Meatloaf Burgers

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.


Meatloaf Burgers

INGREDIENTS:

  • 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
  • Favorite Condiments

Makes about 16 servings*.  Prep and cook times vary.


PREPARE:

  1. In a big bowl, combine ground beef and other meatloaf ingredients.
  2. Crumble saltine crackers really well before adding them.
  3. Make sure the onions and bell peppers are chopped pretty small for easy shaping into patties (unlike my photos below).
  4. Knead until fairly consistent (or until the cold becomes unbearable).
  5. Have assistant (with clean hands) tear off 16* aluminum foil sheets, slightly longer than wide (unlike my photos below).
  6. Divide mixture into 4 portions.  Divide each of these into 4 portions, for a total of 16* servings.
  7. Take one portion, form it into a ball, and slam it down into the center of the foil.
  8. Flatten the ball and consolidate the edges to make a bun-sized burger patty.
  9. Have assistant (with clean hands) pull the cut edges of the foil over the patty and roll them together, down to the patty.
  10. Take each loose end of the foil packet and roll it in, toward the patty.
  11. Begin cooking tonight’s dinner and then continue wrapping the rest of the patties.
  12. Freeze in short stacks until completely frozen, then consolidate stacks for compact storage.

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COOK:

  1. Place foil-wrapped meatloaf patties on a pan in a ~350ºF oven or toaster oven.
  2. Cook until completely done (meat completely brown, juices no longer pink).
  3. Frozen patties take about 30-60 minutes, depending on oven and temperature.
  4. Put one cooked pouch on a plate and carefully open the foil with a fork.
  5. Use the fork to lift burger from juices and foil.
  6. Place patty on 2 paper towels, fold them over top, and press with the fork to blot excess juices.
  7. Put used paper towels in the foil wrapper to absorb juices and toss into trash once cool.

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SERVE AND EAT:

  • Serve on a hamburger bun with favorite condiments to make Meatloaf Burgers.
  • Or, serve on a plate with vegetables for a more traditional Meatloaf Dinner.

LATER:

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.

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