Gochujang Meatloaf

published May 26, 2023
Gochujang Meatloaf Recipe

Gochujang gives classic meatloaf a deeper, more savory element along with a spicy kick.

Serves4

Prep15 minutes

Cook1 hour 15 minutes

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Gochujang Meatloaf cut in a white dish
Credit: Irene Yoo

Meatloaf was the first iconic American dish I learned about. As a child of Korean immigrants, I grew up eating my mom’s homemade Korean food, full of bubbling pots of kimchi jjigae, tons of broiled croaker and mackerel, and tables crammed with banchan and fermented side dishes. This was the case until one night, when I was 16 years old, a friend invited me over for dinner. “My mom’s making meatloaf,” he said. Sure, I had heard of it while watching TV shows, yet I hadn’t realized until that very moment that it was an actual dish.

My friend’s mom’s meatloaf basically summed up everything we’ve come to associate with the classic dish. It was dense, bland, and dry. However, something about the dish’s concept really appealed to me, so I wondered how I could improve upon the recipe to make it my own.

Credit: Irene Yoo

For starters, I was inspired by fluffy meatballs and Korean dumplings. So to the meat mixture, I added onion, carrot, and celery, which I cooked down first to eliminate excess moisture as it bakes. I also add in finely chopped shiitake mushrooms, which contribute to an umami-forward flavor and a bouncier texture.

As for the ketchup, I swapped it out in favor of gochujang, a zippy condiment that’s popular in Korea. The brick-red fermented red pepper paste gives the meatloaf a deeper, more savory element along with a spicy kick. There’s only a bit of gochujang in the meatloaf itself; most of it goes into the glossy glaze that slicks the outside of the meatloaf. Skip the glaze if you’re serving to children or the spice-averse, or double up if you like your loaf extra saucy!

Gochujang Meatloaf Recipe

Gochujang gives classic meatloaf a deeper, more savory element along with a spicy kick.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the meatloaf:

  • Cooking spray

  • 1

    small yellow onion (about 6 ounces)

  • 1

    small carrot (about 2 ounces)

  • 1 medium stalk

    celery

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons

    gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)

  • 1 tablespoon

    soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon

    Worcestershire sauce

  • 4 ounces

    fresh shiitake mushrooms

  • 1/4 medium bunch

    fresh parsley

  • 1/4 cup

    grated Parmesan cheese

  • 2 cups

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 pound

    ground pork

  • 1 pound

    ground beef

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1/4 cup

    heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

For the gochujang glaze:

  • 1/2 cup

    gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)

  • 1/4 cup

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    toasted sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment as you complete it: Peel 1 small yellow onion and 1 small carrot, then coarsely chop. Coarsely chop 1 medium celery stalk. Add 4 peeled garlic cloves. Pulse until finely chopped, about 15 (1-second) pulses.

  3. Melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the vegetable mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and most of the moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

  4. Add 2 tablespoons gochujang, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, and stir until combined. Transfer to a large bowl and refrigerate until cooled to the touch, about 20 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, remove the stems from 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms. Place in the food processor (no need to clean) and pulse until finely chopped, about 10 (1-second) pulses. Pick the leaves from 1/4 medium bunch fresh parsley and finely chop until you have 1/4 cup. Finely grate Parmesan cheese until you have 1/4 cup if needed, or measure out 1/4 cup store-bought.

  6. When the vegetable mixture is ready, add the mushrooms, parsley, Parmesan, 2 cups panko breadcrumbs, 1 pound ground pork, 1 pound ground beef, 2 large eggs, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Gently mix with your hands until evenly combined.

  7. Transfer the meatloaf mixture to the baking sheet and shape it into a 9 by 5-inch loaf. Alternatively, line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap and pack it with the meatloaf mixture; invert onto the baking sheet, then remove the plastic wrap and loaf pan.

  8. Bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet 90 degrees. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers at least 150ºF, about 30 minutes more (it will continue to rise in temperature as it rests).

  9. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 500ºF. Make the glaze: Place 1/2 cup gochujang, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, and 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the glaze is bubbling. Remove the pan from the heat.

  10. Brush about half the glaze over the top and sides of the meatloaf. Return to the oven and bake until the glaze bubbles, 1 to 2 minutes. Slice with a serrated knife and serve with the remaining glaze.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The meatloaf mixture can be formed, covered, and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Let sit at room temperature while the oven is heating before uncovering and baking.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or the oven.