Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Glazed Venison Meatloaf (with BACON!!)

Have you ever started spot cleaning and then found yourself deep cleaning for hours? Yeah, that totally happened to me last night. I started out picking up toys in my living room (it doesn't matter how many times I ask my 5 and 3 year old to pick up after themselves, it just doesn't happen) and the next thing I knew I had cleared all the cobwebs in the corners, cleaned out behind our corner entertainment center, and ran a sponge across the baseboards! I didn't even go to sleep until well after 3 am. But, alas, this is the life of a mother of little'ns.
This week we're trying to clear out our freezer a bit so we're only eating things we have at home already. Last week we had a friend give us some venison from the deer he shot this season and I decided to make a meatloaf with the ground meat. Now, just an FYI, my kids didn't really go crazy for this, but hubby and I loved it. I served it with honey maple glazed carrots and homemade mashed red potatoes (skin on, of course!).

Glazed Venison Bacon Meatloaf

Approx. 1.5 lbs ground venison
1 lb uncooked bacon, chopped
3 large eggs
1 cup ketchup
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cups dry bread crumbs/crushed crackers
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1.5 tsp garlic powder
4 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp prepared mustard
4 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. This step is very important to me, as it requires my very best friend in the whole world, PAM Baking Spray. Yes. With flour. It's the best. I seriously use no other nonstick spray. It doesn't leave that yucky baked on residue other sprays do, and it actually keeps meat as well as baked yummies from sticking. I use it for anything and everything I put in my oven. So anywho, spray a loaf pan or 9x13 cake pan with your favorite nonstick spray.
3. Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl. Add in chopped onion, ketchup, salt, pepper, and bread crumbs and mix well.
4. Add in chopped bacon and mix again.
5. Time to get messy! Add ground venison to your eggy crumby bacon mix... And mush it all up with your hands! Really get in there and just squeeze it between your fingers. Do this until you're satisfied that all your ingredients are well incorporated.
6. Form meat mixture in prepared pan.
7. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, and cayenne. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, go ahead and throw in a squeeze or two of some liquid smoke and mix well. Pour over meatloaf.
8. Bake in oven for 70-90 minutes, depending on the depth of the pan you've used. Meatloaf is done when meat thermometer reaches 160 in center of loaf.

 Variations (because it's always fun to change it up a bit sometimes!)
Add these in to step three (pick your fave or do them all!):
1 chopped bell pepper, any color
1 cup sliced jalapeƱos
1.5 cups julienned carrots
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

You could also add a handful (or two... Or three or the whole bag because there's no such thing as too much cheese!) of shredded sharp cheddar to the top of the meatloaf the last twenty minutes or so of cooking.

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