This ground venison recipe produces a homemade meatloaf that is so moist, so tender, and so flavorful, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven! Made the traditional way with eggs and milk but substituting crackers for the breadcrumbs and adding a zip of sweet Thai chili sauce it is the ultimate venison meatloaf recipe!
Is there anything more comforting than homemade meatloaf? I don’t think so! It’s filling and flavorful and easy as can be – if done properly! Follow my recipe for the perfect ground venison meatloaf results every single time!
Ingredients needed for this recipe:
- Ground Venison (or beef, if you don’t have or don’t like venison)
- Crushed Butter Crackers
- White Onion
- Spices (garlic and onion powder, seasoned salt, paprika, kosher salt, you know the drill)
- Stone Ground Mustard
- Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
- Brown Sugar
How to make homemade meatloaf
- Whisk together the topping. It’s made from ketchup, sweet Thai chili sauce, and brown sugar. Set it aside.
- Mix together the loaf ingredients. Just throw it all in a bowl and mix gently. Like you’re making meatballs. Too much mixing and it’ll be tough, but not enough and it will crumble apart.
- Press into prepared pan. That’s been layered with tinfoil. This not only makes cleanup easier but also provides little handles to easily lift the meatloaf out of the pan when it is finished cooking.
- Cover with the ketchup topping. A generous layer should do!
- Bake in preheated oven. For 45 minutes. Or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached!
- Let the meatloaf rest! Slicing into a piping hot meatloaf will make it fall apart. Remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 or so minutes. This not only lets the juices redistribute, but helps the topping firm up, too!
- Remove from the pan. The little tinfoil handles will help here! And this is also a great way to remove the meatloaf from any excess liquid that may be in the pan. This is especially important if using ground beef, which is much fattier than ground venison.
- Serve with mashed potatoes and peas. Because there’s just nothing more classic!
Tips for the perfect meatloaf
- Why add eggs to meatloaf? Eggs are a binder! Just like they hold cookie or cake batter together, the proteins in the eggs help to hold the meatloaf together too!
- How to tell when meatloaf is done. This can be hard. And a little scary! As with virtually all meat-based proteins, the internal temperature of the venison meatloaf should be at 165 to be considered fully cooked. Read the temperature using a meat thermometer, or, my personal favorite, an instant read thermometer! Also, carryover cooking is a thing! This means that the meat will keep cooking even after it’s removed from the oven to rest and the internal temperature will rise a few degrees. Because of this, I remove my meatloaf at around 162 degrees. It will rise to 165 in no time while it rests!
- What can I substitute for breadcrumbs in meatloaf? Unlike most meatloaf recipes, mine uses crushed up butter crackers instead of breadcrumbs! The addition of crackers is great because it not only adds flavor, but also helps to keep the meatloaf moist and tender. Speaking of moist meatloaves…
- What does milk do in meatloaf? Milk adds moisture! In addition to the eggs and the cracker crumbs, the milk will help to bind the meatloaf together and provide much needed moisture when baking. There’s nothing worse than a dry meatloaf! Beware, though, as too much milk will lead to a mushy loaf. And no one wants that!
But I sure do want another slice of meatloaf!
Venison Meatloaf Recipe
- 9x5 Loaf Pan
- Tin Foil
- Instant Read Thermometer
For the glaze:
- ½ cup ketchup
- 4 TBSP sweet Thai chili sauce divided
- 2 TBSP brown sugar
For the meatloaf:
- 2 pounds ground venison
- 1 TBSP minced garlic
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. stone ground mustard
- ½ small white onion diced
- 1 cup crushed butter crackers (about 8 crackers)
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- ¾ tsp. seasoned salt
- ¾ tsp. paprika
- ¼ cup whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and long sides of a 9x5 loaf pan with tinfoil and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, 3 TBSP of the Thai chili sauce, and the brown sugar until smooth and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatloaf, plus the remaining 1 TBSP of the chili sauce. Using clean hands, mix the ingredients gently to combine. Be careful not to overmix, as that will result in a tough meatloaf.
- Gently press mixture in prepared loaf pan. Cover with ketchup glaze and bake in preheated oven for 40 – 45 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165.
- Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes so juices can redistribute. Lift meatloaf out of pan using the tinfoil as handles.
- Slice and serve with mashed potatoes and buttered peas.
- Leftover meatloaf can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. Leftovers also make great meatloaf sandwiches!