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Meatloaf and ketchup

I would like to know...does everyone put ketchup or tomato product in/on their meatloaf? Growing up I loved my Mom's loaf and she never ever used any tomato. I made it this way for my husband and he said that a meatloaf has to have a tomato product of some kind. He's learned to like mine with out the tomato but...is tomato a must?

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  1. Simply, no. I make mine more like a less fatty and less finely ground pâté de campagne and there certainly isn't any tomato in it.

    1. Ketchup is a MUST. I squirt a little on top while it's cooking, which gives a concentrated tomato flavor, and serve extra on the side.

      The problem with meatloaf sandwiches? The ketchup makes the bread soggy and red.

      1. I put some ketchup in the loaf mixture, then top with a mixture of bbq sauce and ketchup.

        But I doubt it's a must.

        1. Meatloaf without ketchup??? I really don't think that would be meatloaf.

          Put some mayo on the sandwiches.

          1. Pate de campagne?? Well, if I wanted cold meatloaf involving all sorts of pork and a long wait... by all means pate de campagne. How... unhomey. Less fatty? How about grinding some cardboard boxes from your last move and baking it with some onion. OK all laughs aside...

            American meatloaf and no tomato? Surely you jest. My mom made it with onion soup mix and even though I nix that sodium bomb from all cooking I add an asterisk to meatloaf because it is just not meatloaf without it. So plenty of ketchup covering and a whole packet of Lipton onion soup mix kneaded in.

            Your husband's mother was right. Plus... your hubby remembers and loves it that way. How can you resist? Call her for the recipe. She will be thrilled.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Wanda Fuca

              Whoa, whoa, whoa.

              1. Even my grandmother, wasp as they come, makes her meatloaf with 50% pork, 50% beef.

              2. Less fatty = leaving out the lard, and not wrapping with fat.

              3. Like pâté de campagne means: baking it in a waterbath and seasoning with rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, allspice, garlic, calvados. Then eating it cold with gerkins. Also, yes, there are onions.

            2. I add ketchup in the mix and drizzle a mix of ketchup and honey on top. Then I place it on the bbq with indirect heat for about 40 minutes. Be sure to use a drip pan. Mmmmm!

              1. My kids love meatloaf *only* because I put a mixture of ketchup, brown sugar, and a little mustard on top during the last 15 minutes and it gets very bubbly and glazed. I like it too I admit.

                1. I like it with ketchup and worcestershire sauce as a glaze, or with enchilada sauce. Not an absolute must, but it makes it more into comfort food.

                  1. Yep, we definitely prefer meatloaf WITH the ketchup. I use it in the meatloaf also and like Wanda, I also use the onion soup mix but only half the packet anymore, cringing every time I buy a box of that stuff. I've tried so many different meatloaf recipes but the guys love it the "old" way. Certain comfort foods they just don't appreciate "messing" with.

                    1. Nope, no ketchup needed, IMO. I made Marcella Hazan's meatloaf w/ porcini mushrooms (yum) and there was no tomato product in the vicinity. It was a very satisfying meatloaf too, I must say.

                      But for many kids ketchup is a major food group unto itself.

                      1. Growing up, my mom never added ketchup while making the meatloaf- but we used to love cold sandwiches the next dsy with ketchup. I rarely make meatloaf ( don't know why!), but i don't use any tomato product in my meatloaf, either.

                          1. My mom squirted ketchup on top, which grossed me out. I called it the "ketchup frosting." The ketchup developed a skin that just did not sit well with me.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: nicoleberry83

                              That's always been my favorite part.

                            2. i love ketchup on/in meatloaf, but it's certainly not a must (i grew up eating pancakes without syrup!)
                              lately, i tend to make turkey or chicken meatloafs using ground meat + some spicey sausage from above mentioned birds in which case i don't use ketchup (but sometimes use tomatillo sauce).

                              1. I hate ketchup.

                                But I normally prefer American meatloaf, including those I make, to include it in the mix (*never* on top). The ketchup adds acids (from the tomatoes and vinegar) and sugars (from the tomatoes and sweetener), and the latter make for a notably improved crust, especially when baked on a sheet rather than in a loaf pan.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Karl S

                                  I don't like ketchup, either. And my favorite recipe for meat loaf, an old, old NYTimes recipe from Pierre Franey that calls for half pork and half veal and lots of mushrooms, doesn't have any ketchup in the mix or on top. But when it comes to cold meat loaf, that's another story. I smother it with ketchup. It's THE only time I eat the stuff. Must be some kind of Pavlovian response from back in my childhood. Can't think of any other excuse.

                                2. I have never done ketchup on meatloaf, though I know it is common and I have had it that way and sometimes. The recipie from my mother (and mother's mother) has a small can of tomato sauce in it. Even with fatty beef and an egg, it still needs more liquid to hold it together, and this is that extra bit.

                                  1. I don't think it's necessary, but I certainly like the way it tastes. Growing up my mom put ketchup in the mixture but never on top, although she did serve a dollop on the side for dipping.

                                    When I started making Ina Garten's turkey meatloaf I brushed the top of the loaf with ketchup and I really loved the way it tasted. Now I always brush the top of my meatloaves (either turkey or the traditional mix) with ketchup because it adds a nice crispy, sweet and vinegary crust.

                                    1. My mother used to make it with ketchup on top (I don't think *in* the meatloaf) but I no longer do so. I try and jazz it up other ways - roasted red pepper relish is one way. Much prefer the tang when it's mixed in with the meatloaf mixture or spread on top.

                                      Now, when the meatloaf is COLD and sliced for sandwiches, I prefer mustard slathered on the bread vs. ketchup.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        "Now, when the meatloaf is COLD and sliced for sandwiches, I prefer mustard slathered on the bread vs. ketchup."

                                        Agreed -- delicious.

                                        1. re: a_and_w

                                          Damn. I'm hungry and want meat loaf for dinner tonight. :-)

                                      2. some of the best I've had, had no ketchup but it had olives in it.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. I like a mixture of ketchup and sriracha. THat said, I'm still looking for a recipe I like...

                                          1. ketchup,bbq sauce, or even some oyster sauce on each bite..

                                            1. I couldn't eat meatloaf without a bottle of Heinz chili sauce mixed with soy sauce and tabasco on top.

                                              1. i add a can of drained vegetable soup to the mix and then of course top it with ketchup and brown sugar mixture...my kids love it what can i say

                                                1. My mom did ketchup on her meatloaf, but I don't like ketchup at all so I changed my recipe to avoid it. I put bacon strips on top of mine. That's how the husband and son like it. Son then puts on the ketchup.

                                                  1. anyone ever try HP sauce on it? Mmmmm, I love that stuff.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: amkirkland

                                                      What's HP sauce?
                                                      I never dreamed I would get all these responses! Glad to know that it's not just me.

                                                      Don't want to start anything else here but I have to ask. What do you serve it with? I always like to make mash pot. My mom always made rice.
                                                      Fried meatloaf IS the BEST with mustard and onions.

                                                      1. re: bolivianita

                                                        Like you, always mashed potatoes. And peas.

                                                        1. re: bolivianita

                                                          I like it with mashed potatoes and corn, both with butter, no gravy. Then, I mix them together a little so each bite has both.

                                                          I don't really like ketchup, but it's a must for me when I have meatloaf.

                                                          1. re: bolivianita

                                                            It's a british heinz sauce, vinegarry and slightly fruity, with a little tomato flavor. If you have a british or indian store, you can probably find it there.

                                                            1. re: amkirkland

                                                              I just saw it in my supermarket...they have a little brit section...

                                                              1. re: prunefeet

                                                                nice! those brits shouldn't get such a bad rap. Where would we be without stilton or newcastle?

                                                        2. I put ketchup on anything (scrambled eggs, rice, etc.) so of course I put a layer on top of my meat loaf. (Like someone else mentioned above, I used Ina Gartner's recipe and she puts a tablespoon of tomato paste in the mix, and then squirts ketchup on top to create the red layer.)

                                                          I like the ketchup with meatloaf, but I've also eaten meatloaf at restaurants without the ketchup and I'm fine with that.

                                                          HOWEVER, I think meatloaf MUST come with brown gravy. Anyone disagree?

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: singleguychef

                                                            I disagree. I like gravy, mind you, but the test of a good meatloaf is whether it *needs* gravy.

                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                              Agreed - would rather have ketchup than gravy on it. :-)

                                                          2. I actually prefer my meatloaf with A1 sauce.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                              I will admit- I have never tasted A1 sauce in my life!!! Is it like worcestire sauce?

                                                              1. re: macca

                                                                Salty and sour, a bit sweet. Sort of like a pungent vinegar on steroids.

                                                                Much stronger vinegar flavor than typical worcestershire sauce, and not as salty.

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  Hhmmm.... You have piqued my interest. Will have to try it on a burger next time. Thanks

                                                            2. We use heinz 57 or bar b que sauce on top of the bacon strips on top of the meatloaf. Sometimes I do use salsa in the mix.

                                                              1. I use some Lipton onion soup mix in the meat mixture (usually ground turkey) along with a bit of ketchup and chili garlic sauce, and top with more of the ketchup/chili garlic sauce (like sriracha) mixture.

                                                                1. My mom was also a ketchup user, both on top and in the mix. She would make up about 1 1/2 cups of a ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and horseradish mixture, and blend a cup of that into the meatloaf. Then about halfway through the cooking period she'd spread the remaining mixture over the top. I usually do pretty much the same thing. I also like a little ketchup on my meatloaf sandwich (which is, after all, the REAL reason to make meatloaf in the first place!). And I must say that except for an occasional hot dog, that's about the only use I have for ketchup at all.

                                                                  1. You guys are making me hungry!
                                                                    You know they say that the chinese invented ketchup... I love my meat loaf with a coating of the stuff mixed with a little bit of worsteshire and horseradish - hmmm cocktail sauce? Anyway, that's the way we like it. With mashed potatoes and brown gravy, made from the drippings, and peas. The ultimate comfort food. Dang it I thawed out a turkey breast. Shoot.

                                                                    1. Lately, I've been using the smoked ketchup sold by Big Paw Grub (www.bigpawgrub.com) which I pick up (when available) at the Saturday Farmers' Market in downtown Berkeley . . . great stuff. Unfortunately, it looks as though their online ordering system is down at the moment.

                                                                      1. I also do not like ketchup but the only time I will use it is in my meatloaf. I also like to try different things and so I'll add shredded zucchini and cheddar cheese into the mixture. The magazine "Taste of Home"'s last edition had a variety of diff. types of meatloaf's. And just like LindaWhit, I like mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy and peas w/my meatloaf. Yummy comfort food!

                                                                        1. I never use ketchup in my meatloaf, and I make various versions depending on the mood. I make a version of Alton Brown's...but what I like the best of his is using garlic flavored croutons pulverized, gives lots of nice flavor...and his glaze which is ketchup, cumin, Worchester sauce, dash hot pepper and honey. I don't really care for the red pepper and carrot this calls for. I use lots of onions, sometimes mushrooms...never, ever tomatoes or ketchup in the loaf itself.


                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Jesdamala

                                                                            i made my own meatloaf recipe last night, but this time i tried alton's glaze (without the cumin)... it was fantastic, simple, but really good. sooo much better than my usual hunts tomato sauce! although i love that too.

                                                                          2. I'm for a light coat of ketchup on top of my meatloaf, but I do not mix it in with my meat. I also like to add a few raw rings of onion on top before I bake it.

                                                                            1. I make mine with honey barbecue sauce and smoked cheddar.

                                                                              1. Ketchup, for sure. Inside and out. Served with baked potatoes that cook so long the jackets get crispy. They taste so good when you get around to eating them, all buttery and crunchy. mmmmmmmmmm. Meatloaf and baked potatoes and a green veg. Takes me back home...
                                                                                Oh yes, cottage cheese used to be on the plate sometimes, too.

                                                                                1. Not necessarily, but my mommy did. Then again, my mom was a consummate health nut, which meant that the ketchup was also a necessity for moisture, given that ours was made with ground white meat turkey breast, lipton's onion soup mix, and chopped onions, and of course, ketchup...

                                                                                  1. I made meatloaf for dinner last nite. Didn't use ketchup but did add a bit of tom. paste and my new secret ing. crushed cheez it crackers. It was good. Don't know if it was the paste or the crackers but I liked the results and will use this recipe again.