Layered Meatloaf




Introduction: Layered Meatloaf

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This is meatloaf like you've never seen it before!
Using contrasting shades from two types of meat, a shape is embedded inside the meatloaf - creating a fun reveal when sliced. For this meatloaf, I used a cattle-shaped cookie cutter to make the beef inside and surrounded it with pork.

The great thing about meatloaf is that you can substitute ingredients to suit your tastes. The thing to consider is to have contrasting layers which will highlight the shape inside. I used pork and beef for this meatloaf, here are some alternatives:

Light layer ideas: pork, turkey (breast), chicken, tofu, white fish
Dark layer ideas: beef, turkey (thighs), bison, ostrich, offal

I made two separate batches for my meatloaf, here's the ingredients in each:

beef meatloaf
  • lean ground beef
  • mushrooms-diced
  • glob of tomato paste
  • roma tomato-diced
  • bread crumps
  • heaps of garlic
  • worcestershire sauce

pork meatloaf
  • ground pork
  • granny smith apple-diced
  • Italian parsley-minced
  • white onion-chopped
  • salt + pepper
  • 1 egg

Feel free to mix up any of the ingredients to suit your preference.
More meatloaf inspiration can be found here and here.

  • cookie cutter of your desired shape
  • loaf baking pan
  • cookie sheet
  • plastic food wrap
  • tinfoil
Let's get started!

Step 1: Beef Mix

The trick to getting the separate layers with a such a complex shape inside is to freeze the inner layer before assembling. The beef meatloaf ingredients were mixed, rolled out flat, cut with the cattle cookie cutter, and frozen for at least 30 minutes before assembling:
  • Combine tomatoes, mushrooms, bread crumbs, tomato paste, garlic with ground beef and mix thoroughly.
  • Spread beef mixture onto cutting board, cover with food film and press to a uniform thickness (about 10mm [0.5"])
  • Press cookie cutter completely through beef, carefully lay beef cattle cutouts on a cookie sheet covered with food film or tinfoil.
  • Repeat cookie cutting of cattle
  • Make more beef cutouts than you think you may need
  • Place cookie sheet in freezer until beef is frozen solid (about 30 minutes)

Step 2: Pork Mix

The outer layer of meat mix will not need to be frozen.
  • Combine onions, apple, Italian parsley, and an egg with the ground pork, mix thoroughly.
  • Store in refrigerator until ready to assembly meatloaf

Step 3: Pack Meat + Bake

After both meat mixtures are complete and the beef pucks are frozen, the meatloaf is ready to be assembled.

Grease the bottom and sides of your loaf pan. Then lay a solid foundation of pork mix on the bottom of the pan.

Using the cookie cutter, press the feet of the cow shape into the pork creating a trough the entire length of the loaf pan.

Next, stack frozen beef pucks into the trough in the loaf pan. Pack those beef pucks in there tight, and leave a little room on each end of the pan. You may need to substitute a few beef pucks to ensure adequate coverage inside the pan.

When the frozen cattle are placed, continue filling up the voids around the cattle with more pork mix. You may need to press the pork mix into the corners and into overhanging areas.

Once the loaf pan is full, cover entire loaf with tinfoil and bake in 350F oven for 1.5 hours. Your cooking time may vary depending on the shape/volume of your loaf pan, and your oven. Ensure beef centre is cooked completely through before eating.

Step 4:

After cooking, let meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Letting your meatloaf rest after cooking allows the flavours to intensify, and makes cutting perfect slices much easier. I decided to broil a layer of mixed cheeses on the top of my meatloaf, because cheese makes everything better. This step is optional.

Meaty thoughts for next time:

  • A food processor would have made for much more uniform consistency in both types of loaf, likely resulting in more cohesion between the disparate meats.
  • I had originally considered adding a layer of bacon around each frozen beef puck before embedding in pork, this would have enhanced the boundary of the beef layer more. Maybe next time.
  • Make a larger/second batch, as this eye-catching dinner was gone much to fast.

Have you made your own meatloaf? I want to see it!

Happy making :)

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    9 years ago



    9 years ago on Introduction

    Really cool. I've done hard boiled eggs in the middle of a meatloaf before and that created a cool contrast.
    Thanks for the sharing.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    that looks awesome!

    thank you for taking the time and making such detailed instructable!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    This is such a great idea and it looks delicious. I have been eating meatloaf (coincidentally) for the last two days (turkey and beef) and I will try this recipe and technique for sure the next time.

    I used to do a lot of 3D building with polymer clay, so just a hint; next time stack all of the cutouts together before you freeze them, then vertically position your cow on the counter and stuff all the crevices until you have a roundish cylinder, lower that into the meatloaf pan (or even cook it freeform on a cookie sheet with a lip) that has a layer of the surrounding meat on the bottom, then add the rest. That way you will keep the integrity of the shape inside.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    No, not yet. I love my own so much. I haven't gotten tired of it yet.

    The Rambler
    The Rambler

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome instructable once again. I will say, when I first saw the picture and read the title I thought it was meatloaf inside baked mac-n-cheese which sounds incredible and now I want to make it!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Beef interior was smart with the lower minimum internal temp than pork. Ninzerbean's suggestions will help keep that interior section cow-shaped and beeftacular.