The original recipe was called Lemon Barbecued Meat Loaves and the sauce used allspice and cloves. I changed it over the years and now use Chinese 5-spice as I like the slightly licorice flavor that it provides. If you don’t like or can’t find Chinese 5-spice, I have given the amount of allspice and cloves to use.
I like to use a whole grain bread. The recipe says stale bread. Any bread over a day or two old is fine. The crusts may be removed from the bread slices before dicing if desired.
You can make the meatloaves and sauce ahead, cover and refrigerate them and bake them at dinnertime. Add about 10-15 minutes to the cooking time.
The recipe suggests placing lemon slices on top of the meatloaves. It makes a nice garnish, but I don’t usually bother.
The sauce is good spooned over mashed potatoes, noodles or rice.
5-Spice Barbecued Mini Meat Loaves
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
4 slices stale bread, diced
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. minced onion
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2 t. seasoned salt
1 c. ketchup
2/3 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
2 t. dry mustard
1/2 to 1 t. Chinese 5-spice powder or 1/4 to 1/2 t. each allspice and ground cloves
6 thin lemon slices, for garnish, if desired.
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine ground chuck, bread, lemon juice, onion, egg and salt. Mix well and shape into 6 individual loaves; place in foil-lined 9x13" baking pan. Bake 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients except lemon slices and mix until smooth. Pour mixture over loaves and top each with a lemon slice; bake 25 minutes longer, basting occasionally with sauce from pan. Serve sauce over loaves.