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Old 01-25-2018, 05:14 PM   #1
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Boring turkey meatloaf

I wasn’t sure which forum to post this in. Is meatloaf considered a casserole?

I have never made meatloaf, with any kind of meat, until yesterday. I don’t like it. This is based on a childhood memory. I think my mom attempted it once, and it was a dismal failure. And it’s just too beefy for me. But a few days ago, I caught an episode of a famous Italian chef’s show on PBS, and she was making turkey meatloaf with a mushroom sauce. It looked so good, and my husband loves it, so I decided to give it a try. I won’t mention the chef’s name, because I’m sure the fault was all mine.

It’s boring. Bland. It was nice and moist, but nearly flavorless. The mushroom sauce wasn’t much better. Now, I know turkey isn’t exactly famous for flavor. Is that where the fault lies (I did add a good amount of minced rosemary and thyme, and generous grinding of black pepper, and I didn’t forget to salt!). Should I ditch the turkey and try it with a blend of more flavorful meats, like beef and pork (veal is hard to find here, and too expensive)? Should I have used dry herbs instead of fresh?

I feel rather silly asking for advice on meatloaf, turkey or otherwise. It’s such an ubiquitous American comfort food. Any home cook could probably whip one up with his or her eyes closed. Heck, any home cook’s teenager probably could. It’s kind of like a professional chef admitting he doesn’t know how to make scrambled eggs!

So, chuckle if you want (Hunh? He can’t make meatloaf?), but have some pity, and if you’ve got a tasty recipe or some tips, preferably for turkey, please share them! My husband will be eternally grateful!

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Old 01-25-2018, 05:33 PM   #2
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JJ, there are as many meatloaf recipes as there are grains of sand on the planet and some of them just suck. We have several threads dedicated to meatloaf here with dozens of recipes. No doubt, there are thousands of recipes on the rest of the internet.

I tend to make meatloafs with either beef or beef and lamb. It's a freeform kind of recipe with you adding whatever you like for flavors. The basics are to make a loaf the holds together, is moist and tastes great. The rest is open to interpretation.

Turkey is a difficult meat to work with as flavor is in short supply. Try other meats solo or in combination. Breadcrumbs and an egg or two are basic. I like to pureeing included veggies so you don't get a big chunk of onion or garlic in a bite. Cheese and bacon are prominent players.

Keep trying.
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Old 01-25-2018, 05:36 PM   #3
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Don't feel silly, good meatloaf is not as easy as people might think.

I typically use a 50/50 blend of ground beef and ground pork. For more flavor, you can mix ground beef and one of those chubs of breakfast sausage, or even Italian sausage.

I also smoke my meatloaf on my Weber Kettle. I put the coals on one side, and the meatloaf on the other. I like hickory chunks for the smoke. I form my loaf and put it in the fridge to firm up for a few hours. Then, it goes right on the grill grate, with a foil drip pan below.

Smoked meatloaf is really, really good.

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Old 01-25-2018, 06:12 PM   #4
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My wife makes a pretty good turkey meatlump.

I'll have to ask for her recipe.

That reminds me. I've gotta post that teryaki recipe.

Hey, what about a meatlump topped with teryaki sauce? Hmmm...
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Old 01-25-2018, 06:34 PM   #5
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I like ground turkey about as much as I like Tofu. Actually I can't stand either one and they are similar in flavor..no flavor at all.

Ground beef, with maybe some gr. pork or sausage is my choice. Try the recipe you used before with some meat.
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Old 01-25-2018, 08:02 PM   #6
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Either Cooks Country or America's Test Kitchen made turkey meat loaf just recently. I don't remember what they did to jazz it up, but it came out looking almost like a regular beef loaf. Should be able to find it by searching their site for that.
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Old 01-25-2018, 11:46 PM   #7
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If you're not averse to spice, I'd suggest adding a combination of chipotle peppers and fresh jalapenos to give it a smokey kick.
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Old 01-26-2018, 03:51 AM   #8
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I like to use the store prepared meatball mix of beef, pork and veal.

If all I have to work with is ground turkey then I add a packet of GOYA beef bouillon to the mixture of breadcrumbs and spices called for in the recipe. A good shot of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce and a good squirt of ketchup also helps to boost the flavor.

In my area it is also popular to use a mixture of ground smoked ham and beef to make a ham loaf.

I make my meatloaf free form so it has more crust and is a little dryer than those baked in a pan. I also like to add some finely chopped vegetables to the mixture. A little bell pepper, onion, garlic, celery, carrot, mushrooms, etc...

I don't really care for hot meatloaf but a cold meatloaf sandwich is hard to beat.

Good luck!
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Old 01-26-2018, 03:52 AM   #9
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The first meatloaf I made, the oven wasnt steady in heat and I used my then mother in laws recipe, it looked like dog food, smelled worse, but my husband loved it and I just thought it tasted livery and salty. Then I realised , yes it hard to make meat loaf, but easy when the spouse has zero taste buds and loves the taste of dog food.

When I flavour ground chicken or turkey, I make sure that the herbs are ground into a paste or a fine dust, otherwise it always gets bland.

I prefer to make mine out of half beef and half pork and wrapped with bacon.
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Old 01-26-2018, 04:35 AM   #10
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From what I have been able to gather, ground turkey is generally made from less expensive dark meat. The 97 - 99% fat free stuff is made from more expensive white meat. Which one did you use? Dark meat will have a bit more flavor, but as with all ground turkey, that still isn't much.

Products - Shady Brook Farms® turkey
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