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Meatloaf may not top most people’s favorite foods list, but once you try this loaf of meat, it might just make a meatloaf lover out of you. “We always strive to be just a little bit different,” says Ryan Craig, owner of Berkshire Country Store in Norfolk. “Everyone offers meatloaf, but no one offers a loaf of meat. We took it one step further and created a sandwich that adds additional ingredients in the event you want to live life on the edge.”

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Chef Allen Dennis of Berkshire Country Store in Norfolk.

Craig and chef Allen Dennis, the mastermind behind the dish, work hand-in-hand reinventing classic recipes to create new flavor combinations. “We wanted to incorporate a sweet and tangy rendition of everyone’s grandmother’s standard dish. Meatloaf with a twist,” says Craig, noting their loaf features ingredients not often found in your everyday meatloaf. “We incorporate three tablespoons of brown sugar and barbecue sauce to provide a sweet and zesty extravaganza for your taste buds to enjoy. We amplify our difference by incorporating it into a sandwich which is served in a similar style to a bacon cheeseburger.” Typically served on a hard roll, the meat is topped with bacon, grilled onions, melted cheddar cheese, and a dollop of ketchup. If you prefer more of a main dish, Craig says it goes well with a mashed potato side and a variety of grilled vegetables.

Spending more than 25 years cooking for residents at a local nursing home, Dennis focused on comfort food. “He took his experiences there and built on them to provide guests with dishes that fill you up and make you feel good,” Craig says. “While his personality is reserved and humble, chef Dennis’ food speaks and even yells for itself.” 

Loaf of meat sandwich

Servings: 5 (recipe is intended for multiple sandwiches)

Time: 10 minutes to prep, 55 minutes to cook

INGREDIENTS

For the loaf of meat 

2 pounds ground beef (other ground meats can be substituted)

1 medium onion, diced 

1 large green pepper, diced 

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

3 eggs

1 cup bread crumbs 

3 tablespoons brown sugar

5 tablespoons barbecue sauce

For the sandwich 

½ pound bacon  

1 medium onion, chopped 

2 slices cheddar cheese

1 hard roll, toasted (or any bread of choice, such as a grinder or white bread)

Ketchup, to taste

DIRECTIONS

For the loaf of meat

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, add all ingredients and mix until well blended. Set aside.

Spray a 13-inch-by-9-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray and hand-pat the meat mixture into a flat layer in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

Chef’s tip: After 45 minutes, remove plastic wrap and foil and bake for the final 10 minutes for a crispy exterior while still maintaining a juicy and soft center.

For the sandwich

Pan fry or bake the bacon and sauté the onion.

Place a medium-size slab of the meat on the roll. Top with 2 pieces of bacon, a slice of onion and 2 slices of cheese. Place in the oven to melt the cheese, about 45 seconds.

Drizzle with ketchup and serve.

Pamela Brown is a former English professor, a freelance writer, a marketing/PR specialist for the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, and author of Faithful Love, her first novel that inspired a love of writing. Pamela resides in Connecticut with her daughter, Alexis, who makes her life an adventure. 

This article appears in the March 2021 issue of Connecticut MagazineYou can subscribe to Connecticut Magazine here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get our latest and greatest content delivered right to your inbox. Have a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com. And follow us on Facebook and Instagram @connecticutmagazine and Twitter @connecticutmag.