During an episode of “The Barefoot Contessa” on Food Network, Ina Garten prepared a beef meatloaf that is both moist and succulent. Although it can be a simple recipe, meatloaf is prone to quickly drying out, lending to why people either love or hate it.
Garten began by choosing an 80/20 ground beef, which contains enough fat to liquefy as it cooks, creating the juices that keep the meat from drying out in the process. She added even more moisture to the meatloaf by sautéing onions (until soft and translucent), along with tomato paste, chicken stock, and Worcester sauce. As the onion cooks in the oven, it releases more water, further preventing any dryness.
As she formed a log on a baking sheet, Garten was careful not to overmix or compress the meat mixture, as she wanted to keep the meatloaf light. She added that the loaf should be even or else you run the risk of one part drying out while another continues cooking. Garten’s final moisture insurance tip was to place the pan containing the meatloaf inside of a larger pan of boiling water before moving both into the oven. Called a “water bath” – a technique also used when baking cheesecake or a delicate custard — this method creates a “gentle, even, moist heat in the oven” (per Panning the Globe). Now we just need the mashed potatoes!