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life on the front range

Recipe: kimchi meatloaf

It was one of those weekends here on the Front Range, much like other winter weekends on the Front Range. For starters, we were treated to stunning sunrises.

fiery sunrise looking east toward boulder

sunlit snowy peaks

And then in true Front Range fashion, we bounced from a high of 11°F this past week to near 60°F tomorrow. You know what that means. Well, maybe you don’t know… but we do. It means wind. That kind of temperature shift around here brings the winds. I checked the forecast Friday night before going to bed and NOAA was predicting gusts up to 33 mph. That’s nothing for the Front Range – a breezy day. By morning, NOAA had “updated” the winds to 50 mph, which is considerably less pleasant for ski touring in the mountains. This happens so often that I have developed trust issues with NOAA. But as I said to Jeremy Saturday morning, “If I let the wind dictate when I go outside to ski, I’d never get to ski.”

putting climbing skins away and getting blasted by a ground blizzard

twila with the mountain we opted not to summit in the distance

The character of our winter winds is antagonistic, but also unpredictable. I know NOAA isn’t trying to intentionally lie to me, it just feels that way because they haven’t been great at predicting the wind around here. I don’t know that anyone is good at it. Living in the mountains, you learn to roll with what comes because moving away from the mountains isn’t an option. Mountain living is just that good. We worked Sunday until there was a lull in the winds in the late afternoon – our cue to grab the skis and drive to a trailhead. The trail starts at the local ski resort where throngs of families from the flats were up for their weekend fix. We left the commotion behind and quickly made our way up the trail. Once over the ridge, the hum of the ski lifts and the screams of happy (or terrified?) children gave way to the soft scratching of skis on snow. Tall conifers closed in around us as we moved deeper into the national forest.

it’s like a sunday stroll, but better

By the time we skied out to the top of the bunny hill, the resort had closed and three lonely cars remained in the parking lot below. There’s something fun about skiing down the bunny hill whether on my teles, my skate skis, or my touring skis. Once at the base, we high-fived, carried our skis to the car, and asked each other, “What do you want for dinner?” It’s always a good idea to have plans for feeding after skiing, otherwise we wind up eating out. This time, I had meatloaf already made – kimchi meatloaf.

ground beef, fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, cornstarch, black pepper, kimchi, panko crumbs, milk, onion, egg, garlic, ginger

mince the garlic and chop the kimchi

grate half the onion

grate the ginger

Meatloaf falls into that beloved category of winter comfort food along with its friends chicken pot pie, chili, and mac and cheese. However, meatloaf is one of the easiest meals to make. Mix. Shape. Bake. Despite our freakishly warm January, I was beginning to crave meatloaf, which I don’t make too often. And then I thought about changing it up with an Asian twist when The Google brought me to a recipe for kimchi meatloaf. Well, heck. I like kimchi. I like meatloaf. What’s not to love about kimchi meatloaf? It’s like a Venn diagram of tasty goodness.


start putting everything in a big bowl

pouring the milk

mixing it with your hand is best

If you don’t have panko crumbs, you can substitute regular bread crumbs. I swapped fish sauce for the salt, because I like what fish sauce does for hamburgers. And while I used all ground beef for this iteration, I know from experience with meatballs that a beef-pork combination would be just as delicious. Hey, it’s meatloaf. There’s room for lots of flexibility. Now if you are concerned about the level of heat (spice), it’s not all that spicy. There is a nice zip to it from the kimchi and the gochujang (in the glaze), but Jeremy thought it was fine and he’s considerably more conservative on the spicy scale than I am. What you can do is taste the glaze before using it – if it’s too much for you, then dilute the gochujang (or Sriracha, or whatever spicy element you use) with more of the other non-spicy ingredients.

for the glaze: maple syrup, gochujang, sesame oil, ketchup, mustard

place all of the glaze ingredients in a bowl

stir together until smooth

brush half the glaze on the uncooked meatloaf

I have always stuffed a meatloaf into a loaf pan. That’s what I thought the “loaf” in meatloaf meant. This recipe calls for forming an actual loaf on a baking sheet (make sure it is a rimmed baking sheet to contain the drippings) which is an improvement because there’s more surface area to glaze. I really like the glaze. In fact, the next time I make this, I’m going to double the glaze and save half to serve alongside the meatloaf. When you’re almost done baking the meatloaf, glaze it once more and let that set in the oven for another 10 or so minutes.

ready to bake

brushing on the second glaze layer

it’s done when the internal temperature is at least 160°f

Does it work? YES! It’s a Korean-style riff on a western classic and we love it. I served it with stir-fried vegetables and steamed rice. It is simple enough to whip up on a weeknight and makes amazing leftovers that reheat easily the following couple of days. And if you’re looking to turn it into an appetizer, make meatballs. I think I’ll have to try that next.

with rice and vegetables

i quite like that nice baked-on glaze

Kimchi Meatloaf
[print recipe]
from Five and Spice

2 lbs. ground beef (or half ground beef and half ground pork)
1 cup kimchi, finely chopped
6 tbsps milk
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, grated
1/2 yellow onion, grated on a box grater (I used the “small” shredder instead)
1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsps cornstarch or tapioca starch
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce (or 1 tsp salt per the original recipe)
2 tsps toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

2 tbsps gochujang (or Sriracha or chili-garlic paste)
2 tbsps ketchup
2 tbsps maple syrup or brown sugar
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp sesame oil

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place all of the meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl and mix together with your hand(s). Using your hands is particularly good for working out any clumps of cornstarch. Make sure everything is thoroughly combined. On a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, form the mixture into a loaf shape. Place all of the glaze ingredients into a medium bowl or measuring cup and whisk until smooth. Brush half of the glaze over the meatloaf, covering all exposed areas. Bake the meatloaf for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and brush the remaining glaze over the entire loaf. Return the meatloaf to the oven and bake another 10-20 minutes until the internal temperature reads a minimum of 160°F with a meat thermometer. Take the meatloaf out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Serves 8. Make extra glaze to serve alongside the meatloaf if you are a fan of “sauce”.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

kimchi turkey meatloaf korean bbq-style burgers angry edamame

12 nibbles at “life on the front range”

  1. Kristin says:

    Well, I am not a meatloaf fan, so I was going to say that I’d need to try this as meatballs if I make it, and the you said it! I also don’t make burgers often, but need to remember the fish sauce instead of salt. I should’ve figured that one out, since my favorite burger is an Asian inspired turkey burger that has fish sauce in it! We love that stuff. I don’t live in the mountains, and I’ve only ever XC skied, but you make me feel like I’m right there with you with your photos and narrative.

  2. Eva @ Eva Bakes says:

    I never thought about adding kimchi to meatloaf. Sounds like another winning recipe!

  3. S says:

    Oh man another awesome use for kimchi! I made a huge batch on Christmas eve and we’re down to the last bits now, time to make another batch. (Someone in my house eats it straight out of the jar, but I’m really happy to have found so many good recipes to use it lately.)

  4. Lauren says:

    I am not normally a meatloaf fan, but this looks really tasty! The only problem is I don’t like ketchup at all; do you think there is something I could substitute in the glaze?

    Your site is beautiful, and I always love your pictures.

  5. Joyce says:

    Always enjoy the pictures of your mountains and all the sights you share with us via photos. We live in Western New York, and just wish we were a little younger to learn to ski and snow board. So we enjoy so much through your pictures and sharing! We have been known to be the “oldest” couple snow tubing, alpine sliding……and we always do the “fast” slope. We are at the Falls in Niagara Falls and hear the water roaring over the falls at night when all is quiet. It is so beautiful but don’t see us testing out the “drop!” lol
    Thanks again for being so faithful sharing your wonderful life! We appreciate it so much!

  6. jill says:

    I never get used to the wind. Just makes me feel edgy. Always glad when NOAA is wrong.

    This meatloaf looks yummy!

  7. Pey-Lih says:

    Oh my gosh! OMG! This looks so darn good! My mouth is drooling…… What a great combo! Kimichi and meatloaf. Thank you for this recipe. I will make it this weekend! Thank you so much for sharing, Jen!

  8. Abbe @ This is How I Cook says:

    Meatloaf always hits the spot! I love this version! And wind? I must admit to having a wind aversion!

  9. jenyu says:

    Kristin – let me know how the meatballs go. I’m sure they’ll be great (how are meatballs not great?)! Thanks for the kind words xo

    Eva – it’s fantastic!

    S – you can never have enough kimchi, right? :)

    Lauren – I bet you could substitute something like Heinz chili sauce (it’s not spicy at all) or even barbecue sauce? Thank you!

    Joyce – so sweet of you, thanks! xo

    jill – I’m only glad when NOAA is wrong on the overpredictions, not the underpredictions :)

    Pey-Lih – you’re welcome!

    Abbe – It’s great comfort food – and yeah, boo wind!

  10. Julia says:

    As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it, because well, almost everything is better with kimchi! I made it for lunch today and it was simply delicious! The meat was tender and moist and the spicy/sweet glaze was amazing. Next time I might add more gochujang, though, because I love spicy! The best part is that we have lots of leftovers for the following days :D

  11. hentrain mansbury says:

    this was pretty awesome. A great use for soggy kim chi. We are already planning to make these as kim chi meatballs for CNY in 2 weeks. Pretty sure they will be a big hit.

  12. 8 Kimchi Recipes to Spice Up Your Life - Organic Authority says:

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