Thursday, October 26, 2017

Zombie Meatloaf – Better Than Brains

After seeing various versions of this Halloween-themed, zombie meatloaf on social media over the years, I decided it was time to post my very own. I’ve seen many approaches to this; such as covered in “blood,” or mummified in strips of pastry, but the ones wrapped in bacon always looked the most realistic, and the most appetizing.

Ironically, “appetizing” is the last thing you want this to look like, but if we’re going to do some kind of gimmicky, holiday recipe, it might as well taste great, and this most certainly did. It’s been a while since I posted a meatloaf recipe, and I was very happy with how this one came out. You can use a food processor make chopping the mushrooms a bit easier, but don’t leave them out. They add a lot of flavor, as well as help keep the meat moist, and tender. 

By the way, if you're trapped in one of these households where certain people don’t eat mushrooms, add them anyway, since they’ll never be able to tell they’re in there. Then, next week, after they’ve eaten this, and loved it, you can come clean. Trick or treat, indeed.

Having said that, this zombification will work with any of your favorite meatloaf recipes, and you won’t be hurting my feelings. Much. Regardless of what you use, I really hope you give this fun-to-make, even funner-to-eat, zombie meatloaf a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 8 large portions:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup diced celery
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
8 ounces brown mushrooms, chopped fine
3 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 pounds ground beef
3 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
1 large beaten egg
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 pound strip bacon for  zombie “facial muscles”
1 onion for eyes and teeth

- Bake at 325 F. for about 1 hour, or to an internal temp of 155 F.

- I went for a realistic muscular look, but if you’d rather have something that looks like crispy bacon, go ahead and put foil over the eyes and teeth, and pop this under a hot broiler, until it looks just right.

- Serve with “blood sauce,” which is made with equal parts SFQ bbq sauce and ketchup, spiked with hot sauce.


Unknown said...

Is there something I can replace the mushrooms with that will keep the texture and/or flavor close to the same? My husband is very VERY allergic to mushrooms.

Unknown said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAA!!!! I LOVE THIS!!! I'm not hosting a Halloween party this year, but I'm bookmarking this for next year. Does anyone else think this zombie meatloaf kinda looks like Large Marge from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure? My Halloween decorations resemble a haunted Pee-Wee's Playhouse, so this recipe is so freaking perfect for me!

Danbs1217 said...

Hehehe. This is so going to be Sunday dinner. Thanks, Chef John.

Unknown said...

This looks awesome, Chef! I’d love to make this for an office potluck. Any ideas on how I could make this the night before and then reheat it for lunch the next day without it getting too dry and over cooked? I’ve made a number of your recipes in the past, and they are always a HUGE hit! Keep up the excellent work.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Fantastic! I love it!

Matt said...

I made "this" tonight. I made the eyes by slicing an unpeeled onion. The skin acted to keep the onion eyes from Browning. I peeled the skin off and put on black olives slices for eye irises. It looked great.

Unknown said...

Scary good!

Unknown said...

We made this tonight. Followed the directions (didn’t have thyme).
Had to pin down some bacon pieces while roasting but came out as expected. Very delicious!! Wish I could add my pictures!

Larry W said...

Nice job Chef John. Speaking of meatloaf. I have made your "prison style" meatloaf many times. My family loves it. Every time I make it though, it comes out of the oven with a crevice the size of the San Andres Fault running across it. Any idea how I can prevent that?

Larry W

Unknown said...


Miranda's Bariatric Journey said...

My husband and I have been a little obsessed with your page recently. Just tried this meatloaf at home and it was delicious, although I did not dress mine like a zombie. We have also recently tried your Strawberry Jam which turned out perfectly. Not too sweet like most jams. And your sausage roll are also one of our family favorites. We just keep trying recipe after recipe and wanted to let you know how much we appreciate the time and effort you put into showing simple non chefs like us how to make delicious and fun things. My food wish is actually Spectulaas cookies, they are a dutch cookie that I have never been able to master. They are either too hard and I can't eat them or not spicy enough, they are a spice cookie after all and I should be able to taste the Cardamom and Mace. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong and thought maybe you could perfect them and show me how it's done. But if you decide not to that's fine too. We are enjoying each and every installment of your blog, AND going through the back log of blogs we missed before we discovered you. Thanks Chef John! Love, The L Family. P.S. My husband is always tickled by your silly puns on each episode, don't ever stop trying to be funny we love it :-)

Matt said...

I made this with ground chicken. I cut the "eyes" from the onion without peeling it. I left the onion skin on the eyes during cooking. That worked as well as foil would in protecting the onion from browning. I removed the onion skin after the meatloaf was done cooking. Instead of cloves, I added sliced black olives for the eye pupils.

Charging Rhino said...

On the whole, I'd rather have the Salami scarbread.

Unknown said...

I used prosciutto for this. It resulted in a crisp exterior without overcooking the meatloaf.

PhillyBear said...

Very cute. I mean, uh, terrifying! I think that from now on, all of my meatloaves will have faces wrapped in bacon.

Unknown said...

I really liked this when I made it but could I make it on the grill as well? Indirect heat and smoke?

Mike said...

This was amazing and I shared the recipe with my friends! Because I'm lazy (and was pressed for time), I pulsed chopped onion, celery, and mushroom in a food processor. Based on other meatloaf recipes, I used 1 pound beef, 1 pound veal, 1 pound pork. After 1 hour I pulled it out of the oven and took the required facebook/pinterest photo, then stuck it under the broiler for 5 minutes. It was absolutely fantastic and will be a new Halloween tradition. Thank you!

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

Greetings Chef! I'll has ya' knows dat' I done cooked me up dis' here meatloaf and it was delicious! Even my finicky-lady friend didn't complain about me not cooking up her dense oats-laden meatloaf. And I now be a mushroom convert too! Thanks! You're da' best!

Unknown said...

excellent ....mine did look alot like Large Marge , but it tasted great and the sauce is awesome too

Mike said...

This is a PERFECT recipe for a Halloween party. Creepy, unique, and of course delicious. The guests loved it!