Meatloaf with Blackberry Barbecue Sauce

March  8, 2010
7 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

I am not going to beat around the bush on this one. This meatloaf is the best—seriously. Growing up, I was never one for the meatloaf. I mean, what is the meatloaf anyway but a bread pan full of meat with ketchup slathered on top, a mix of vegetables, and breadcrumbs, right? Having grown, I have learned to love the meatloaf, in particular, the one I am going to discuss below. If you are truly looking for comfort, then come on in. —Dax Phillips

Test Kitchen Notes

For the best traditional meatloaf recipe, look no further. Daxphillips’ meatloaf hews closely to tradition, relying on the classic triumvirate of ground veal, beef and pork; a little bread and milk; garlic, onion and Worcestershire sauce. All are thoughtfully balanced, producing a savory, light-textured loaf. It's equal parts easy to make, tender as heck, and impressive for company. And who are we kidding? The standout here is the sauce, whose garlic, ginger and cayenne make sparks fly around the berries. You’ll want to eat the sauce by the spoonful—enjoy the snap of the blackberry seeds! A couple of pointers: We halved the spices, because we’re wimps. Start with half and adjust to your taste. And don’t opt for lean meats unless you want a dry loaf. Serve it with mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or sautéed greens. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Ingredients for the Meatloaf
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 pieces of white bread, crust removed, torn into small pieces
  • For the Blackberry Barbecue Sauce
  • 2 small onions, peeled, and quartered
  • 2 cloves of garlic, rough chop
  • 2 cups blackberries, thawed (if using frozen)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • generous pinch of salt
  • generous pinch of black pepper
  1. Make the Sauce: Add the above ingredients to a blender, and puree until nice and smooth. Add this to a small pot, and cook on medium to low heat for about 20 minutes. Stir, and remove from the heat. When you make the meatloaf, add the sauce to the top before baking, and spread on the plate before serving.
  2. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine all of your ingredients, with the exception of the bbq sauce. Get in there, get dirty and greasy from the meat. Once combined, add to your bread/loaf pan which is typically 5×9. Shape into the pan, then add your sauce to the top, roughly a half cup. Place in the oven for nearly one hour and 25 minutes.
  3. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let it cool for roughly five minutes. In the meantime, warm up more of the bbq sauce. Remove the loaf to a serving dish, and drizzle the sauce on the top. Serve with your favorite sides. I served mine with mashed potatoes. Trust me, this one is really delicious.
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30 Reviews

vashti December 8, 2022
Still making this, still loving this, like 10 years later!
mikermeals September 7, 2020
This was a fantastic recipe. We loved it! Just the right amount of heat.
Douglas B. July 22, 2016
I needed a BBQ sauce for my first ever pulled pork found this one. AMAZING flavor. I will use it on UGLY's Gluten free pizza crust tonight as well as I cannot eat tomatoes anymore.
Mlouise November 14, 2015
It is a great meatloaf BUT the blackberry barbeque sauce had a great second act on grilled quail!
Nats March 1, 2015
I realize I am late to the game but this was a fantastic loaf!! I served it with roasted cauliflower tossed in a fresh mint vinaigrette and it was a HUGE crowd pleaser!! Thanks for sharing!! Love love love the sauce…so creative!!
Dax P. March 2, 2015
Thanks Nats! Glad everyone enjoyed it!
Gotowanie G. February 28, 2014
The blackberry sauce for this recipe is unique and tasty! My meatloaf turned out a little dry but I think that is because I overcooked it. I served the leftovers the next day for brunch... I spread the sauce on toasted bread and topped with re-heated meatloaf and a lightly fried egg. It was great! Thank you for sharing!
Loves F. January 14, 2014
Finally made this! I added a big splash of cider vinegar to the sauce, to brighten it up and add some tang (which might be what some people below were missing), and I can't wait to use the remaining sauce on ribs or chicken wings!
Don R. December 19, 2013
I wasn't crazy about the blackberry sauce. The meatloaf ingredients themselves were great, although, next time, I'll soften the onion and garlic a bit before adding it to the meat. I added some grated carrot as well – even though my doing so got me closer to the author's hated "bread pan full of meat with ketchup slathered on top, a mix of vegetables, and breadcrumbs".
lighthouse6 October 24, 2013
I made this for dinner tonight - the meatloaf was good but under seasoned and really missing fresh herbs. I should have added and handful of parsley like I usually do. It's probably better to under season anyway and add salt at the table if needed. I love the blackberry sauce but next time I think I will add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste to add more depth to the flavor. I blended the berries alone first and pushed them through a strainer to get rid of the seeds - worked great. I did reduce the sauce but it did still break when baked. My kids liked it and I did add all the cayenne. Thanks!
Runar April 8, 2013
I made this tonight, veggie style using about 2/3 frozen veggie ground beef and 1/3 diced mushrooms. I put about a quarter of the cayenne in, because I was planning to feed it to my 14 month old and she loved it! So did her parents. Thanks!
Urbain D. February 16, 2013
Has anyone tried this with baby back ribs?
Urbain D. February 3, 2013
I made this last week and it is exceptionally delicious. Frankly addictive is more precise. I must admit I was skeptical the entire way through but when that sauce cooks in the oven it is really transformed. I am curious if you have tried this with pork or other meets or fish for that matter, maybe salmon? Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.
Thanks for sharing
lynx60489 January 8, 2013
I made this recipe for dinner yesterday and it was a slam dunk. I used equal parts veal and ground beef as my boyfriend does not eat pork and it was the best meatloaf I have ever eaten. I do agree with the suggestion in the A&M section to halve the spices in the blackberry sauce. I generally love spicy food but the ginger/cayenne combo was a bit much for me and I would prefer a slightly more mild sauce.

I served this with sauteed spinach and Michel Guerard's celeriac puree and it was a terrific meal. The celeriac puree was a delicious and healthy alternative to mashed potatoes (link for recipe below). Will be eating the leftovers for dinner tonight!
debplusthree March 1, 2012
I made this today, it was not only the best meatloaf I have ever had, it was fun to cook too! I am still finding blurbs of the beautiful blackberry barbecue sauce all over my tiny kitchen :) My 11 year old told me that it was amazing as well and I didn't even hold back on the spices! Thank you so much.
koreanist July 10, 2011
Amanda, shindig, nomnivorous, thank you -- they all sound just great. I'll try the one I can find the fruit for -- don't want any one of you to think I didn't like yours!
BigDaveSpoon April 14, 2011
Great meatloaf with an awesome twist. I found that straining the sauce to remove the seeds really made it feel more finished.
jimkay July 16, 2010
Blackberries are coming in down here. I thought I was being clever modifying a basic tomato BBQ sauce to incorporate the berries. Made a syrup from the berries with sugar and lemon juice first, then added that to a tomato based BBQ sauce coming together in another pot. Seperating the two gives you the chance to remove the seeds.
AntoniaJames August 25, 2010
Been wondering about dealing with the seeds here, as our local blackberries tend to have rather large seeds. Really like the look of this recipe, so I plan to make it my next meatloaf. Will try making the sauce with blueberries, too, while they're in season. Stay tuned . . . . . ;o)
MadebyMariko March 30, 2010
Well done Dax Phillips...and thank you for contributing such an easy, yet interesting recipe for the rest of us to explore! The blackberry sauce was a total hit in my mouth. You can see my final product here:
Kevin P. March 22, 2010
I gave it a go, and the results were dee-licious. I would consider, next time, letting the sauce reduce more before applying it as a kind of top glaze to the meatloaf, because it tends to break apart in the oven if it's still carrying much blackberry liquid.

Here's how it turned out:
Kelsey B. March 18, 2010
Great flavors - love the sauce accompaniment!