Meat loaf: Tomato sauce, or brown gravy?

It seems meatloaf is available with two sauces: Tomato-based, or brown gravy.

The tomato sauce is usually ‘baked on’, in that it adheres to the top and sides of the loaf; though there is also a less viscous sauce that can be spooned over. Tomato-based sauce might be catsup, tomato paste, tomato sauce, or other sauce that is primarily tomato. The brown gravy is… Well, brown gravy. Or onion gravy.

Which do you prefer?


I grew up with the tomato sauce. Dad’s meatloaf was made of two pounds of ground beef, one pound of ground pork, Lipton Onion Soup Mix, dehydrated onions, bread crumbs, and a couple of eggs, baked in the oven, covered in Hunt’s tomato sauce, and backed until the sauce was cooked on.

I’ve only encountered meatloaf with brown gravy at buffets, and I’ve seen it on menus.

It’s good either way, but I prefer the tomato sauce.

I grew up with gravy-and-tomatoless meatloaf, and was aghast when I first encountered the ketchup kind. But brown gravy goes better with the accompanying mashed potatoes.

You mean the accompanying au gratin potatoes. :wink:

One of each. The wife grew up gravied, whilst I, raised properly, dined on tomatoed meatloaf.

Mashed potatoes, if you please. And enough meatloaf left over for sandwiches the following day.

Only for the following day? :confused:

Gotta have enough for a cold slice for breakfast, a sandwich later, and a plate for dinner – for a couple of days at least.

I have a slight preference for brown gravy, but really I’ll go either way.

I like to use A1 as the tomato sauce, both in the meatloaf and baked on top.

I cover mine with the Alton Brown ketchup-based sauce that has cumin and honey in it, which results in a nice glaze all over.

1/2 cup catsup
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon honey

The glaze also goes well with the mayo I slather on my sandwich bread.

We have a fairly complex meatloaf recipe but it turns out fabulous results. The three keys are 15% fat overall blend; saltine crackers for the filler; baked on a raised rack so it doesn’t boil in grease.

Spicy tomato-based glaze. As with many, the only place I’ve encountered a brown gravy is in diner and banquet servings.

Is it by the dashboard lights? then with ketchup/tomato based sauce is paradise.

If its being served on a hot summer nite, I prefer the brown gravy.

I was raised on the ketchup glazed variety but a girlfriends’ mother served hers’ with a brown mushroom gravy. As much as I loved that girl I think I stuck around longer than I should have for her mother’s Polish cooking.

Now days I do the ketchup glaze and serve the extra ketchup sauce and mushroom brown grave both along side.

I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever had meatloaf with a tomato sauce, so brown gravy was my vote.


Before you go any further…

But I love meatloaf - I will love it forever - It makes me so happy, I could eat it for the rest of my life.

A1 makes Meat Loaf sing.

(YouTube video)

You mean I can’t pour gravy over the ketchup kind?

Gravy on ketchup?

I would do anything for loaf, but I won’t… on second thoughts, make an obvious joke.

I haven’t seen meatloaf with brown gravy before. It sounds good. Anything is better with gravy. :wink:

My mom made it with tomato paste smeared on top. I prefer using ketchup on top or even just omitting it altogether.

We use the recipe on the Quaker Oats box. Ground meat, uncooked oats, tomato juice, dried onion, egg.

I’ve never used A1 in a meatloaf before. I’ll try it next time.

We freeze slices and thaw for sandwiches.

You’re missing out on killer loaf with that recipe. I use ground beef and ground lamb, onions and carrots and garlic, a bit of cayenne, a bit of cumin, egg, crumbs, salt, etc.

I’ve had bad meatloaf, and I’ve had good meatloaf. I agree that the Quaker Oats recipe sounds a bit bland, but I think it’s about what you’re used to. Some people might think dad’s recipe sounds awful. I think his was the best (in spite of the effect the dehydrated onions had on the atmosphere a few hours later).

Hm… Maybe I’ll make meatloaf sometime in the next few days.