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Alton Brown and his Meatloaf January 19, 2010

Posted by General Zod in Food, Heroes, Television.
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alton_brown Alton Brown (aka A.B.) is best known for his humorous food science TV program, Good Eats on the Food Network.  (There is no doubt in my mind that it is simply the best damn cooking show in television history!)  He is also known as the main commentator on Iron Chef America.

On an individual note, I salute Alton as one of my personal heroes.  You might ask… “Why?”  Well, let me tell you that the answer is the same as the question.  I shall explain.

Because today, thanks to Alton, I enjoy cooking.  I may not get the opportunity do it as often as I’d like, but I do enjoy it.  Don’t get me wrong.  Some credit has to be given to my high school Home Economics teacher… but it wasn’t until much later that Alton inspired me to develop cooking into a usable skill set that I could draw upon in my everyday life.

In my youth, I would periodically watch cooking television whenever my mother put it on TV.  I can clearly recall watching Julia Child on “The French Chef”, Graham Kerr on “The Galloping Gourmet”, Jeff Smith on “The Frugal Gourmet”, and quite a few others.  Perhaps it was just my young age, but none of these programs ever really spoke to me.  No matter how many cooking programs I watched, I just couldn’t get excited about it.

Then, in 1993, my attention was drawn by the new Food Network channel when an entirely new collection of cooking programs were brought into our homes.  I started checking out these programs, and found that chefs like Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse were starting to draw my attention.  Still, I had no real desire to leap into the kitchen and place food to heat.

good_eats Then, in 1999, the program “Good Eats” premiered… and I finally figured out what was missing from the equation.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to cook.  It wasn’t that I couldn’t find recipes that I liked.  The problem was that the engineer inside of me had questions.

I wanted to know WHY

  • Why do my pancakes end up wafer thin?
  • Why does my oven bake better on one side than the other?
  • Why separate eggs when some recipes end up using both parts?

… and many other questions plagued me.  I didn’t just need to know how to cook something.  I wanted to know why I was doing the steps involved.  I needed a culinary mentor that could provide those answers.  Alton was the first television chef to bring me those answers.

alton_brown_chickenGood Eats is a delicate blend of pop culture references, educational food science, comedic skits, and some seriously tasty food.  Alton has a talent for explaining the secrets behind food preparation in an entertaining manner that can be easily understood.  Think of the program as Mr. Wizard and Monty Python go to meet Julia Child.

I love the array of fictional guest characters that continue to appear on the show like Marsha Brown (his fictional sister), W (the equipment expert), Thing (the helpful hand that appears to hand out tools and ingredients), and my personal favorite B.A. (Alton’s evil twin).

If you have never seen “Good Eats”, then you are depriving yourself of a wonderful experience.  I will admit that some episodes are better than others, but they’re all engaging and educational in one respect or another.  So give the program a chance.

good_eats_meatloaf Now the ultimate reason I thought to write this post today was because of my grocery list.  I’m preparing to do the week’s shopping tonight, and decided to make “Good Eats Meatloaf” for dinner sometime this week.  It may not look like much more than a brown lump in this picture, but it is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten… and my absolute favorite AB recipe.  So I thought it would be criminal if I didn’t continue to share this goodness with the world.

Good Eats Meatloaf
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients:

6 ounces garlic-flavored croutons
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and broken
3 whole cloves garlic
1/2 red bell pepper
18 ounces ground chuck
18 ounces ground sirloin
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg

For the glaze:

1/2 cup catsup
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a food processor bowl, combine croutons, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and thyme. Pulse until the mixture is of a fine texture. Place this mixture into a large bowl. Combine the onion, carrot, garlic, and red pepper in the food processor bowl. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped, but not pureed. Combine the vegetable mixture, ground sirloin, and ground chuck with the bread crumb mixture. Season the meat mixture with the kosher salt. Add the egg and combine thoroughly, but avoid squeezing the meat.

Pack this mixture into a 10-inch loaf pan to mold the shape of the meatloaf. Onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, turn the meatloaf out of the pan onto the center of the tray. Insert a temperature probe at a 45 degree angle into the top of the meatloaf. Avoid touching the bottom of the tray with the probe. Set the probe for 155 degrees.

Combine the catsup, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and honey. Brush the glaze onto the meatloaf after it has been cooking for about 10 minutes.

If you require further direction, then check out the episode where Alton made this delightfully delectable dinner entree below…

Enjoy!

Good Eats 2×08 – A Grind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Part I

Part II:

Comments»

1. Leader Desslok - January 19, 2010

Don’t let your meat loaf…

2. Keith - January 26, 2011

Two twists on AB’s Meatloaf. Either or both..
— after all else has been blended, softly blend in 4 oz (by weight) of Gorgonzola crumbles.
— Cook on grill, indirect until internal temp as specified (155°F). Use wood chips/chunks of your choice for additional flavor.

3. Chad - January 28, 2011

Keith – I love those ideas. Was thinking about making up a batch here soon… going to try that gorgonzola method first… or I could do both!
One thing I do is use a 1/4 sheet pan instead of the typical 1/2 pan, that should help it fit on the grill.

4. Keith - January 28, 2011

When doing this on the grill, I cut a piece of parchment paper for the loaf to set on. Put 6-8 times with you knife and that lets fats drain nicely.


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