This outstanding meatloaf was a sensation from the moment it appeared on the menu at Venice Beach Restaurant 72 Market Street. A remarkably juicy and flavorsome meatloaf recipe made with ground beef and pork sausage, caramelized vegetables and vibrant spices. The crowning touch is the sweet and tangy glaze of tomato paste, vinegar and brown sugar.
As meatloaf recipes go, this one is hands down the best meatloaf I've ever tasted.
WHAT MAKES THIS MEATLOAF RECIPE SO GOOD?
- THE MEAT - Market Street Meatloaf uses a combination of ground beef and pork sausage. Sausage, with its delicious seasonings and good proportion of fat, brings lots of great flavor to this meatloaf. In addition, the sausage fat melts into the meatloaf as it bakes, basting it and keeping it tender and juicy.
- THE VEGETABLES - While most classic meatloaf recipes use raw chopped onions as the sole vegetable component, this meatloaf recipe uses 6 different vegetables: red and green peppers, onions, scallions, carrots, celery and garlic. And they don't go into the meatloaf mixture raw. They are finely chopped and sautéed in butter to bring out their best and sweetest flavors.
- THE SPICES - Most classic meatloaf recipes are seasoned with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce - a decent way to intensify the natural meaty flavor of meat but, in my opinion, nothing to write home about. This meatloaf goes outside the box with three different types of pepper - black, white and cayenne, nutmeg, cumin, and salt, with cumin predominating. The result is bright, vibrant flavors with a spicy kick - the perfect kind of seasoning for this rich meaty loaf.
HOW TO COOK MEATLOAF SO IT'S JUICY AND DOESN'T DRY OUT
I've adapted the original Market Street meatloaf recipe very slightly but the biggest change I made was to add a glaze. The New Basics recipe doesn't include gravy or a glaze and though I've enjoyed this meatloaf, unglazed, for decades, I also love how meatloaf tastes with a sweet and tangy tomato glaze slathered on top.
Feel free to omit the glaze if you wish - this meatloaf is wonderful with or without it. But if you like glazed meatloaf, this is a fantastic glaze.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS MEATLOAF
At the restaurant, Chef Schwartz served this meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach. I highly recommend that you do the same!
The Best Ever Meatloaf Recipe
- Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
- Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
The ultimate tender, juicy, flavorsome meatloaf. A recipe designed by a restaurant chef who was determined to make the best meatloaf ever - and succeeded.
Adapted from a The Market Street Meatloaf recipe created by Chef Lenny Schwartz and published in The New Basics Cookbook.
- 1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or olive oil)
- ¾ cup finely chopped yellow onion - 1 medium onion
- ¾ cup finely chopped scallions (1 bunch, ends trimmed)
- ½ cup finely chopped carrots - 1 large carrot
- ¼ cup finely chopped celery - 1 stalk
- ¼ cup minced red bell pepper - ⅓ of a pepper
- ¼ cup minced green bell pepper - ⅓ of a pepper
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 large eggs, well beaten
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ cup half-and-half
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 12 ounces of pork sausage (not flavored with fennel)
- ¾ cup breadcrumbs or panko
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Arrange a rack in the center position. Select two large rectangular baking pans - one slightly smaller than the other, so the small one can fit into the larger one.
- To make the glaze (if using) combine all the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk while heating over medium heat, for a few minutes, until the sugar is melted and all the ingredients are combined. Set the glaze aside while you prepare the meatloaf.
- Melt butter in a heavy skillet and add the onion, scallions, carrots, celery, bell peppers, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, over medium heat, until the moisture from the vegetables has evaporated, 8-10 minutes. Chill the vegetables for a half hour or so in a covered bowl in the fridge or for ten minutes in the freezer.
- Combine the salt, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, cumin, nutmeg, and eggs in a mixing bowl, and beat well, then whisk in the ketchup and half-and-half.
- Add the beef, sausage, and bread crumbs and chilled vegetables to the egg mixture and mix with your hands for several minutes, until ingredients are smooth and throughly combined.
- Add the mixture to the smaller baking pan and shape it, with damp hands, into a long low oval that measures 13 x 6 x 1 ½ inches or 17 x 4 ½ x 1 ½ or something along those lines, so it fits into your pan.
- If glazing, spread the glaze evenly over the top and sides of the meatloaf.
- Place the smaller baking dish inside the larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the smaller baking dish. (see notes below)
- Place the pans in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the meatloaf is no longer pink in the middle or the internal temperature has reached at least 160ºF when tested with a food thermometer.
- Remove the smaller baking dish from the water bath and let the meatloaf rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Cooking Method For this Meatloaf: This meatloaf recipe uses a water bath to create gentle, even, moist heat in the oven, for an extra juicy tender meatloaf.
Make This Meatloaf with Oats for Gluten Free: Switch out the bread crumbs in this recipe for an equal amount of gluten-free quick cooking oats. Or if you can't find quick oats that are gluten-free you can use gluten-free rolled oats, pulsed in the food processor a few times, to make them into crumbs.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Chill time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 50 mins
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: classic meatloaf recipe
Tastiest meatloaf ever. I made two smaller loaves this time; one for today with sandwiches tomorrow, the other will go into the freezer for later meals. Dang, this recipe beats all others! Thanks!!
Hi Linda - I'm so glad you enjoyed the meatloaf and nice that you'll have another one in the freezer to look forward to 🙂 Thank you for your rating and note!
This meatloaf recipe is spectacular and I will make it again and again. Today a Grandson who will not be named, came for a visit and opportunity to learn a new recipe. He ate an entire meatloaf himself and is well on his way to appreciating the difference between very good and excellent preparation. Left with another one as well as enthusiasm for the next meal we’ll prepare together. Thank you so very very much!!!!
Wow! Such a wonderful note - thanks Betsey! I'm so glad you and your grandson enjoyed the market street meatloaf so much!
This is literally the BEST meatloaf I’ve ever made!
Hi Sara - Wow, that's wonderful news! I'm so glad you enjoyed!
Because the loaf was so big, I lowered the oven temp to 350° and cooked it a bit longer. Low and slow.
Low and slow is the way to go!
In the last 40 years we have had no less than 6 different go-to meatloaf recipes we thought had amazing results. Over the past few months our search began anew. The search located more than 40 different recipes. I quickly scanned through the ingredients and the directions and selected 8 which were slightly to very different from the typical ingredients. This recipes has the most different. After reviewing the results with another home cook, we selected the recipe from Panning the Globe. What intrigued us most about this recipe, Lisa, were the variety of vegetables which were sautéd, and use of additional spices, e.g. multiple peppers. The meatloaf was prepared as described with the following exceptions. Since we prefer to know what we are consuming as well as pronounce the ingredients we do not, typically, consume commercially prepared food. Therefore, the beef 90/10 , the mild Italian sausage and the panko are all prepared fresh in our kitchen, frozen and used when required.
This is our new go-to meatloaf recipe. It took a little longer to cook (20 min) do to the height of the meatloaf, in the pan. The binders worked to hold the meatloaf together beautifully. The flavors provided by the sautéd vegetables were wonderful complex. The glaze provided just enough heat to kick the result up a huge notch but not overpower the meatloaf.
Sent several helpings to our military friend next door. He proclaimed this to remind him of what his mother served when he was a kid.
Thank you, Lisa, for the history of and the "best meatloaf I ever ate" recipe.
Wow, what a wonderful note to receive. You just made my day! Thank you for your detailed comment - I loved reading it. I'm so glad you enjoyed the meatloaf and found your new favorite 🙂
The title of this recipe is what caught my eye. I’m not much of a meatloaf fan because they’re all the same ol’, same ol’. However, as I perused over the ingredients, I realized that, except for scallions, I had bits of each of the veggies in my fridge. Score! I have a freezer full of hubby-harvested venison, including hubby-made venison sausage, so out they came and I began to chop, chop away!
A little background here. We sold our home and are traveling in our RV looking for a “forever piece of property”, so space is very limited and my kitchen is tiny. I was using my phone to read the recipe, which kept timing out, causing me to keep losing my place. I inadvertently put all the spices into the sautéing veggies. When I realized my mistake—oh, well! I kept on going! I’m one who just dumps spices in (except when I’m baking) So when I got to the part where I was SUPPOSED to put the spices in, I just put them all in again, minus a tad! Ha! Because the oven is tiny and I had a large meatloaf pan and lots of extra meat mixture, I made meatballs which are now uncooked in the freezer and the meatloaf is half gone after two helpings each for the two of us. I’m thrilled I got to use up my veggies and we got a delicious best-ever meatloaf dinner using our venison and enough meatballs to make sandwiches plus a marinara meal! Thank you! ♥️
Hi Amy - first of all I'm so happy the title of the recipe was alluring to you - I always feel sheepish about calling one of my recipes "the best," but in this case, I felt I had to because I love it so much and also because it has garnered so much praise from far and wide. I'm really glad to hear that you loved the meatloaf - amazing that you had all the ingredients in house and great that you persisted despite the technical issues with your phone, a tiny oven, and a slip up with the spices. Great that it all worked out and that you had a delicious meal plus meatballs in the freezer to look forward to. 🙂
My husband loves meatloaf. Me? Not so much. When he said he was craving meatloaf, I went on the hunt for a truly amazing recipe. I’m so glad I came across this recipe! It was AMAZING! Cooking time took about an hour and fifteen minutes, but we were in no hurry. Because it’s just the two of us, we made two loaves and froze the second. I’m writing as the second loaf is thawing in the fridge for tomorrow’s dinner. When we had the first loaf about a week and a half ago, we both kept saying things like, “Oh, yum,” “Wow,” and “This is the BEST meatloaf I’ve ever had!” After dinner, we sent the recipe to all our friends and family! Bonus points for including the history behind this recipe. How neat! Thanks again!
This comment makes me so happy Amy. I don't often name recipes "the best ever" but this meatloaf truly is the best I've ever tasted. It's great to hear that you and your husband love it as much as I do. I'm so glad you enjoyed and I thank you for your note and stars and for sharing the recipe around with friends and family!
Wow. Just wow. This truly is the best meatloaf ever. My husband and our friends could it stop saying yum as we devoured it. Thank you for this amazing recipe.
Amazing FLAVOR! I was concerned about the glaze burning, but it was perfect. Took about 1 hr 15 minutes to bake up to 160 degrees. Thank you for an outstanding meatloaf recipe. Wow!
That's great news - I'm so glad you enjoyed! Funny that it took so long to cook - the original recipe suggests a 35-45 minute cooking time. Perhaps they like their meatloaf medium rare, or more likely it's a matter of different ovens and different cooking vessels. Anyhow, it worked well and that's great. Thanks for letting me know 🙂
In the oven as I type. Did I miss in the instructions about when to put on the tomato paste glaze? I spread it on at the start of baking. My oven isn't slow, but at the end of 45 minutes temp reads 100 degrees - so....will keep in baking for 15-20 more minutes and then check again. Hope the glaze doesn't burn. p.s. while it's baking, the house does smell wonderful 🙂
Hi Linda - thank you SO much for letting me know about this. I just updated the post after adding the glazing instruction. I hope you enjoy the meatloaf - keep me posted.
Wow - I tried this recipe last night and I will never make meatloaf any other way again. I was blown away by the tenderness and flavor. I can't wait to have it again for leftovers. Thanks for sharing!
This sounds delicious, I’m curious about the sausage. Is it mild Italian sausage? Breakfast sausage? I’ve used ground pork in meat loaf so this sounds like an interesting step.
Hi Deb - that's a great question and I should probably add some notes about this in the post since it's not easy to find Italian sausage without fennel. Yes, plain breakfast sausage is an excellent choice. I've also used bulk pork sausage - not in a casing - when it's available. Occasionally I've used ground pork and added sausage spices: salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, basil and oregano. Any of these options will work well.
I made this last night. It took me longer than my usual go to meatloaf but boy was it worth it! SO flavorful and juicy, and I love the tomato paste glaze - definitely better than one I have been making with ketchup. This is my new meatloaf recipe - I'll never go back. Thank you Lisa!
Hi Joan - Thanks for being the first to rate and review this new recipe. I'm so happy you enjoyed the meatloaf!!