- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper (optional, but delicious)
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley (to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
- salt & pepper (to taste)
- 9 ounces thin-cut bacon
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese (diced)
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350°F (convection ovens to 320°F). Line a 9×5 inch loaf pan first with parchment paper and then with 2/3 of the bacon, leaving an overhang. OR line a rimmed baking sheet with baking parchment and lay 2/3 of the bacon on top if you want to bake without a pan.
- Make meat mix: Mix ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, onion, mustard and spices in a large bowl (I use a handheld mixer with the hook attachment to do this).
- Shape meatloaf: Shape a long log with 2/3 of the meat mixture and fit it inside the loaf pan (OR on top of the bacon on the baking sheet, if baking without a loaf pan). Make a crease down the middle and add the mozzarella cheese to it. Cover with the remaining meat mixture. Fold the bacon overhang on top and cover entirely with the remaining 1/3 of bacon. Spread with 1/3 of the barbecue sauce.
- Bake: Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Spread with another 1/3 of the barbecue sauce. Continue baking for another 20 minutes, then spread with the remaining sauce right as it comes out of the oven. Allow the meatloaf to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. If you baked in a loaf pan, VERY CAREFULLY drain it before removing from the pan (depending on your meat/bacon, a lot of juices can accumulate).
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My tips for the best meatloaf:
Recipes like this one can be tricky to translate into all kinds of different kitchen situations of people all over the world.
I genuinely think it’s a great recipe though (with lots of great reviews!), so to make sure yours turns out perfectly, here are some tips:
Why is my meatloaf falling apart?
The meat mix for meatloaf is kind of like a dough: It needs to be kneaded a little to stick together.
This helps the proteins in the meat stick together and make a firmer shape. It also prevents your meatloaf from turning out crumbly.
I usually do this with the hook attachment of my hand mixer, because who’s got the passion to knead a meat dough?! 😉 The mixer does a quick and nearly mess-free job of combining the meat with seasoning, egg and breadcrumbs. So easy!
Use the correct baking pan
If you’re baking the meatloaf in a pan, make sure you’re using a metal loaf pan, one like this you can get on Amazon (FYI, this is an affiliate link and I make a commission for purchases made through this link), not a ceramic one.
Metal pans have thinner walls and the heat spreads differently. I used a metal baking pan, so I strongly recommend doing the same for this recipe.
I have successfully made this meatloaf without a pan at all though, so if you don’t want to deal with draining meat juices out of a loaf pan after baking, you can just lay out the bacon on a baking sheet, shape the meatloaf on top and stuff it with cheese, then criss-cross the bacon all around and over the top.
What cheese is good for putting inside this mozzarella stuffed bacon wrapped meatloaf?
I used mozzarella here because it’s quite mild and I have small kids.
But for more sharpness/flavor, you could also use a nice cheddar.
I guess pretty much any cheese that melts well and you like the taste of works, to be honest.
How can you tell meatloaf is done?
First of all, make sure your oven is set to the right temperature (and check with an oven thermometer to make sure it’s as hot as it says!).
Then, the pretty much only way to tell meatloaf is done (since you can’t really cut into it to check)? Is with an instant read thermometer (FYI, this is an affiliate link and I make a commission for purchases made after clicking through).
Get one! It’s so handy.
How do you keep meatloaf from drying out?
I use this super secret method to keep my meatloaf from drying out… Well, it’s not actually that secret:
I smother the meatloaf in sauce before baking, during baking AND right after baking.
Oh and P.S: My Homemade Meatloaf Sauce is pretty delicious 😉
If you feel your meatloaf still dries out during baking, you can loosely cover it with aluminum foil, but I’ve never found this to be necessary.
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P.S: Check out our collection of easy dinner recipes with ground beef for more ideas!