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the lowly meatloaf sandwich

  • j

Am I alone in liking sandwiches of cold (or better yet room temp) meatloaf more than hot? It seems a bit rare to see meatloaf as a sandwich choice in sandwich shops. They seem to be focusing on sandwiches made from chicken that was just a bit too good to become cat food so instead was shaped into a chicken breast.

I prefer mayo as a dressing. Copious amounts of horseradish is also good. Mesclun is favored over crunchier lettuce, but I haven't completely discredited them as the mayo is a bit heavy with the delicate greens. Arugula would also be good. I like a wheat bread, rye or sourdough would also be acceptable choices. White bread would not be unheard of. A touch of thinly sliced onions or shallots can be good but sometimes bother my throat. Cheese is not needed in this sandwich.

Cooking the meatloaf like a pate is the trick to taking your meatloaf sandwich to the next level by the way. This might seem insane because you miss out on the end pieces and having a glaze. At that point is it even a meatloaf?

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  1. We do have a few places that have meatloaf sandwiches, but they'e usually openface w/ gravy and so on. I wonder what would happen if you asked for it cold (or at least as a regular sandwich with, oh, serious bread and your choice of condiments.)

    1. I love the meatloaf sand. I cover mine with tomato sauce when baking and add that to the mayo and bread. Definately cold.

      1. Yep, IMO it's still meatloaf. Meat+things shaped into a loaf, = meatloaf. A rose by any other name.
        Give me mine room temp., please, with hot ketchup, mayo, romaine, and a few thin slices of that loaf, on some really good white bread, or oatnut bread......
        I'll have two please.

        1. I love mayo and put it on almost every sandwich and burger but for some reason I've never put it on a meat loaf sandwich, just catsup and maybe a little hoisin. But now I'll have to try it.

          4 Replies
          1. re: escondido123

            A meatloaf sandwich is one of my faves. Cold meatloaf on seedless rye, mayo and a slice of cheddar. I think I'll make a meatloaf this weekend just so I can have a sandwich.

            1. re: debw1946

              " I think I'll make a meatloaf this weekend just so I can have a sandwich."

              My thoughts exactly.

            2. Cold meatloaf, mayo, mustard, shredded lettuce, a few strands of very thinly sliced onions, salt and pepper... on toasted sourdough.

              3 Replies
              1. re: dave_c

                Cold meatloaf, mayo, mustard, and bread&butter pickles, on whole wheat.

                And I disagree violently with the OPs contention that you want to make pate-like meatloaf for sandwiches. That stuff is like catfood. Meatloaf should be a little crumbly.

                1. re: 512window

                  No it still turns out crumbly like meatloaf because it doesn't have pate ingredients (no liver, no extra pork fats), but it stays very moist because it is cooked so gently.

                  1. re: j8715

                    Sorry - I'm more familiar with people taking meatloaf ingredients, food processing them into mush, baking it and calling it meatloaf. It has the fine texture of a pate. To me it is horrible.

              2. Maybe you should start a thread on items you never see served outside the home.

                Meatloaf sandwiches would be the near the top for me. I love 'em. On toast with ketchup.

                15 Replies
                1. re: Steve

                  True, you don't much see them. I did however waitress during college in a bkf/lunch house where the day after hot meatloaf lunch special, we did serve either hot or cold meatloaf sandwiches. And they always, always sold out within a few hours; more hot than cold.

                  1. re: mamachef

                    Know what, meatloaf to my taste is like turkey....I'll eat it hot in a sandwich, but cold with mayo and fixings...that's where it's at for both!

                  2. re: Steve

                    I have never even heard of a cold meatloaf sandwich until this very moment, let alone seen it in a restaurant. The concept is absolutely horrifying to me. I loathe cold beef.

                    1. re: Jelly71

                      I had a great one for lunch one day at the Picwick Pub (authentic British food) in Woodland Hills. It was a "special " that day; not sure if it's on the regular menu.

                      1. re: mucho gordo

                        Mucho, a meatloaf sandwich served as 'authentic British food'? As a British person, I have to say that I've only ever heard of meatloaf via Americans, and have never eaten it (although I plan to make one and find out what it's all about, as they do sound tasty) and don't know anyone in the UK who eats it, either. I've also never seen it on a pub or restaurant menu here. Or do you mean roast beef sandwich? In which case, yum! With horseradish.

                        1. re: Isobel_A

                          The pub serves authentic British food such as bangers and mash, the meat pies, etc., however, they also serve non British dishes as well such as curries, nachos, etc.
                          Check out their menu;

                          1. re: mucho gordo

                            Looks tasty, and there's proper ;) chips! TBH, there's nachos on most British pub menus these days too, they're tasty and good for sharing so too good to miss off the menu. Quality varies dramatically, of course, and probably nothing like proper nachos.

                      2. re: Jelly71

                        so no cold roast beef sandwiches either? Oh how sad for you. As they say, one person's yum is the next one's yuck.

                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                          More for the rest of us! It's win-win.

                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                            oh god, no! we sometimes have make your own sandwich platters at work, and the sight of the roast beef always makes me cringe.
                            i enjoy other meats cold, but something about cold beef is so off putting to me. but i am not a big beef fan to begin with, so there is that.

                          2. re: Jelly71

                            I put mine on toast, but I never heat up the meatloaf. Always cold.

                            Haven't you heard of paté or terrine? Really, it's just French meatloaf.

                            1. re: Jelly71

                              I agree. Why is it so popular to eat it cold? Never heard of that and certainly would never have served it that way.

                              1. re: lilmomma

                                Definitely cold. The meatloaf sandwich of my childhood. Cold meatloaf on white bread, a bit of onion, a bit of iceberg. Sometimes a bit of may. And I have seen it on menus in the midwest.

                                Typically when I've seen warm meatloaf sandwiches, they've been open faced, but I don't really consider those sandwiches.

                              2. re: Jelly71

                                Oh, Jelly, Jelly, Jelly...

                                Ya makes da meatloaf so's ya can eat it wid mashed potatoes and sum kinda veggie, or mebbe a good cole slaw. Dat's when ya Eated Heated (liddle poem dere fer ya)...

                                Den da negst day ya takes a cut a dat meat loaf and ya puts it on a slice a rye. Ya sladder da udder slice wid haffa jar uv mayo, and ya puts sum tomato or onion or both on da meatloaf.

                                Den ya puts da slice wid da mayo on toppa da slice wid da meatloaf and da onion (and/or tomato), and ya cuts dat t'ing of beauty inta several wedges.

                                Den ya sits back an' takes dat first bite. As ya moan wid pleasure, ya t'ink to yaself dat I hopes I die now, cause I yam so happy...

                                1. re: BrookBoy

                                  Cute, but the thought of cold meatloaf still grosses me out.

                            2. Cold or room temp., lots of catsup, and topped with thinly sliced kosher dills on rye or wheat toast. This is the ONLY good food advice I got from my first MIL.

                              1. Haven't had one since around elementary age, but my mother used to send meatloaf sandwiches in my school lunches. Thin slices of meatloaf, onion, lettuce and lots of mustard (loved mustard then, still love it now) on dense homemade whole wheat bread.

                                Thinking back on that almost makes me want to eat meat again. Almost. That was a fantastic lunch!

                                1. Unless "lowly" is another word for utter deliciousness, I don't think a good cold meat loaf sandwich is lowly at all. I love them on soft bread with mayo or Miracle Whip (yes Miracle Whip) cheese and maybe some alfalfa sprouts. Almost nothing better or more hearty for lunch. I don't mind that I don't see it on many menus because no meatloaf I have ever had at a restaurant has been made just how I like it. That is the great thing about meatloaf is that it's totally customizable to fit my mood or taste. I also don't make mine like a pate but it is moist and firm enough that it generally holds together in one piece. I use several wet ingredients other than eggs in the meat that seems to help this and really take the time to pack and form the loaves. Wow, now I may have to make one in the next few days. I just realized it's been a while!

                                  1. Any good sliced white bread, sourdough, butter crust, Italian ... tomatoes and mayo. Thats it.

                                    No pickles, lettuce, onion or cheese ... chees? Every now and then I'll add yellow mustard and a strip of bacon.

                                    Alternate is white bread, catsup and meatloaf . No mixing of catsup and mayo .. one or the other. No tomatoes when using catsup..

                                    I prefer sliced meatloaf, but even the soft, spreadable pate will work. It has to have some beef in it. No ground turkey meatloaf ... ick.

                                    A warmed slice of mealtoaf is good too ... but only with tomatoes and mayo ... or just some grilled onions ... ok ... if it's hot maybe bread, meatloaf and bbq sauce ... and ... um ... with a hot slab of meatloaf, I might top with mashed potatoes. I'm not such a purist on the hot meatloaf sandwich as I am with the cold.

                                    1. I have believed, as long as I can remember, that the point of making meatloaf is so you can have meatloaf sandwiches. I do like it hot from the oven, with maybe a baked potato (or mashed!) and some fresh green beans or whatever, but as I eat I'm thinking of tomorrow's lunch: a good homemade-style white bread spread with butter and some sharp mustard, the slice of meatloaf, a smear of ketchup and horseradish (ONLY time I eat ketchup!), perhaps a slice of provolone, some sliced dill pickle, mayonnaise, bread. Maybe some butter lettuce too, if it's handy.

                                      Speaking of the varying meatloaf philosophies: my brother and I base our meatloaf on Mom's, but he uses rolled oats as his filler while I use fine cracker crumbs; he makes a wet mixture and just barely mixes it. I on the other hand keep it moist but firm, and knead it thoroughly so that it holds its shape even when cooked on a rack. We both are aiming for sandwiches, but he wants his almost spreadable, soft and a bit mooshy, while I want to be able to cut thin slices; in other words, he wants paté and I want lunch meat. We have eaten sandwiches made with each other's product and admitted that both were okay …

                                      As for buying sandwiches, there was one that I tried, a hot open-face version at a very popular place up in La Cañada, that was so vile I had to order it again just on the chance they'd had an off day, because this is supposed to be something they're famous for. Second time was even worse! However, there is a kind of semi-hippie joint not far from me, Auntie Em's in Eagle Rock, that makes a cold meatloaf sandwich that's BETTER THAN MINE. Which reminds me, isn't it lunchtime?

                                      1. I completely understand the need to take the "chill" off the meatloaf. I don't like the congealed fat. That's not to say I want it hot. The sourdough needs to be no warmer than room temperature. Mayo, thinly sliced yellow onion, iceberg lettuce. Perfection. And don't forget the Ruffles.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                          yes, sides haven't been brought up. I would pick kettle chips over ruffles. crudite or pickles wouldn't be bad.

                                          1. Cold, with tomato, onion, yellow mustard and mayo on rye bread. This is one of the few childhood favorites that stands up today with zero embellishment needed.

                                            1. Clementine, a cafe near us, makes a terrific meatloaf sandwhich. Country bread, 1,000 lakes dressing, crisp iceberg, and carmelized onions. Wonderful.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: JudiAU

                                                Do tell....what is 1,000 lakes dressing? (I'm assuming a variation on the islands.)

                                              2. "This might seem insane because you miss out on the end pieces and having a glaze. At that point is it even a meatloaf?" I have a very good cookbook whose approximate (without running down and trying to find it) title is "Patés, Terrines, and Other Fabulous Meatloafs". Which says it all, far as I'm concerned. If the item is a loaf made mostly from animal flesh, it is obviously a meat loaf (I think the ghastly one I've mentioned on this thread was mostly bread of some sort, with a little meat mixed in!). Having made several of each kind, I can say with confidence that whether it's ground spreadable liver or coarsely chopped pork or my favored 50/50 pork and beef, you can call it what you want to and be accurate. The only reason to change the name is to avoid confusing people. One of my best "poetic" efforts was a takeoff on Robert Burns's "To a Haggis", renamed in this case "To a Paté" ("Here's to thy pale, bespeckled face / Spoilt Princess of the meatloaf race!" etc.). And a paté is not necessarily gooey, you know; some are quite firm and sliceable. My first outside-the-meatloaf-box attempt was a "Country Paté" which most emphatically WAS a meatloaf, but with pork and pork liver brandy and an intermediate spinach layer, all wrapped in bacon and baked in a water bath.

                                                2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                    interesting. I opened quite the can of worms.

                                                    I would have said it must be baked in a mold and must have some sort of liver to be a paté.

                                                    Anyway, what I make is a meatloaf (although it often uses pate like spices) stuffed into a heavy pyrex loaf pan cooked in a bain marie. It is not spreadable. Cooking this way makes an especially moist and soft meatloaf for sandwiches and you can get nice even slices. It is an awful looking thing straight out of the oven but I make this specifically for the sandwiches.

                                                    More on spices: a mix worth a try despite how weird it sounds is pinches of fennel seed, caraway seed, cayenne and cinnamon. Go easy with the fennel though or it tastes like italian sausage not meatloaf.

                                                  2. I've never eaten meatloaf as it doesn't seem to exist in the UK, but every time I read something like this I make a note to find a recipe and make it. I think I actually will this time!

                                                    12 Replies
                                                    1. re: Isobel_A

                                                      Recipe variations are endless, as are directions. What kind of filler, what kind of binder, how much spice, baked in a loaf pan, in a casserole dish, or on a baking sheet. Wrapped or unwrapped. Topping or no? A good meatloaf is a wonderful thing. A bad meatloaf... good only for the garbage disposal.

                                                      The recipe below will make many Chowhounds groan, but it is probably the most made meatloaf on this side of the pond. It is a good point of departure if nothing else, and is based on Lipton's dry onion soup mix. Have no idea what your equivalent would be. Hummm... I always thought it had Worchesershershire sauce, oh well.... Its something to compare as a baseline to dozens? hundreds? thousands? of other recipes.

                                                      Lipton Souperior Meat Loaf Recipe

                                                      1 envelope onion soup mix
                                                      2 pounds ground beef
                                                      1 1/2 C bread crumbs
                                                      2 eggs
                                                      1/3 C ketchup
                                                      3/4 C water (if needed)

                                                      Combine all ingredients in large bowl.

                                                      Bake 350°F for about one hour in 9x13 pan, or about 40 minutes in muffin tins for individual servings.

                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                        this is kind of funny. I wonder if there are frenchmen or italians arguing over the "correct authentic" american meatloaf like we tend to over say cassoulet or bolognese

                                                        1. re: j8715

                                                          Sad to say, probably not! In my experience, the French and Italian people I know pretty much only cook French or Italian food. Besides, in terms of Italian food what is 'correct' varies so much from region to region that there's argument just within Italy about it!

                                                        2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                          Hmm, worth a try if I can find some sort of substitute for the soup mix. The only dried soups I've seen here are Cup-a-Soups and they don't come in onion.

                                                          I did see a bacon wrapped one on The Pioneer Woman blog that I meant to try sometime too.

                                                          1. re: Isobel_A

                                                            adapted from an online substitute for dry onion soup:

                                                            20 ml beef bouillon granules
                                                            40 ml dried onion flakes
                                                            5 ml onion powder
                                                            1.5 ml seasoned pepper

                                                            4 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
                                                            8 teaspoons dried onion flakes
                                                            1 teaspoon onion powder
                                                            1/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper


                                                            1. re: Isobel_A

                                                              Isobel: if you can find Knorr dry brown onion soup, it would probably do. Although honestly I beg you not to make that recipe lest it turn you off meatloaf forever.

                                                              1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                Well, I consider myself warned Jenny! How about this one? This is the recipe I saw that I thought sounded pretty delicious:


                                                                I'm sure there are good recipes on this site too?

                                                                From the photo, though, US ground beef looks a little different to UK minced beef - UK mince is a little coarser, I think. Do you think it would still work?

                                                                1. re: Isobel_A

                                                                  I think the Pioneer Woman recipe would be fine. The coarser ground meat should be fine. Or can you ask the butcher to run it through the grinder twice?

                                                                  1. re: Plano Rose

                                                                    Butcher? I wish! There aren't any around my area any more. If I go to Waitrose the meat counter people might oblige, though - that's a good idea, thanks.

                                                            2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                              I ran out of ketchup once and substituted bottled BBQ sauce and it turned out great. Since then, I've made BBQ sauce a permanent substitution for ketchup in my meatloaf recipe.

                                                              1. re: Mr. Roboto

                                                                I've used Pico Pica Taco sauce. Talk about your game-changers! Of course I also use chopped poblano instead of the bell pepper Mom used, because Mrs. O despises sweet peppers, but enjoys the warmer ones.

                                                            3. re: Isobel_A

                                                              try food network website and search for meatloaf, you'll have many choices to try out.

                                                            4. Funny, that's one of my fav sammies, with mayo and lettuce on a grain bread, totally yum!

                                                              1. When you commit to make meatloaf in classical loaf pan
                                                                There are sandwiches in future lunch pails of your clan.

                                                                Rectangular slabs, carved and then ziplocked
                                                                can go to their place in the fridge or the freezer
                                                                depending on timing of your lunch-making plans.

                                                                Young kids toting brownbags to the school cafeteria
                                                                will not have access to a microwave to zap it.
                                                                Send sandwich with love and pre-slathered dressing
                                                                With knowledge they'll scarf it, even if cold.

                                                                For grownups, in workplace, with access to oven
                                                                It becomes a bit more of a quandary.
                                                                Since they're gonna zap that made-with-love meatloaf
                                                                should you include some accessory sliced cheese?

                                                                My simple solution, since I now just do grownups,
                                                                is send slab in a ziploc
                                                                along with some bread and some cheese.

                                                                Depending upon their office kitchen environment
                                                                they may or may not find squeeze packs of loved condiments.
                                                                At which the simplest slabbed meatloaf sandwich
                                                                becomes a creative search for those packets.

                                                                1. My first meatloaf experiences almost put me off it forever - my mother did weght watchers on and off throughout my childhood, and one of the recipes at the time was some kind of god-awful, dry, flavourless pork meatloaf. Gack.
                                                                  Then she realised one Christmas that we all loved making sandwiches out of the leftover sausage stuffing (made with sausage meat, herbs, an egg, some other stuff) which was baked as the Turkey was finishing. Never in the turkey - that was where the bread stuffing was at (we're eaters!). So yeah, we loved the stuffing hot with gravy, and cold in sandwiches. It was cheap to make and no one complained. We've loved meatloaf nights and leftover days ever since. My meatloaf sandwiches would be with a bit of mayo and lettuce, or if there were any roast vegetables (potato, kumara -NZ sweet potato-, onions) they would get thrown in too.

                                                                  1. Someone once said on another thread, that meatloaf is simply the larval stage of a meatloaf sandwich. Make mine with a thick slice of an almost-falling-apart loaf -- either cold with raw onion, mayo and ketchup, or hot with caramelized onion and sharp cheddar.

                                                                    1. You are far from alone. I almost make meatloaf just to have meatloaf sandwiches these days!

                                                                      1. We had a meatloaf sandwich at the Culinary Institute of America last year that was anything but "lowly! The meatloaf was at least 1-inch thick, on their fabulous thickly sliced grilled bread, served with lettuce, tomatoes, a magical sauce and homemade "ketchup". Then their thick-cut fries. It was all to die for! It proves that even the simplest of foods can be delicious when well prepared!

                                                                        1. Pan fried meatloaf, mayo/ketchup/sriracha, homemade pickles and onions, two thick slabs of hememade white bread smooshed down.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                            My ultimate meat loaf sand. is made with fine ground caribou meat with some pork fat ground in and some fine ground fennel seed. This is slow roasted. The next day having it cold thick sliced on home made brown bread with lots of Thousand Is. salad dressing and some very thin sliced red onions S/P