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Tyler Florence\'s Dad\'s Meatloaf with Tomato Relish

Charleston DaveCharleston Dave Posts: 571
edited 5:53AM in EggHead Forum
I noticed a video on AOL of Tyler Florence demo'ing what he called

"one of the best recipes I've ever made in my life...
the pinnacle of meatloaf...
the Valhalla of meatloaf"

As George Will would say, Well.

Tyler credits the recipe to to his father. The recipe has more detail than the video; AOL also has a step-by-step still photo demo.

I was intrigued by the recipe because (a) the chunky relish looked interesting, and (b) I had two leftover red bell peppers, a pound of ground pork and a pound of ground chuck in the refrigerator. Reviewers on AOL were split; some thought it was an amazing meat loaf but others gave it very low marks.

Here's how it went down for me:

Partial mise:

Starting the tomato relish:

Finishing the tomato relish:

Meat loaf mix:

Meat loaf ready to cook, with a cup of relish on top:

Halfway through:

Removed from Egg:

As plated:

I smoked over two chunks of hickory to internal 155ºF using an indirect setup with Egg stabilized at 350ºF dome.

The flavor was quite good but the meat loaf mix was very wet when formed and far too loose to hold shape free-form while cooking. I enjoyed the relish topping, although I chose to puree some of it in the blender to adjust consistency. Its level of sweetness approached cloying; it might be better to use a ketchup without HFCS. I rough-chopped the tomatoes and peppers because I wanted something chunky, but a dice might have worked better. The Egg’s hickory smoke was a total winner with this recipe.

Next time I might use less liquid, some structural support while cooking, or switch to bread crumbs (my usual choice) for the panade.

Definitely worth a try, although I'm not sure I agree with Tyler that it's the "Valhalla of meatloaf."


  • Maybe he meant you should give it a Viking funeral and push it out to sea on a burning boat? :woohoo: :lol: :silly:

    I saw his link on AOL but hadn't clicked on it yet. I'm glad you tried it first. I'll probably just stick with my own too.

    I often think many of the celebrity chefs are best just used for "inspiration" instead of literally following their recipes.

    Thanks for posting!
    Knoxville, TN
    Nibble Me This
  • Charleston Dave, I'll look forward to reading about your meatloaf version 2.0. I'll try the recipe once you work out all the kinks. I just love your analyses of your cooks. Are you sure you're not Alton Brown's twin brother? :side:
  • I'm totally not a fan of Tyler Florence, but the way he was video-raving about this one recipe, its charming backstory, and the way it matched up with what I had in the refrigerator, made me give it a shot.

    Frankly, when I saw how >2 lbs of ground meat had flattened out to look like a pinkish side of salmon, I was ready to send Tyler out to sea in a flaming boat!

    It tasted pretty good, though. Everybody wanted seconds.

    I applaud your point about "inspiration." I will cook with confidence anything by Jacques Pepin or David Lebovitz (although David's a cookbook writer and not a TV chef, so perhaps that's why his work is reliable). Most of the other TV chefs, less so. Complexity? Purposeful opaqueness? Incompetent production assistants trying to transcribe from video? Guess it depends on how much of a conspiracy theorist one is.

    I often read Shola Olumloyo's blog, studiokitchen. He does extremely modern cooking, in ways that he considers simple and straightforward, even intuitive, but that to me seem impossibly complex. One day on his blog I saw a preparation that seemed possible to reproduce at home (sweet potato medallions cooked sous vide in mirin). It failed miserably. I wrote Shola, sharing my results and asking for advice. He responded that he didn't know what I'd done wrong, but he was confident it was a valiant effort. So perhaps it's the journey and not merely the destination.
  • Thanks for the encouragement, but I think I will stick with my Carnivore meatloaf Version 1.0.

    Simpler than Tyler's, too.

    Charleston Dave's Carnivore Meatloaf
  • NoVA BillNoVA Bill Posts: 3,005
    Good lookin' frist effort on the loaf. Any ideas on why it was so moist?
  • cookn bikercookn biker Posts: 13,407
    Interesting. Thanks for sharing Dave!
    Colorado Springs
    "Loney Queen"
    "Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it."
    Bill Bradley; American hall of fame basketball player, Rhodes scholar, former U.S. Senator from New Jersey
    LBGE, MBGE, SBGE , MiniBGE and a Mini Mini BGE
  • Thanks for the kind words. :)
  • I can think of three possibilities:
    (1) Ratio of eggs to meat
    (2) Panade technique
    (3) Different meat proportions.

    (1) Ratio of eggs to meat
    The 3 eggs was probably just too much liquid for 2 pounds of meat. If you work out the ratios, Tyler's recipe calls for 1.5 eggs per pound of meat. This seems high to me. In my Carnivore meat loaf, for example, I use 2 eggs for 3 pounds of meat, so 2/3 of an egg per pound of meat.

    Tyler's recipe thus uses approximately two and a half times as much egg as what I'm used to. I will plead guilty to using XL eggs instead of large; that contributes 5-10% more liquid so that's a minor contributor to the problem.

    I today checked two references:
    (a) Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything
    Meat loaf recipe uses 1 egg for two pounds of meat, plus some Parmesan and bread crumbs. The Parmesan would tend to act as a binder. So, 0.5 eggs per pound of meat.
    (b) Cook's Illustrated The New Best Recipe
    Their recipe uses two eggs for two pounds of meat, so 1.0 eggs per pound of meat. They also use 25% ground veal, which is lower fat and thus would make a leaner meat loaf.

    Here's how the numbers compare:

    So, it looks like half an egg to one egg per pound of meat is the right territory. Tyler's recipe uses half again as much egg as the eggiest alternative.

    (2) Panade technique
    I also use Italian bread crumbs just covered in milk until the milk is absorbed.

    The Tyler Florence recipe uses 3 slices of decrusted bread torn into pieces, soaked in whole milk then the milk "squeezed out" before the bread is added to the loaf. I squeezed mightily but this approach to the panade may be putting more liquid in the mix.

    (3) Different meat proportions
    Finally, Tyler's recipe uses 50% ground pork whereas I use 33% ground pork. It's possible that ground pork has more moisture than ground beef, although I don't know this to be a fact.

    I think #1 is the most likely contributor, and if I make this recipe again would likely cut the eggs from 3 to 2.
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