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American chef Andrew Zimmern's grandmother's meatloaf sits atop mashed potatoes and gravy.
Grace Widyatmadja/NPR
American chef Andrew Zimmern's grandmother's meatloaf sits atop mashed potatoes and gravy.

My mother was quite adept at whipping up great family dinners in no time at all. One of her favorite dishes was that old stand-by, meatloaf. I’m not sure what her recipe was but I do know it involved a lot of bacon and catsup. Luckily for us, Chef Jerry Pellegrino knows quite a bit about meatloaf and is eager to share his ideas.

Jerry prefers to use 100% ground beef in his meatloaf, but he quickly admits that using a mix of beef, pork and veal is also a perfectly valid approach. He also feels that a long slow cook is preferable since it will help keep the meatloaf moist.

Jerry’s private recipe for meatloaf looks involved, but once you have collected your ingredients, it’s really quite easy.

The Basic Meatloaf
Meatloaf Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground beef, 85% or 90% lean
  • 1 med onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 ½ tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 ½ tsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground paprika

Meatloaf Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 ½ tsp white vinegar
  • 2 ½ Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions:Line a 9”x5” loaf pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients for the meatloaf. Mix well to combine.

Add meat to the loaf pan, gently press meat down and shape evenly and bake meatloaf at 350˚F for 50 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients together for the sauce. Spread the sauce over meatloaf then return to oven and bake additional 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature is 160˚F. Rest meatloaf 10 minutes before slicing. Drizzle with baking juices from the pan.

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Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.