There comes a time in a man’s life when he looks inside himself and asks, ‘what am I missing?’ Since I am surrounded by my friends almost 24/7 since I live with three of my best friends, I do not always ask myself that question… until recently. I was poking around on the internet, just stumbling across possible recipes I could use for a meal since I had exhausted my go-to meals (see previous blogs) when I found something that has forever changed the course of my life. Ok, maybe it is not that drastic, but it has forever altered my palate. I could make this easy on everyone and just post the link to what I found, but instead I am going to detail in this post what I found, the process of creating it, and the joy that it brought everyone upon eating it.
Instead of making everyone wait to see what I made, I will just come out and say that it was a meat log. Not just any meat log, but THE meat log. I have now recreated it a couple times since first trying it out so I feel confident sharing the secrets and maybe a few tips that may enhance the meat log.
- 2 pounds ground beef.
- Block of cream cheese
- Cheddar cheese
- Onions/mushrooms (diced and sauteed)
- Barbecue sauce
- Any seasonings you think would help the dish
The first step is acquiring ground beef… a lot of ground beef. Not a half pound, not a pound, but at least TWO pounds. I have gone up to four pounds, but I had to split it in half to make sure that it cooked throughout. So, you have your beef; what do you do with it? Add in your own spices and seasonings (bread crumbs, worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, etc– use your own creativity on this part). Then you mash it all together to form one big hunk of burnin’ meat.
Now, you want to divide that into two halves. One must be almost rectangular prism-esque aka thinner width wise and thicker length wise. For a suggestion, I would suggest, 12x6x3 inches for that. The other slab you really want to flatten out for reasons explained later. Not as thin as say a cookie sheet, but about an inch thick. Both of these you place on two separate sheets of aluminum foil.
After this is done, saute some mushrooms and onions or whatever you think would be good vegetables to put inside your meat log.
The next step would be to get a block of cream cheese (yes, a whole brick of cheese). Mush that together with some barbecue seasoning if you’d like (unnecessary) and spread that on the first piece of beef I described (the thicker one). Then, spread your saute’d vegetable mixture on top of the cream cheese mixture. Finally, shower this whole mixture in cheddar cheese (parmesan is good to, but I like cheddar for the colors).
When you have all this prepared and it is sturdy, you want to grab your other slab of beef. Take your aluminum foil in both hands and just flop it right on top of that whole mixture. Try to do it cleanly so you do not spill what is meant to be inside. When it is safely on top, you will have to mesh the sides together. You can either use a fork for this and criss-cross the edges or you can just get down and dirty and pinch it all together with your fingers. When this process is done, you should have your completed log which will look like a brain or a football (whatever your pleasure).
Now, slather some barbecue sauce on top of that bad boy (Sweet Baby Ray’s is a good call here). Do not be timid in this step.
This whole log should still be on a sheet of aluminum foil. Fold the edges around the log to make a makeshift bowl (this is for the juices to stay in and keep flavoring the meat). From here, I’m sure you could pop this in the oven, but I prefer the grill. Now, I have done this a few ways: I have used a small portable gas grill and cooked it directly over the flames which takes about 30 minutes and gives it a nice crispy bottom (don’t bother flipping it, it will just collapse on itself. The meat will cook throughout the log in that amount of time). I have also used a large charcoal grill and cooked it over woodchips which gives it a very nice smoky smell and taste. It still takes roughly the same amount of time to cook, but whatever choice you want to go with depends on your mood.
Once 30 minutes, give or take a few minutes, has gone by the log is done. It may be split at the top which displays the oozing cheeses inside (that’s ok). Cut it up however you like; I normally cut it down the middle and then cut it horizontally into eighths. Serve it with some grilled asparagus or some mashed potatoes (both, perhaps?) and your meal is completed. Now, it is time for you
A lot of this recipe can be determined by whatever you are in the mood for as mentioned above, but there are a couple extra things you can do:
1. You do not have to use solely ground beef. I made this again and used a pound of beef, pork, and lamb, and I think it turned out even better than solely ground beef. You are getting the flavors of each individual meat, and it holds together much better from what I’ve seen.
2. The amount of cheese really is up to you. A whole brick of cream cheese is unnecessary, but I think it adds a ton of delicious flavor (especially with some seasonings mixed in). Also, adding more cheeses into the middle could prove to be a lucrative idea. Of course, I’m a cheese man so I’ll eat cheese on anything.
I hope this log of meat brings you as much joy as it brought me and my friends. If you got to this point, I will post the original recipe where I found it if you would like to create it without reading through all my jargon. Enjoy!