Not Your Mama's Meatloaf
Feeds 6 to 8
My mother is a great cook, but she never made meatloaf like this, and bet yours never did either. It's the spice that gives ours its touch of creepin' heat. Way before meatloaf made a comeback on restaurant menus we were servin' it at the Dinosaur. It was our very first special.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups finely diced onion
1 cup finely diced green pepper
Pinch plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
Pinch plus 2 teaspoons black pepper
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
3/4 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
5 slices soft white bread
1-1/4 cups Mutha Sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Swirl the olive oil in a hot skillet. Toss in the onions and peppers with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook til soft Add the garlic and cook just a bit more. Then scrape it all into a large bowl. Crumble in the ground beef and the sausage and mix everything together with your hands.
Take the bread over to the faucet and wet it down, then squeeze it out like a sponge. Chop it up nice and fine and throw it in with the other ingredients. Pour in 3/4 cup of the Mutha Sauce and sprinkle on the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Mix it all up with your hands. Add the eggs, and mix one more time.
Press the mixture into a 9-1/2 by 5-1/2-inch loaf pan. Slather on the remaining 1/2 cup Mutha Sauce. Pop it into the oven and bake for 1-1/2 hours. Take it out and let it set 20 minutes. Pour off the fat. Slice into thick, comforting slabs. Serve with more Mutha Sauce at the table, so folks can ladle it on if they feel like it.
Makes 6 to 7 cups
Just like the name says, this is the basis—the true mother of all the sauces we have in this book. It is a balanced blend of sweet, savory, spicy, and smoky flavors that acts as our leapin' off point for creating a world of barbecue sensations. It can even stand alone as a traditional slatherin' sauce for ribs and chicken. Now being the shameless promoter that I am, I gotta inform you that there's a fine line of Dinosaur barbecue sauces. So if you don't feel like jerkin' around cookin' the Mutha Sauce, just check out Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Sensuous Slathering Sauce (see the book).
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced green pepper
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
Pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 can (28 ounces) tomato sauce
2 cups ketchup (preferably Heinz)
1 cup water
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup cayenne pepper sauce
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke (optional)
Pour the oil into a large saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions, green peppers, and jalapeños and give them a stir. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook til soft and golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Dump in everything else except the Liquid Smoke. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the sauce simmers. Simmer for 10 minutes. Swirl in the Liquid Smoke and let the sauce cool. Pour it into a container, cover, and store in the fridge til ready to use.
Variation: Hot BBQ Sauce
Add 2 or 3 seeded and minced habanero peppers (about 1-1/2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon) along with the onions, peppers, and jalapeños. Also add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper along with the other ingredients for extra punch.
Working with habaneros can cause plenty of personal pain and suffering if you're not careful. Never touch the cut flesh or seeds with your bare hands. While it won't sting your hands (unless you've got a cut), the volatile oils from the peppers get into your pores and can be transferred to your eyes or other moist, sensitive areas on your body long after you're done cookin'. Even washing your hands doesn't help. So wear latex gloves while working with habaneros and be sure to protect your hands while cleaning up your cutting board and knife as well. Then toss out the gloves.
An American Roadhouse
By John Stage and Nancy Radke
Ten Speed Press, 2001
192 pages, full-color photographs throughout
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created September 2001