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Man, I love a good meatloaf. Even better when I can make it in my crockpot. I love using my slow cooker or InstantPot for just about everything that I can. This recipe is no exception. The combination of these two meets makes a delicious, hearty meatloaf that everyone will love. If you are searching for easy slow cooker meatloaf, crockpot meatloaf with bread crumbs, how long to cook meatloaf in crockpot, meatloaf in crockpot on low, simple slow cooker meatloaf or even how to make meatloaf in a crockpot, this best slow cooker meatloaf is exactly what you need. We hope that this Crockpot Meatloaf post inspires you.
- 2.5 pounds of ground meat, we used a mix of lamb and bison; fine to use ground beef as well
- ½ to 1 cup almond milk (cow milk will also work)
- 2 cups of breadcrumbs
- ¾ cup barbecue sauce
- ¼ cup A1 steak sauce
- 2 small carrots, washed, peeled, chopped
- 1 crown of broccoli
- a handful of cherry tomatoes
- 1 small purple radish, washed, peeled, chopped
- 1-2 stocks of celery, washed and chopped
- ½ small onion
- Make the breadcrumb mixture. We quickly process a part of a loaf of multi-grain bread in the blender and then seasoned and toasted them up under the broiler. This entire process took about 4 minutes and was preservative-free.
- Thoroughly wash and prep all of your veggies then toss them in the food processor for a small but rough chopped veggie mix.
- Combine the ground meats, vegetables, and bread crumbs in your slow cooker. I tend to do this right in the slow cooker dish to cut down on the kitchen mess. When well combined pour in a little bit of almond milk only if needed. The fats from the meat and liquid from the vegetables will bring a ton of moisture to the meatloaf so it might not be needed.
- Form a neat and packed down loaf from the mixture and use a fork or multi-pronged tool to poke holes in the top. This will allow for the flavors of the A1 and barbeque to seep into the meat and give it fantastic flavor.
- Spread the sauces across the top evenly making sure it is all covered.
- Add the lid and cook on low for 4 hours or until it has reduced in size and the center temperature hits the minimum for the type of meat you use.
- We served this up over rice with fresh tomatoes and steamed peas.
History of Meatloaf
Meatloaf has a surprisingly long and diverse history, stretching back centuries and across continents! Here's a bite-sized tour:
- Ancient origins: The earliest hint of meatloaf comes from the 1st century AD Roman cookbook, Apicius, with a recipe for patties made with chopped meat, bread, and wine. Similar dishes appeared in medieval European cuisines, suggesting the idea of combining ground meat with fillers was widespread.
- American twist: The American version of meatloaf draws heavily from “scrapple,” a Pennsylvania Dutch dish made with pork scraps and cornmeal dating back to the 18th century. By the late 19th century, American cookbooks featured recipes for “meat loaf,” often using leftover ingredients and inexpensive cuts of meat.
- 20th-century adaptations: The Great Depression made meatloaf even more popular, as it was a budget-friendly way to stretch meat with fillers like bread crumbs and oats. World War II rationing led to creative meat-free versions, while the post-war years saw experimentation with flavors like bacon, dill, and even peach. The 70s and 80s saw meatloaf gain fancier status with veal, pork, and beef blends, often served at dinner parties.
- Recent innovations: The 90s brought upscale restaurant versions, and today, the trend continues with stuffed, wrapped, and internationally-inspired loaves.
Fun Facts About Meatloaf
- While “meatloaf” as a dish has a long history, the rock singer Meat Loaf (born Marvin Lee Aday) adopted his stage name based on his childhood nickname.
- The oldest known meatloaf recipe dates back to Roman times, featuring breadcrumbs, wine, and pine nuts – fancy, huh?
- Medieval Europeans enjoyed meatloaf with mixed fruits and nuts, a sweet and savory combo.
- Kibbeh, a Middle Eastern dish, and Italian polpettone share similarities with meatloaf, showcasing its global reach.
- In Peru, a meatloaf called “pastel de carne” is popular, often filled with hard-boiled eggs and olives.
- The largest meatloaf ever weighed a whopping 6,874 pounds, made in Germany in 2009 – imagine the leftovers!
- In 2020, a Canadian created a giant “meatloaf cake” replica of the Taj Mahal, complete with intricate detailing.
- There's a National Meatloaf Appreciation Day on October 18th in the US – mark your calendars!
- The singer Meat Loaf was inspired by the dish's boldness and theatricality of his stage name.
- Some adventurous cooks use ingredients like sweet potatoes, quinoa, or even shredded vegetables in their meatloaf.
- In Japan, a unique “okonomiyaki” meatloaf combines pork, cabbage, and even noodles – a fusion masterpiece!
- Meatloaf wasn't always baked – some historical versions were fried or even served cold.
- During World War II, with meat rationing, creative cooks even made versions without meat using lentils or mushrooms.
I hope this gives you a good taste of the history of this versatile dish. Whether you were looking for a healthy slow cooker meatloaf recipe, crockpot meatloaf cook time, how long do you cook meatloaf in a slow cooker, crockpot meatloaf with rice, can I make meatloaf in a slow cooker or even cooking meatloaf in the crockpot, our easy crockpot meatloaf dinner will not disappoint. We hope that this slow cooker meatloaf recipe inspires you. Happy cooking!