Mad Men’s Triumphant Return with Bacon Covered Meatloaf

Like nearly all Americans, both roommate Alex and I are huge fans of Mad Men. Since late fall, we have frequently mentioned hosting a party to celebrate the show’s undoubtedly triumphant return from a long hiatus and the start of the fifth season. At the time, March 2012 seemed so far away and we would only drop a few words here and there like, “we should make updated versions of 60s classics,” or “everyone should dress up like characters in Mad Men.” As the day drew near, Alex and I solidified our plans for this bonanza; we would indeed make everyone dress up in Mad Men inspired garb, and delicious and updated versions of 60s classics would be had. We invited a dozen or so of our dearest Mad Men loving friends and laid out the conditions for the evening: dinner from 7:00pm until 9:00pm when the show would start, no talking while the show is on, and yes, dressing up is required under penalty of exile.

Clams Casino from Tom & Shelley

Deviled Eggs, also from Tom & Shelley

That Sunday, I tapped into my inner Betty Draper and made two bacon covered meatloaves and Mothers Ruin Punch while Alex made green bean casserole.

A glass of mother's ruin punch

Alex's Green Bean Casserole

Not to be outdone, our guests brought over inspired dishes such as deviled eggs, clams casino, scalloped potatoes, spinach salad, bacon wrapped dates, and jello with cool whip.

EJ's scalloped potatoes

Needless to say, we had a feast at hand. All in all the night was a hit: everyone had a great time, the food was really amazing, and the first episode of Mad Men’s Season 5 was very good. To top it all off, I had an extra meatloaf to last me through most of the week! To all of this, I can only say Zou, Bisou, Bisou.

Jello & Cool Whip

To be honest, my parents separately immigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam in 1975 so everything I know about America in the 1960s is through textbooks, old newspapers, and other primary and secondary sources. All of that is to say, my parents did not exist anywhere near the world in which the characters of Mad Men inhabit. Growing up in a Vietnamese-American household, I never ate meatloaf (for which I am eternally grateful) and my family did not have stories of living through the Civil Rights movement (which, in a way, is very odd). After college I made meatloaf a handful of times mostly out of curiosity or at a friend’s request. I enjoyed these experiences enough but I never had the urge to make meatloaf for myself. Soon after Alex and I started talking about hosting a Mad Men party, I received an e-mail from  one of the many food related e-mail lists I subscribe with a recipe of bacon covered meatloaf. The recipe was provided by Marc Taft, the chef at Chicken and the Egg in Marietta, Georgia. After I read through the recipe, I knew this is what I would be making to celebrate Mad Men’s triumphant return to television.

Bacon Covered Meatloaf(adapted from Tasting Table & Marc Taft).
(Although I made two loaves of meaty goodness, the recipe below is just for one loaf.)

INGREDIENTS:

Meatloaf:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 cup panko

Glaze:
½ cup ketchup
1 teaspoon ground cumin
⅛ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
⅛ teaspoon hot sauce
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
4 slices bacon

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a medium skillet set over medium heat, heat the oil and cook the onion and garlic until soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, cooked onion and ketchup mixture, eggs and thyme. Add the pankoand mix well.
Make the glaze: In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the ketchup, cumin, Worcestershire, hot sauce and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
Lightly grease a loaf pan or baking sheet with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Form a log on the cookie sheet or in the pan and lightly coat the top with some of the glaze. Lay the bacon slices across the loaf lengthwise with the pieces touching each other. Place in the oven and bake until the meatloaf is firm, 1 to 1½ hours. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool before slicing. Serve with the remaining glaze.
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