Back when I was a kid, my single mom got some meal plans from the US government for cooking healthy meals on a budget. I’m pretty sure this Meatloaf Burgers recipe was one of them.
It’s important to understand why meatloaf was invented. The eggs and crackers helped stretch the ground beef, a practice that was crucial during hard times. Though beef isn’t such a luxury these days, we can still benefit from reducing the amount of red meat in our diet.
But I love these meatloaf burgers because of the taste — They’re flavorful, super-juicy burgers with all the onions and Worcestershire sauce built-in.
Plus, I can make a huge batch and pull them from the freezer for easy meals later.
- 3 lbs.* Ground Beef (I prefer 93% lean: more fat = more drippings = smaller burgers)
- Handful (1/4 – 1/3 cup) Chopped Onions (I keep a baggy in the freezer door)
- Handful (1/4 – 1/3 cup) Chopped Bell Peppers (optional)
- About 6-8 Crumbled Saltine Crackers
- 1 or 2 Large Eggs*
- Worcestershire Sauce (to taste, about 10 shakes)
- Salt (to taste, about 6 shakes)
- Big Squeeze (1/4 – 1/3 cup) of Ketchup
- 16* Aluminum Foil sheets, each slightly longer than wide
- Paper Towels
- Hamburger Buns
- Slice of Cheese (optional)
- Favorite Condiments
Makes about 16 servings*. Prep and cook times vary.
- In a big bowl, combine ground beef and other meatloaf ingredients.
- Crumble saltine crackers really well before adding them.
- Make sure the onions and bell peppers are chopped pretty small for easy shaping into patties (unlike my photos below).
- Knead until fairly consistent (or until the cold becomes unbearable).
- Have assistant (with clean hands) tear off 16* aluminum foil sheets, slightly longer than wide (unlike my photos below).
- Divide mixture into 4 portions. Divide each of these into 4 portions, for a total of 16* servings.
- Take one portion, form it into a ball, and slam it down into the center of the foil.
- Flatten the ball and consolidate the edges to make a bun-sized burger patty.
- Have assistant (with clean hands) pull the cut edges of the foil over the patty and roll them together, down to the patty.
- Take each loose end of the foil packet and roll it in, toward the patty.
- Begin cooking tonight’s dinner and then continue wrapping the rest of the patties.
- Freeze in short stacks until completely frozen, then consolidate stacks for compact storage.
- Place foil-wrapped meatloaf patties on a pan in a ~350ºF oven or toaster oven.
- Cook until completely done (meat completely brown, juices no longer pink).
- Frozen patties take about 30-60 minutes, depending on oven and temperature.
- Put one cooked pouch on a plate and carefully open the foil with a fork.
- Use the fork to lift burger from juices and foil.
- Place patty on 2 paper towels, fold them over top, and press with the fork to blot excess juices.
- Put used paper towels in the foil wrapper to absorb juices and toss into trash once cool.
SERVE AND EAT:
- Serve on a hamburger bun with a slice of cheese (optional) and your favorite condiments to make Meatloaf Burgers.
- Or, serve on a plate with vegetables for a more traditional Meatloaf Dinner.
Uncooked Meatloaf Burgers freeze and reheat really well so you can make them in bulk for several easy-prep dinners later. When served on paper plates, the blotting fork is the only dish to wash!
* Servings: The size of each patty is flexible. The batch shown above was 2 lbs. and 2 eggs, divided into only 8 burgers (to match the bun package) — a bit too big! I usually recommend ~5 servings per pound of ground beef because that makes roughly 1/4 lb. burgers with all the extra ingredients. Feel free to scale the entire recipe:
- 16 servings for 3 lbs. ground beef is based on dividing into 4 portions, and dividing into 4 again.
- 9 servings for 2 lbs. is based on dividing into 3 portions and dividing into 3 again.
- 5 servings for 1 lb. Don’t have a 1/3 egg on hand? No problem: Using a full egg for as little as 1 lb. of ground beef will still turn out fine. You might add an extra cracker (3 instead of 2) to absorb any excess fluid from the egg.