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Cheeseburger Meatloaf with Balsamic Onion and Pickles

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Okay, this was my first attempt ever at making a full sized meatloaf and as you can see from my money-shot FAIL, I can definitely improve on the execution ha haaa!  I decided to go ahead and post what I made because I learnt from it.... and we're all friends here. :)


First up,  I got the Kamado going. :) Yes,  it has just had it's first big clean!




I started off with my caramelised balsamic onion - which began as one onion, per what is in the frying pan here .. but then I got greedy and decided that I wanted more because I love balsamic onion so much and it smelt so amazing! I believe this was my first mistake. :P


Caramelised Balsamic Onion

1 onion

Olive oil

Few splashes of balsamic vinegar


1. Start off by sauteeing the onion in the olive oil on a very low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon constantly so that it doesn’t catch.

2. After about 15 mins, the onion will have well and truly softened, releasing the natural sugars and turned quite dark - soft and caramelised, not burnt.

3. Add the splashes of balsamic and stir through for around 30 seconds whilst this delicious smell wafts around and then place the onion in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to add to meatloaf.




Next I prepared the sauce, which is basically just mixing together these ingredients:



½ cup ketchup

½ cup yellow mustard

1 tablespoon Dijon


I got the Kamado fired up to 350F / 180C




Then I got together the meatloaf ingredients in a bowl.


Cheeseburger Meatloaf


1 kg / 2.2 pounds good quality butcher beef mince

1 cup panko crumbs

½ cup milk

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 egg (beaten)

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ cup chopped dill pickles

¼ cup chopped cornichons for little crunchy nuggets (or just more dill pickles)

¼ cup of prepared sauce below

the prepared caramelised balsamic onion 

8 slices cheddar (I saw jalapeño cheddar at the supermarket and went for that!)




1. I put about 2/3 of the mixture  in the loaf tin.

2. I then indented a little channel inside where I put 4 folded slices of the cheese.

3.Topped this with the balsamic onion (my second error) and then covered with the remaining meatloaf mixture.  




4. I popped this into the Kamado for about an hour.




5. I then put a heap of sauce on top and returned to the Kamado for ten minutes.





6. I then topped with slices of pickles, some of the remaining onion and the cheese and returned to the kamado until melted.




In the background, whilst the meatloaf was in the Kamado, I cooked off some bacon which I chopped into little pieces to sprinkle over the top with some fresh parsley from the garden to serve.




I also,  thought that we needed some kind of potato / chips because we've been off the carbs, so I saw this as a perfect opportunity for a cheat night. Cheeseburger and chips are an essential combo. I parboiled some small potatoes that I then transferred to a small cast iron pan with some olive oil and dried oregano.





The salad was just a simple lettuce (self seeded in our garden) and tomato salad, which is what I would have had on my cheeseburger if it was in a bun -  but as a side, it came with a squeeze of lemon juice, sprinkle of salt and drizzle of olive oil.


(The lettuce is ready to pull out to share with neighbours and friends, so that we can prep for our summer crop).





As you saw from my money shot, I had a massive fail when doing the double spatula action to remove the meatloaf from the baking tin.




C’est la vie.  It was still really juicy and delicious. Topped with the chopped bacon and parsley from our garden.




The placement of the onion clearly created a point of weakness.




My husband thought it was hilarious, so he took lots of photos, including ones of me looking quite ridiculously disappointed … hahaaa!  


By the time this photo was taken, I had well and truly decided that I wasn’t going to post the entry and all I was interested in was my carbs - potatoes and glass of wine. hahaaa! :)




I’ve since had second thoughts because it is a really yummy recipe and what I would try differently next time would be to:


1. Stick with one onion and once caramelised chop it up into small pieces and then mix it up through the whole mixture, to avoid the 'San Andreas Fault of Onion' that I created by scooping it into the middle.

2. Copy @JohnnyAppetizer 's technique of putting some plastic wrap into the baking tin, build the meatloaf in there and then flip it out. Although, I think it could turn out with a more uniform crust if I put it on a wire rack inside a baking tray. That way, I imagine the crust would develop around the whole outside, giving the thing some strength and it would hopefully prevent a soggy bottom from baking in the juices.


Anyway, it wasn't very appetising to look at when we took it to our work for our lunches, but it did smell and taste yum. :)



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I also thought a cheeseburger meatloaf was a great idea. And as you said we are all friends. And this is about having fun and learning from each other. Which I believe you've accomplished. Well done Lydia! :good:

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Thanks for posting. As others have said how it tastes matters way more than how it looks. I like your idea of using the balsamic vinegar, I think I'll give that a try too.

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Looks great from here and quite delicious. Sometimes our plans don't always work out and I've also found that cooking a meatloaf in a pan can be problematic. After a very similar and somewhat greasy failure I now either cook it right on the grate or a rack on a pan. 

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I like your flavors.  As soon as I read "Cheeseburger" and "Balsamic Onion" and "Pickles" you had my attention.  Then I saw the package of jalapenos and you had my total attention.  And I like your garden, mine was a little sad this year.  New driveway=new garden=not much garden this year.  The space is there, but someone needs to get busy.

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