Dutch Oven Peppered Bacon Meatloaf takes the classic comfort food to the next level by adding sausage and thick cut peppercorn bacon.
There is nothing more American than apple pie. Unless we’re talking savory, then it’s meatloaf.
What is meatloaf?
For something so delicious, why does it have a less than appetizing name. A loaf of meat.
Well, now that I put it like that, it does sound down right scrumptious.
Meatloaf, as its name states, is a loaf of meat, mixed with other ingredients like aromatics (onions, garlic, celery, peppers), binders (eggs, breadcrumbs, crackers, rolled oats), and flavorings or mix-ins (sauces like ketchup or Worcestershire, herbs, spices, cheeses).
Traditionally, it is cooked in a loaf pan, then sliced like bread.
One might be surprised to learn that much like the hot dog, pretty much every culture has a form of meatloaf in their cuisine.
Dutch Oven Meatloaf Recipe
A few notes before we begin:
Using a 10″ or 12″ skillet instead of a Dutch oven will work for this recipe. Additionally, you can use cast iron loaf pans (or any kind), but you’ll need to divide the mixture among two pans.
For ease, I used ground Italian sausage, however, buying links and removing the casings will work perfectly too.
Crumble both the ground beef and ground Italian sausage into a large bowl. Crumbling the meats before hand will help reduce the mixing later. Over-mixing ground meats tends to lead to dry and tough results.
And nobody likes dry, tough meat. Nobody!
Add two eggs. Three, if using medium.
Why are eggs added to meatloaf?
Eggs are added to meatloaf (meatballs too) for two reasons: moisture and binding. Rich egg yolks add silky fat which will help keep meatloaf juicy. Together with egg whites, they will hold or bind the meat and other ingredients together in the desired form.
Eggs and ground meat are the two constants in any meatloaf, after that, the ingredients will vary wildly depending on the desired flavor.
We’ve added diced onions and celery, panko (Japanese bread crumbs), fresh parsley, and seasonings: salt, pepper, and granulated garlic.
Because we used Italian sausage, we wanted to stick with more milder mix-ins, allowing the sausage flavor to shine through.
Mix together, (by hand with or without gloves, a spoon, or by telekinetic powers) all the ingredients. Take care to not over mix, remember my warnings above.
Add the meatloaf mixture to the Dutch oven (or whatever pan you’re using) and pat smooth. Take care the mixture is spread evenly in the pan to ensure even cooking.
Layer the bacon across the top of the meatloaf. The slices may need to be trimmed, but can be used to fill in wholes or gaps.
We did a lattice weave, but this is not necessary. We were striving for beauty along with taste. And nothing says beauty like woven bacon strips.
Once the meatloaf is done, allow it to rest for a few minutes before slicing and drain off any renderings.
We served this with the classic sides mashed potatoes and peas.
What to serve with meatloaf?
While mashed potatoes and peas are a classic; there are so many delicious side dishes to pair with your meatloaf.
- Cast Iron Sweet Cornbread
- Skillet Baked Beans and Bacon
- Rice Pilaf from The Complete Savorist
- Cast Iron Cinnamon Apples
Easy Potato Recipes
- Bacon Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes from The Complete Savorist
- Cast Iron Cheesy Hassleback Potatoes
- Dutch Oven Potatoes
- Dutch Oven Baked Potatoes
- Yukon Gold Buttermilk Thyme Mashed Potatoes from The Complete Savorist
- Scalloped Potato Gratin
- Buttered Asparagus and Spring Peas
Easy Vegetable Side Dish Recipes
- Dutch Oven Honey Glazed Carrots
- Parmesan Zucchini Chips
- Slow Cooker Milk and Honey Corn on the Cob from The Magical Slow Cooker
- Steamed Dutch Oven Asparagus
- Bacon Bleu Cranberry Brussels Sprouts from The Complete Savorist
- Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli from The Complete Savorist
- Slow Cooker Cheesy Jalapeño Corn from The Magical Slow Cooker
- Maple Thyme Roasted Carrots from The Complete Savorist
- Steamed Corn on the Cob
- Sautéed Spinach from The Complete Savorist
- Tangy-Sweet Green Beans from The Complete Savorist
Dutch Oven Peppered Bacon Meatloaf
- 4 qt. Dutch Oven
- 2 lbs ground beef I used 85%
- 1 lb ground Italian sausage I used mild
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- ⅓ cup celery diced (2 ribs)
- ½ cup panko
- 2 tbsp parsley chopped
- ½ tsp salt to taste
- ½ tsp pepper to taste
- ½ tsp granulated garlic to taste
- 8 slices thick cut peppered bacon
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F
- Crumble the beef and sausage into a large bowl (see notes).
- Add the eggs, onions, celery, panko, parsley, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic to the meat in the bowl.
- Mix well until combined.
- Add the meatloaf mixture to the Dutch oven, making sure it is even and smoothed.
- Lattice weave or layer the peppered bacon over the top of the meatloaf; trimming if neccessary. Use trimmed pieces to fill in any holes or gaps.
- Cover and bake for an hour and 15 minutes.
- With 15 minutes remaining, remove the lid, allowing the bacon to crisp up.
- Once done, remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
- Serve and enjoy.
This post has been updated from its original May 16, 2017 publishing with new content, photography, and clarified recipe card.