king of burgers, worthy of being flipped by Spat (Spongebob’s spatula).
The Krabby Patty (California Roll Burger)
Makes 8 large burgers
2 lbs. ground beef
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. Sriracha
3 tbsp. mayo
½ lb. crab sticks
2-4 tbsp. mayo
2 avocados, sliced
1 lime, juiced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
butter lettuce, washed
masago (smelt roe)
nori (dried seaweed)
8 large burger buns
- Mix 1 tbsp. Sriracha and 3 tbsp. mayo in a small bowl to make Sriracha mayo.
- Shred crab sticks and mix in 2-4 tbsp. of mayo to make the crab salad.
- Mix ground beef, fish sauce, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Form into 8 large patties.
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook patties about 3 minutes per side or to desired doneness.
- While the patties are cooking, slice avocados and toss in lime juice.
- When the burgers are ready, layer the components in the following order: Sriracha mayo, lettuce, tomato, beef patty, crab salad, avocado, masago, and nori.
*I made mine from scratch, but you are welcome to use store bought. These buns deserve a post of their own, and will be featured in the future.
** Recipe adapted from use real butter.