It’s easy to make fun of meatloaf. Way too easy. Lazy parents make meatloaf for ungrateful kids, right? “Aw, meatloaf?” they whine as you slide a plate-sized slab in front of them. It’s no wonder they smother it in cheap ketchup before begging to be excused so they can go learn half-truths on the internet. One of those half-truths they’ve picked up online is the ridiculous notion that kids hate meatloaf. Nobody hates meatloaf. At least not my meatloaf.
So I hope you’ll set aside all those standard meatloaf jokes, like: “Yo mama’s so fat, on Halloween she says Trick or Meatloaf! Because my Meatloaf Sliders (like yo mama) deserve a little respect.
I’ll start by paying my own respects to the slow tomato-bacon ketchup I like to use on (and in) my meatloaf. The emphasis here in on slow. The recipe requires you cook the onions and bacon in olive oil until they’re deeply golden brown and quite jammy. Smashed tomatoes are then added to the mixture and it continues to cook for another couple of hours until it transforms itself into a deeply rich sauce that I call ketchup. It’s a time-consuming process, but the reward is a big swipe of umami flavored R‑E-S-P-E-C‑T. It’s this ketchup that differentiates these Meatloaf Sliders from the overcooked “loaf” of meat to which Antonin Scalia compared marriage equality. Don’t ask — I can’t understand that metaphor any more than you can (I can only guess that it’s one of those half-truths I told you about).
Despite its terrible reputation, when it’s done right, meatloaf is the quintessential comfort food — the antithesis of fancy restaurant fare. You can serve it hot (with creamy mashed potatoes), or eat it cold (crammed between slices of white bread). I’ve decided to shape it into cute little burgers and call them sliders. The first reason I chose this direction is that I believe meatloaf has a better chance of showing up on respectable menus at fancy restaurants if you serve it in slider form. Have you noticed the slider craze at fancy restaurants these days? If tiny-sized burgers can bring glory to SPAM, then I’m sure the format can make Meatloaf Sliders respectable too.
Secondly, sliders appeal to kids. When it comes to the internet, kids hold all the power. Since few things delight young eaters as much as kid-sized food, I think Meatloaf Sliders can finally give meatloaf the kind of juvenile Google cred it’s been missing. At the very least those half-truths about my favorite comfort food might finally be put to rest. GREG