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Ain't Your Mama's Meatloaf

To give you some background, my mom makes this really great meatloaf. It is untouchable. It is primo stuff. She won't come off the recipe to save her life because she's finally nailed down a great recipe and doesn't want it walking around town. Anyway, my husband - Peter's favorite meal is my mom's meatloaf. One Sunday a few years ago I decided I was going to make burgers. I tell him how I've concoted this great recipe and it is going to be his most favorite food - yada, yada, yada. We were newly married so I was trying to win over his picky pallette. I make these burgers to the best of my ability. Trying to pull together all of the tastes that he enjoys. I am proud of these burgers, I am convinced that I am going to win him over. We sit down to dinner and he takes a bite, chewing thoughtfully. I am thinking that I am in like flint so I ask him what he thinks. He looks me straight in the eye, clears his throat and says "they are real good baby but they ain't your mama's meatloaf". I tell you what, I wanted to strangle him! But they are good burgers. I hope you think so too. Thanks for your consideration!


Meatloaf Patties
2 pounds ground chuck
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of celery salt
1 large Vidalia or sweet onion, finely chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, drained
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup butter crackers, crushed
Onion Petals
1 ½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon of celery salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1/2 stick of salted butter
1 large Vidalia or sweet onion, halved and cut in triangular strips Horseradish Sauce
1/2 cup of good quality mayonnaise
3 tablespoons of horseradish
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 (4 ½ inch) Kaiser Rolls, split
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium heat. To make the Meatloaf Patties, combine the chuck, black pepper, celery salt, onion, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, sour cream and butter crackers in a large bowl. Fold the mixture together by hand – handle the mixture as little as possible to avoid compaction. Cover and let rest at room temperature. To make the Onion Petals, combine red wine vinegar, chicken broth, celery salt and black pepper in a 10 inch non stick, fireproofed skillet. Whisk mixture together until combined, add butter and place on grill rack. Do not cover skillet or grill with lid. Stir constantly until butter is melted in to sauce. Let sauce cook. Once the sauce starts to rolling boil, using a grill glove – remove skillet from grill and add onion petals. Combine onions and sauce with wooden spoon. Cover skillet with lid and place back on the grill rack. Close the lid on the grill. Cook the onion mixture for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and most of the liquid is evaporated. Using grill glove, remove skillet from grill and set aside. To make the Horseradish Sauce, combine the mayonnaise, horseradish, sour cream, crushed red pepper, celery salt and black pepper in a small mixing bowl. Stir ingredients together with a tablespoon until combined. Cover and set aside. Brush the grill rack with extra virgin olive oil. Retrieve the meatloaf mixture and divide in to 6 equal portions. Avoid handling the mixture too much when forming patties to approximately 5” in diameter. Form the middle of the patty to be slightly thinner than the edges for more even cooking results. Place the patties on the grill rack, cover the grill and cook for seven to ten minutes. Avoid pressing the burger with the spatula to promote juiciness. Flip burger with spatula, cover the grill and let cook for another 5 to 7 minutes to achieve medium tempature results. While patties finish cooking, open the Kaiser rolls - lightly spread room temperature butter on tops, bottoms and cut sides, close and set aside on plate. When the patties are cooked, remove from the grill, stacking them on a plate to keep warm – set aside. Place rolls cut side down on outer edges of grill rack until the butter is melted and the rolls are almost golden brown on the outside. Remove rolls from grill and prepare for immediate assembly. To assemble the burgers: spread a generous amount of the Horseradish Sauce on cut sides of the rolls. On each roll bottom, place a patty and then a generous portion of the onion petals. Add the roll tops and serve. Make 6 burgers.