by Tammy Taylor
RancherMan is an accomplished hunter, and as you all well know wild hogs are a destructive nuisance at our ranch. So it’s only natural that we have lots of wild pork in our freezer at any given time. I’ve written before about different things I cook with this meat such as pork ribs on the grill, Slow-Cooker pork roast cooked with red wine, and pulled pork BBQ sandwiches. Right now we have lots of ground pork due to RancherMan’s recent harvest of two wild sows on our property so I decided to make meatloaf with some of it.
I use the “Cook Once, Eat Twice” method of cooking where I load up the oven with an entrée, enjoy dinner with it one night & section out & freeze the rest for quick dinners at a later time. The beauty is by using this cooking method I’ve dirtied up preparation dishes only once, I’ve fired up the oven only once, but I’ve got the main entrée covered for about 10 or more nights. So into the oven 4 meatloaves went! RancherMan declared: “DELICIOUS!”
To make the meatloaf I pulled some of the ingredients I’d need out of our freezer – about 5 frozen halved tomatoes from the garden, some frozen eggs from our free-range flock and since I’m making 4 meatloaves at one time I brought out just over 4 pounds of ground pork.
I grated about 4 carrots and chopped 2 onions and a bell pepper and pressed 4 cloves of garlic & mixed it all into the pork along with 5 thawed eggs. I thawed the tomatoes and pulled the skins off and chopped the still-semi-frozen tomato halves into small chunks & stirred it all into the pork. Then I went out to our back porch & pulled a sprig of rosemary and a couple of stems of thyme. I brought them inside and stuck them into my coffee grinder that I use strictly for herbs and gave it all a whirl, then dumped the fresh herb powder into the meat mixture. I added about 2 teaspoons of prepared mustard, 2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and 2 teaspoons of salt.
After this was all fully mixed I added 4 cups of breadcrumbs I previously made from some rock-hard sourdough bread (yep, I don’t like to waste a thing). When everything was fully mixed I divided the meat mixture into four glass loaf pans, sloping the meat gently toward the edges to be able to easier drain off any fat. (although wild pork is amazingly lean and there shouldn’t be much fat to drain.) When the loaves were prepared I slid them all into an oven heated to 350 degrees.
I cooked the meatloaves for just over an hour. When they were fully cooked I pulled them out and spread some ketchup on the top. Then I slid them back into the oven for about 10 minutes.
After we enjoyed the meatloaf for supper I was able to section off single-meal serving sizes from the cooled meatloaves. I placed them in repurposed plastic bags from prior food purchases such as tortillas or frozen veggies. Those filled bags were placed into a zippered freezer bag and with a quick label to show what was inside. Finally into the freezer it all went.
I really love that I’ve been able to use the pork harvested by RancherMan to nourish us for several nights with one single cooking session. This meatloaf is savory enough to mask the fact that it’s not a traditional beef meatloaf and it’s versatile too. I can take some of this meatloaf out of the freezer and crumble it into spaghetti, or use some of the servings as the meat base for chili, or even add mexican seasonings & crumble it for tacos or burritos. That’s a lot of mileage from a few packages of raw pork!
Wild Pork Meatloaf (makes 4 loaves)
- 4 lbs ground pork
- 4 carrots, shredded
- 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 5 garden tomatoes, peeled & chopped (or 1 can chopped tomatoes)
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 4 cups breadcrumbs
- 5 eggs
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp prepared mustard
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Herb seasonings of choice (I like a couple of fresh stems of Thyme & a sprig of Rosemary)
Into ground meat add all other ingredients except ketchup and mix with hands until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Separate into 4 glass loaf pans and pat into a firm loaf, gently sloping to the sides. Bake in 350 degree oven for about an hour or until meat is brown & fully cooked. Remove meatloaves from oven & spread ketchup on top of the cooked loaves and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
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