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Ina Garten's Clever Trick For A Moist And Tender Meatloaf

Ina Garten at 2023 NY Public Library event Library Lions Gala
Ina Garten at 2023 NY Public Library event Library Lions Gala - Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Some classic comfort meals, such as beef meatloaf, are misunderstood and are sometimes even regarded with a sartically-raised eyebrow. Well, if your only experiences with meatloaf have been less than stellar, don't write them all off as such. Meatloaf can be a hard dish to get right, so you may just have never had one that's as good as it can be. If that's the case, then try switching up the way you prepare this classic comfort, so it takes on some extra juicy and savory qualities -- the kind that this dish should really be known for.

To learn how to make the perfect meatloaf, the pros do it best, and Ina Garten has an especially clever trick for a moist and tender meatloaf. When baking this dish in the oven, Garten suggests placing a pan filled with water on the rack below your meatloaf while it cooks. This simple addition surrounds the meatloaf with steam, which prevents it from drying out. Instead, it will become especially moist as it soaks up all that extra vapor.

Read more: 11 Of The Best Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay

How To Try Out This Meatloaf Hack For Yourself

A meatloaf in an oven
A meatloaf in an oven - Africa Studio/Shutterstock

This moist meatloaf tip is not just life-changing, it's also super easy to do. To try out this hack for yourself, simply fill a baking pan of your choice with warm to hot water and stick it on the rack underneath your meatloaf while it's cooking. Any size pan will work -- even a muffin pan with each muffin hole filled up. As long as you've got water in the oven, you're good to go.

Not only does this tip help your meatloaf stay moist and prevent the fragile dish from cracking up on top, but it also ensures meatloaf is baked evenly without cracking thanks to all that delightful steam. Baking a meatloaf without the addition of this water can make for a tough, rubbery end product, so you might want to add Ina Garten's hack permanently into your recipe. If you haven't had a meatloaf prepared this way yet, add it to your to-do list.

Other Ways To Ensure Your Meatloaf Stays Moist

A bowl of ingredients for meatloaf
A bowl of ingredients for meatloaf - Warren Price Photography/Shutterstock

Adding an extra dish into the oven is an easy way to prevent a meatloaf from drying, and it's far from the only precaution you can take. Another way to achieve a juicy end-product starts with the kind of meat you choose to use in the first place. When it comes to meatloaf, the meat should have some fat in it, as this will melt as it cooks and keep the meat moist and flavorful. This is why many chefs opt to use ground beef chuck for their meatloaf, which is usually made up of about 20% fat. What ingredients you use are up to you; just make sure some fat is present, or you will have to infuse the dish with moisture by other means, such as using hydrated breadcrumbs or milk.

Even if you do use a meat with lots of fat, don't skimp on the hydrating additions. From Worcestershire sauce to ketchup to mustard, these sauces are an integral part of keeping a meatloaf flavorful, so don't be afraid to use them. Lastly, as you're shaping your meat, don't over-mix the ingredients. Packing the ingredients too tightly will mean you have to heat your meatloaf for a longer time to cook the middle. This makes your meatloaf vulnerable to over-drying, so mix the ingredients until just combined and stop.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.