As much as I love eating meatloaf, I am loath to prep it. The straight-from-the-fridge ingredients make my hands freezing cold when I work everything together.
Until now. I have a stand mixer, and I combine the ingredients in there for a quick mix. Done and done!
Hate Crumbly Meatloaf? Use Your Mixer
I’ve already been using my stand mixer for years to mix meat, but it was always for making sausage. In cooking school, we used giant mixers to combine the ground meat and seasonings together. I went on to make batches of sausage at home every now and then.
Really, making sausage is as simple as making meatloaf. None of this is rocket science. What the mixer does so well (besides making it easier to answer the phone on the fly without leaving grease marks) is working the mix as thoroughly as you prefer. If you don’t like handling raw meat or have arthritis, this technique will make your life a few small degrees better.
Why This Works
Meat contains a protein called myosin, which creates a sticky bind when minced or ground raw meat is kneaded. The more it’s kneaded, the stronger the bind. Think about how sausage is firm once it’s cooked, while a good hamburger is more loose and crumbly. You want to handle burger meat minimally to keep it tender, but sausage just isn’t sausage unless it has a somewhat firm bite.
To me, the ideal texture of meatloaf falls somewhere in between a sausage and a burger. When all of the meatloaf ingredients are properly mixed, it’s got a slightly tacky, sticky feel. That’s because of the myosin bonds that develop. While it takes a few minutes of working with your hands to get to this point–especially when you’re mixing a few pounds of meat–an electric mixer makes it happen super quick.
How to Do It
The best way to see this in action is to make our Easy Meatloaf recipe. But you can apply it to any meatloaf, meatball, or even pâté recipe.
Use your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and make sure all of your perishable ingredients (eggs, meat, dairy) are cold. This helps maintain a smoother mix.
Stick to low speed. I start by mixing everything except the liquid until just combined, and then with the mixer running on low, I slowly pour in the liquid. Then I let the mixer run until the mixture just starts to get tacky, about 30 seconds. It even makes a sticky sound as the mixer runs.
That’s it! For meatballs, which I prefer a bit more on the tender side, I stop short right after adding the liquid.
I’ve not tried this with a handheld mixer, but if it’s a sturdy model, it might work for batches under a pound or two.
Recipes to Try This Trick
- Classic Meatloaf
- Spiced Lamb Meatloaf
- Pâté Maison
- Swedish Meatballs
- Italian Meatballs