I’ve got a little bit of a cold, probably from taking out the trash naked. So when Jeff asked what I was making for dinner, and I said, “Harlem Meatloaf,” he heard “Meatlove.”

I’m sure he was expecting a carnivore’s fantasy, like the woven Bacon and Cheese Roll or a bikini made of prosciutto or spontaneously regenerating steak-flavored wallpaper, but this isn’t your typical meatloaf. It’s not a burger brick slathered in ketchup. This is a much tastier mix – ground sirloin and sweet Italian sausage, flavored with chopped onion and pickles, fresh parsley, sourdough breadcrumbs and a combination of ketchup, Worcestershire and Frank’s Hot Sauce that’s mixed with the meat and brushed over the top.

The meatloaf tastes (and slices) much better the next day, if you can wait. But if you need to try it as soon as it comes out of the oven – three cheers for gluttony! – you’ve got to try a Harlem Meat Loaf Sandwich. A slice or two of meatloaf, lettuce and tomato on sourdough. Maybe a little mayo to keep things together. It’s the best way to enjoy those alternating bites of sirloin and sausage, like playing Meat Roulette, where every bite’s a winner.

Meatlove? Oh, yeah. 

Harlem Meatloaf

From Matt Lee and Ted Lee’s “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook”

Serves 4

  • 1 pound ground beef, chuck or sirloin
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, cut from their casings
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco
  • 1/2 cup chopped sour dill pickles
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, preferably fresh, preferably sourdough
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Break the beef and sausage into golfball-sized hunks and place them in a large, wide bowl. In a second large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup ketchup with 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce. Pour evenly over the beef and sausage. In the same bowl, mix the pickles, onion, garlic, and parsley, then scatter the mixture over the beef and sausage. Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the top, then add the egg and the salt. With your fingers spread wide apart, gently mix the ingredients together in 6 to 8 gathering motions, until the ingredients begin to be uniformly blended.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a 9-X-13-inch roasting pan and pat it into a loaf shape. Bake for 35 minutes on the middle rack. The loaf will render some fat and the surface will begin to brown.
  4. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, and 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce together in a small bowl. Brush the glaze generously over the top of the meat loaf. Continue to bake until the glaze stiffens and darkens slightly, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  5. For optimum flavor, let cool to room temperature, tent the roasting pan with aluminum foil, and refrigerate for 24 hours. The next day, reheat the loaf, covered with the foil, in a warm oven.