View Poll Results: Meat loaf: Tomato sauce, or brown gravy?
Tomato-based sauce 78 74.29%
Brown gravy 27 25.71%
Voters: 105. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 08-03-2013, 10:18 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 59,088
Meat loaf: Tomato sauce, or brown gravy?

It seems meatloaf is available with two sauces: Tomato-based, or brown gravy.

The tomato sauce is usually 'baked on', in that it adheres to the top and sides of the loaf; though there is also a less viscous sauce that can be spooned over. Tomato-based sauce might be catsup, tomato paste, tomato sauce, or other sauce that is primarily tomato. The brown gravy is... Well, brown gravy. Or onion gravy.

Which do you prefer?




.

Last edited by Johnny L.A.; 08-03-2013 at 10:22 AM.
#2
Old 08-03-2013, 10:24 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 59,088
I grew up with the tomato sauce. Dad's meatloaf was made of two pounds of ground beef, one pound of ground pork, Lipton Onion Soup Mix, dehydrated onions, bread crumbs, and a couple of eggs, baked in the oven, covered in Hunt's tomato sauce, and backed until the sauce was cooked on.

I've only encountered meatloaf with brown gravy at buffets, and I've seen it on menus.

It's good either way, but I prefer the tomato sauce.
#3
Old 08-03-2013, 10:33 AM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,506
I grew up with gravy-and-tomatoless meatloaf, and was aghast when I first encountered the ketchup kind. But brown gravy goes better with the accompanying mashed potatoes.
#4
Old 08-03-2013, 10:42 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 59,088
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheChileanBlob View Post
But brown gravy goes better with the accompanying mashed potatoes.
You mean the accompanying au gratin potatoes.
#5
Old 08-03-2013, 11:04 AM
Isaiah 1:15 Screw the NRA.
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2003
Location: SoCal
Posts: 49,593
One of each. The wife grew up gravied, whilst I, raised properly, dined on tomatoed meatloaf.

Mashed potatoes, if you please. And enough meatloaf left over for sandwiches the following day.
#6
Old 08-03-2013, 11:10 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 59,088
Quote:
Originally Posted by silenus View Post
And enough meatloaf left over for sandwiches the following day.
Only for the following day?

Gotta have enough for a cold slice for breakfast, a sandwich later, and a plate for dinner -- for a couple of days at least.
#7
Old 08-03-2013, 11:22 AM
Creature of the Night
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 20,803
I have a slight preference for brown gravy, but really I'll go either way.

I like to use A1 as the tomato sauce, both in the meatloaf and baked on top.
#8
Old 08-03-2013, 11:22 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 39,934
I cover mine with the Alton Brown ketchup-based sauce that has cumin and honey in it, which results in a nice glaze all over.

1/2 cup catsup
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon honey

The glaze also goes well with the mayo I slather on my sandwich bread.
#9
Old 08-03-2013, 11:26 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: F.O.S.O.N.E.
Posts: 19,903
We have a fairly complex meatloaf recipe but it turns out fabulous results. The three keys are 15% fat overall blend; saltine crackers for the filler; baked on a raised rack so it doesn't boil in grease.

Spicy tomato-based glaze. As with many, the only place I've encountered a brown gravy is in diner and banquet servings.
#10
Old 08-03-2013, 11:28 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 10,609
Is it by the dashboard lights? then with ketchup/tomato based sauce is paradise.

If its being served on a hot summer nite, I prefer the brown gravy.
#11
Old 08-03-2013, 11:47 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Chicago Il
Posts: 9,680
Both.
I was raised on the ketchup glazed variety but a girlfriends' mother served hers' with a brown mushroom gravy. As much as I loved that girl I think I stuck around longer than I should have for her mother's Polish cooking.

Now days I do the ketchup glaze and serve the extra ketchup sauce and mushroom brown grave both along side.
#12
Old 08-03-2013, 12:54 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 44,430
I'm not entirely sure I've ever had meatloaf with a tomato sauce, so brown gravy was my vote.
#13
Old 08-03-2013, 01:29 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 11,640
Quote:
Originally Posted by simster View Post
Is it by the dashboard lights? then with ketchup/tomato based sauce is paradise.

If its being served on a hot summer nite, I prefer the brown gravy.
STOP RIGHT THERE!!!

Before you go any further....
#14
Old 08-03-2013, 02:14 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 10,609
Quote:
Originally Posted by notfrommensa View Post
STOP RIGHT THERE!!!

Before you go any further....
But I love meatloaf - I will love it forever - It makes me so happy, I could eat it for the rest of my life.

Last edited by simster; 08-03-2013 at 02:14 PM.
#15
Old 08-03-2013, 02:43 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: The Nekkid Pueblo
Posts: 20,551
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni View Post
I have a slight preference for brown gravy, but really I'll go either way.

I like to use A1 as the tomato sauce, both in the meatloaf and baked on top.
A1 makes Meat Loaf sing.

(YouTube video)
#16
Old 08-03-2013, 02:46 PM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Orlando
Posts: 3,927
You mean I can't pour gravy over the ketchup kind?
#17
Old 08-03-2013, 02:52 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 8,055
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lanzy View Post
You mean I can't pour gravy over the ketchup kind?
Gravy on ketchup?

I would do anything for loaf, but I won't... on second thoughts, make an obvious joke.

Last edited by Martian Bigfoot; 08-03-2013 at 02:56 PM.
#18
Old 08-03-2013, 03:05 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 23,789
I haven't seen meatloaf with brown gravy before. It sounds good. Anything is better with gravy.

My mom made it with tomato paste smeared on top. I prefer using ketchup on top or even just omitting it altogether.

We use the recipe on the Quaker Oats box. Ground meat, uncooked oats, tomato juice, dried onion, egg.

I've never used A1 in a meatloaf before. I'll try it next time.

We freeze slices and thaw for sandwiches.

Last edited by aceplace57; 08-03-2013 at 03:07 PM.
#19
Old 08-03-2013, 03:31 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 39,934
Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
We use the recipe on the Quaker Oats box. Ground meat, uncooked oats, tomato juice, dried onion, egg.
You're missing out on killer loaf with that recipe. I use ground beef and ground lamb, onions and carrots and garlic, a bit of cayenne, a bit of cumin, egg, crumbs, salt, etc.
#20
Old 08-03-2013, 03:39 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 59,088
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
You're missing out on killer loaf with that recipe. I use ground beef and ground lamb, onions and carrots and garlic, a bit of cayenne, a bit of cumin, egg, crumbs, salt, etc.
I've had bad meatloaf, and I've had good meatloaf. I agree that the Quaker Oats recipe sounds a bit bland, but I think it's about what you're used to. Some people might think dad's recipe sounds awful. I think his was the best (in spite of the effect the dehydrated onions had on the atmosphere a few hours later).

Hm... Maybe I'll make meatloaf sometime in the next few days.
#21
Old 08-03-2013, 03:43 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 24,534
Ketchup. Not tomato sauce.
#22
Old 08-03-2013, 04:08 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Detroit (ba)Rock City
Posts: 4,620
I can't choose, we like both. I do my pot roasts in a crock pot and make tons of gravy from the awesome juices. Once cooled, I save a quart freezer bag that subsequently gets pulled out to accompany meatloaf. If I don't have any gravy reserves, we do the tomato-y glaze instead.
#23
Old 08-03-2013, 04:43 PM
Doltish Snackhound
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Somewhere fictional
Posts: 11,045
Brown gravy for me. That's how my mom made it, and meat loaf is one of the few things I can actually make on my own (I fail as a cook). We usually use mushroom gravy, with extra ones tossed in because we both like mushrooms.
#24
Old 08-03-2013, 05:16 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 385
I voted for the gravy, but don't really care for either.

The best thing to do for meatloaf is to bake it on a flat pan, preferably on a rack, so it doesn't turn into a soggy greasy mess.

The second best thing is to use good-quality pork sausage (homemade if possible) to make up half the quantity of meat.
#25
Old 08-03-2013, 06:12 PM
Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 7,772
Between the two, it's definitely brown gravy! Yum! I do not like the baked on tomatoey stuff at all.

We don't usually have either at home. We just cook it and then dip the bites in a bit of ketchup as we're eating it.
#26
Old 08-03-2013, 06:25 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
I've had bad meatloaf, and I've had good meatloaf. I agree that the Quaker Oats recipe sounds a bit bland, but I think it's about what you're used to. Some people might think dad's recipe sounds awful. I think his was the best (in spite of the effect the dehydrated onions had on the atmosphere a few hours later).

Hm... Maybe I'll make meatloaf sometime in the next few days.
I think the whole point for me is that meatloaf is sort of bland. That is: it tastes like meat and sauce. It's comfort food! That said, my basic meatloaf recipe is similar to Quakers: meat, oats, egg. Sauce is ketchup, yellow mustard and brown sugar mixed. And now I want meatloaf. Guess I know what's for dinner!
#27
Old 08-03-2013, 06:49 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Western Reserve
Posts: 8,381
Gravy for hot meatloaf, with mashed potatoes.

Ketchup for cold leftover meatloaf sandwiches.
#28
Old 08-03-2013, 07:38 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,576
I top mine with bacon strips and glaze with ketchup.

My goofy SIL puts boiled eggs inside, lined up in a row so every slice has an egg slice in the middle of it. WTF? Meatloaf Surprise? No sauce. And no flavor.

Last night I was reading about the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO and their specialty of the house is elk, buffalo and pork meatloaf with a mushroom gravy for $22. a plate. Yum.
#29
Old 08-03-2013, 08:13 PM
Charter Member
Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 77,448
Ketchup-based sauce, glazed on, with more liquid after it's sliced.

Sadly, I don't have the recipe for my favorite meatloaf. And even if I did, I'd have to adjust it a good deal, since the original recipe was for about 200 servings.
#30
Old 08-03-2013, 08:16 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Somewhere in the Potomac
Posts: 32,879
Tomato-based barbecue sauce.
#31
Old 08-03-2013, 11:27 PM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Flatlander in NH
Posts: 25,528
Quote:
Originally Posted by simster View Post
Is it by the dashboard lights? then with ketchup/tomato based sauce is paradise.

If its being served on a hot summer nite, I prefer the brown gravy.
I used crushed matzah as the bread in my meat loaf. Because, you know, leaven can wait.
#32
Old 08-03-2013, 11:38 PM
Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Cloud Cuckoo Land
Posts: 28,738
I have never had less trouble choosing on a poll; like French fries, meatloaf exists solely as a vehicle for ketchup. It's not that brown gravy is bad on meatloaf. It's simply unimaginable, and that liter of ketchup I bought tonight isn't going to eat itself.
#33
Old 08-03-2013, 11:45 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Moscow/Toronto
Posts: 15,605
My favorite tomato-based glaze is just plain ketchup mixed with an equal amount of Muscovado real brown sugar. Spread it all over the top and sides while the meat loaf is in the oven and then spoon on as needed when dining.
#34
Old 08-03-2013, 11:48 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Frogstar World B
Posts: 14,087
Gravy on mashed potatoes? E Give me butter any day.
#35
Old 08-03-2013, 11:53 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 77,325
Quote:
Originally Posted by dropzone View Post
meatloaf exists solely as a vehicle for ketchup.
I thought Meat Loaf existed solely as a vehicle for Jim Steinman.
#36
Old 08-04-2013, 12:19 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Orygun forest
Posts: 4,606
Both should have been an option.

Proper meat loaf gets a tomato based glaze baked into the top while in the oven. Then when sliced and plated next to the mashed potatoes, gets brown gravy over the top.
#37
Old 08-04-2013, 12:20 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Bakersfield, CA
Posts: 306
BBQ sauce. I make a turkey, couscous, and veggie meatloaf with barbeque sauce.
#38
Old 08-04-2013, 03:06 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Elsewhere
Posts: 5,607
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elyanna View Post
BBQ sauce. I make a turkey, couscous, and veggie meatloaf with barbeque sauce.
Wow. I never imagined one food could be wrong in so many ways!
#39
Old 08-04-2013, 09:16 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 39,934
Quote:
Originally Posted by For You View Post
Gravy on mashed potatoes? E Give me butter any day.
Can't make gravy, eh?
#40
Old 08-04-2013, 09:27 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 34,205
I honestly prefer it plain, although the red sauce doesn't hurt that. Ketchup would, though. The sauce can't be that strong. You can make the red sauce with ketchup, but that can't be all that's in it.

I voted for gravy, though, based on the fact that, if you think need to put stuff on it, it's probably not very moist, and gravy is better for moistening. But I'd still rather have a moist one with no sauce.
#41
Old 08-04-2013, 09:48 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 10,609
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
I honestly prefer it plain, although the red sauce doesn't hurt that. Ketchup would, though. The sauce can't be that strong. You can make the red sauce with ketchup, but that can't be all that's in it.

I voted for gravy, though, based on the fact that, if you think need to put stuff on it, it's probably not very moist, and gravy is better for moistening. But I'd still rather have a moist one with no sauce.
yeah - they left off the 'plain' option from the poll...

I guess 2 out of 3 ain't bad....
#42
Old 08-04-2013, 10:14 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 59,088
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallas Jones View Post
Both should have been an option.
Quote:
Originally Posted by simster View Post
yeah - they left off the 'plain' option from the poll...
Intentional.

Meatloaf is usually one way or the other. I have never encountered anyone or any eatery that made meatloaf with both tomato-based sauce and gravy, or with no sauce or gravy. So those options, while occasionally used (apparently) are statistically insignificant.

It also makes for a more reasonable poll. To include all of the options I'd have to have something like this:
  • Tomato-based: Tomato sauce
  • Tomato-based: Tomato paste
  • Tomato-based: Tomato paste topped with tomato sauce
  • Tomato-based: Catsup
  • Tomato-based: Spaghetti sauce, meatless
  • Tomato-based: Spaghetti sauce, with meat
  • Tomato-based: BBQ sauce
  • Tomato-based: With brown sugar
  • Tomato-based: With mustard
  • Tomato-based: With brown sugar and mustard
  • Tomato-based: Sliced tomatoes
  • Tomato-based: Other (Specify)
  • Brown gravy: Brown gravy
  • Brown gravy: Mushroom gravy
  • Brown gravy: Onion gravy
  • Brown gravy: Other (Specify)
  • All of the above
  • Some of the above
  • None of the above (Specify)
  • Other (Specify)
  • Meatloaf! Only goons eat meatloaf!
  • You forgot ____! And you call yourself a cook!
So the poll is one type of sauce, or the other. Even if you think you like both types equally, you probably like one just a little bit better than the other.

So nyah!
#43
Old 08-04-2013, 10:38 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 44,430
While I did vote "brown gravy," and don't recall ever having meatloaf with tomato sauce, sauceless meatloaf was pretty common, too (although I'd probably put something like Tabasco on it, my dad might put A1, my brother ketchup, etc. Just standard condiments.)
#44
Old 08-04-2013, 01:19 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 39,934
I liked my mother's meatloaf, even though it was bland and cooked in a loaf pan. As my palate developed in later years, I started adding different things to bring out more flavor, and ditched the boil-in-grease method for roasting on a baking sheet for more browned surface. Still, a meatloaf sandwich on white bread with mayo and lettuce was always a treat in my sack lunch.
#45
Old 08-04-2013, 01:25 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Chicago's Northside
Posts: 2,651
Between the two, I don't recall ever having home made meatloaf* with brown gravy, only catsup. However, I'd expect it with the gravy in a restaurant setting.

The last couple times I've made meatloaf, this has worked great:
Ol' Man Jim's Meatloaf
The glaze here is mustard/vinegar based, a really nice change.

*one word or two? This thread isn't really clearing it up.
#46
Old 08-04-2013, 03:11 PM
Screwing the unscrutable.
Moderator
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Utah's Dixie
Posts: 4,762
Quote:
Originally Posted by gigi View Post
I used crushed matzah as the bread in my meat loaf. Because, you know, leaven can wait.
(golf clap) - Well done, gigi

Me? Brown gravy. Won't touch the tomato sauce type.
__________________
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.

Proud Member of the SDMB "99'ers"!
#47
Old 08-05-2013, 06:55 AM
Right Hand of the Master
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Chicago north suburb
Posts: 16,078
Can't vote, because my choice ain't there. Good meatloaf doesn't need any sort of gravy.
#48
Old 08-05-2013, 09:15 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Queens
Posts: 12,330
The only times I've had meatloaf with brown gravy, the gravy was lacking in flavor, so I gravitated towards a ketchup or chili sauce glaze. I usually don't do meatloaf in the summer, but I just saw a recipe for doing it on the smoker, so I may try that.

And I make jalapeno cheddar mashed potatoes. Not only do they not need gravy, but gravy would detract from their yumminess.
#49
Old 08-05-2013, 07:21 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,531
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
It seems meatloaf is available with two sauces: Tomato-based, or brown gravy.

The tomato sauce is usually 'baked on', in that it adheres to the top and sides of the loaf; though there is also a less viscous sauce that can be spooned over. Tomato-based sauce might be catsup, tomato paste, tomato sauce, or other sauce that is primarily tomato. The brown gravy is... Well, brown gravy. Or onion gravy.

Which do you prefer?
My recipe includes mixing tomato sauce into the meat pre-baking, so I normally serve it with brown gravy if I think that's necessary, which it usually is as far as DH is concerned. He says he just thinks any meatloaf, no matter who cooks it, needs gravy. Hmmph.
#50
Old 08-05-2013, 07:23 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,531
Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
I haven't seen meatloaf with brown gravy before. It sounds good. Anything is better with gravy.

My mom made it with tomato paste smeared on top. I prefer using ketchup on top or even just omitting it altogether.

We use the recipe on the Quaker Oats box. Ground meat, uncooked oats, tomato juice, dried onion, egg.

I've never used A1 in a meatloaf before. I'll try it next time.

We freeze slices and thaw for sandwiches.
My version is similar to yours, but I include dry onion soup mix instead of the dried onion. I've also been known to mix in shredded cheese.

The A1 idea sounds plausible.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:12 AM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: jews prison reheating fried fish dxm and benadryl dogs rib bones dark purple blood hot hob not unlike zinc nausea jagermeister commercial discworld bursar purple grimace convoy song meaning ref insults hepa filter asbestos cutting plywood at home depot why do dogs like to lick wounds what happens when you bleed out cum during lap dance car revving on its own while driving black bar over eyes what is terminal velocity of a human how to find underground water line how to keep birds away from dog food can catnip get you high