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RBR Tailgating: Harlem Meatloaf

Sometimes night games in Baton Rouge get boozy even before the night of the night game in Baton Rouge.

Dateline: Baton Rouge, mid Friday morning.

I feel terrible. My wife’s family plied me with wine and liquor and then more wine last night. If I’m being technical there was also a not inconsequential amount of wine had as the night wrapped into the wee hours of this morning.

As conversations involving alcohol often are, ours was peppered with frequent admonitions about how impolitic it was to discuss politics followed by a discussion about politics. I hate this election year. I hate it so damn much. Still, I hold out hope that my chosen candidate will prevail.

But it wasn’t all politics. There was a great deal of football discussion betwixt myself and my corn-dog loving beloveds to kick off my biennial visit. I gleaned some interesting insight into the minds of our Western Division rivals. In vino veritas and all that. It was like the opponent Q&A but without all the thinking and considering.

First, a bit of housekeeping.

There is no recipe to opponent tie in this week. If you are the person that tells me every year to do Bar-B-Q pork for the Arkansas game or the one that insists that we do alligator sausage before we play Florida or the one that wants Chinese food before we play Mississippi State, I’m sorry. I get that you want a sense of relevancy, but if your aim is to complain you better start your ill advised refund request with the phrase “Here’s a fistful of aspirin.” or “I made you this spicy Bloody Mary so we could have a little chat.” because I’m hung over and grumpy.

This week’s recipe is a riff off of Harlem meatloaf, traditionally done with spicy pickle relish and a ketchup glaze. Back in September Florabamaboy requested a meatloaf recipe in the comment sections of the Ole Miss tailgate post and I thought that was a splendiferous idea. I didn’t realize until the last minute that this week was our final away game of the regular season so in keeping with the grill at home games/full kitchen at away games theme of this series and realizing the difficulty of grilling a meatloaf I figured the time was now.

If you absolutely must have an LSU related meal, revisit last year’s entry here and be sure to check out Glenriven’s variation in the comments. It looks awesome.

Back to the veritas stuff from the wine.

I’ll admit to drawing from a small sample size, but it seems to be the current wisdom among Tiger fans that the key to the game for LSU lies in the ten yard range pass. If Etling can consistently hit those passes, that will keep our defense from crowding the box and allow Fournette to run free.

In my thinking we have no need to crowd the box given our defense so I asked how they figure to stop Allen et al. How do they propose to regularly give Etling time to make anything but quick throws? No one in the room knew who Jonathan Allen was. I predict a long night for LSU fans.

Jalen Hurts came up a few times, but their biggest perceived threat is OJ Howard. Don’t get me wrong, I love OJ, but he’s remarkable underused as a scoring threat. I hope they are right though. I’d love to see him remind us how remarkable he is at things other than blocking.

Unsurprisingly the LSU head coach search came up. Orgeron (apparently aka Cookie Monster around these parts) was objected too in principle as an interim to non-interim head coach rarely works out well, but he is gaining ground among the fan base. The shine has rubbed off of Herman. Don’t bring up Jimbo Fisher unless you’re in the mood for an “f-no” filled invective. I’m told that Alleva should be fired if he doesn’t at least talk to Brilliantly Running The Damn Ball Lane Kiffin. I’m also told that Alleva should be fired period. Les is fondly remembered as a person, but the consensus seems to be that he and his four offensive plays had worn out their welcome in Death Valley.

If any of you are planning to be at the game, drop me a Tweet. I’ll be there wandering from tailgate to tailgate with cousins and brothers in-law starting around four or five. Knowing the crowd I’m travelling with, I’ll be garrulously into earning Sunday’s hangover.

Harlem Meatloaf

1 ½ lbs. ground chuck

½ lbs. Italian sausage, out of their casings

1 handful Italian parsley, chopped

1 egg

1 tbsp. Tabasco sauce

1 tbsp. Worstershire sauce

½ cup bread crumbs

½ medium yellow onion, diced

amount equal to the yellow onion of dill pickles, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

bacon as needed

salt to taste

Put all the ingredients except the bacon in a bowl.

Mix thoroughly.

Lift the mixture out of the bowl and put into a 9”x13” pan and form into a bun.

If you aren’t using the ubiquitous 9”x13” brownie/lasagna Pyrex style pan that’s pictured do make sure that whatever you are cooking with has fairly high ridges. I use ground chuck because it has a decent amount of flavorful fat. The side effect of that flavor is that it will give off a lot of grease and you don’t want that dripping all over your oven.

Put the meatloaf an oven pre-heated to 400˚ and cook for 30 minutes.

The next step is going to be controversial. I don’t like ketchup on my meatloaf. It’s cloying and too sweet. If you care to disagree feel free, but let me first refer you to the fistful of aspirin/spicy Bloody Mary section of this post.

The problem is that the traditional ketchup and Worstershire mixture provides very nice moisture. I don’t want to lose that. My solution is to jettison the sugary red stuff and drape the partially cooked loaf with thick cut, fatty bacon. Just cut the slices and layer them as needed until the top is covered and slide it back into the oven for another twenty minutes. As it cooks, the bacon fat will melt and baste the beef and sausage mixture. It’s really damn good.

I don’t care how good you are with a camera, there’s no way to not make this look like a trilobite.

I had it with dangerously cream and butter filled mashed potatoes and simple blanched green beans. That was copacetic, but it’s meatloaf. It will go with damn near any veg/starch combo you can think of. A slice of cold meatloaf between two pieces of toasted bread is pretty spectacular too if you have any leftovers.

Since I started writing this I’ve had two beers. Don’t judge my day drinking. I’m on vacation. I’m also feeling much less grumpy, veering on magnanimous. So in that vein, enjoy, Roll Tide, no injuries, and do not geaux Tigers.