We were in Salt Lake City visiting my son earlier this spring, and since it happened to be Mother’s Day, Sven and Mr. C decided to take me out for dinner at one of Sven’s favorite restaurants. So off we went to Ruth’s Diner, located in historic Emigration Canyon. (It’s a new little place; only been around since the 1930s.) And OMG – what a wonderful time and meal we shared that day. I felt like I had just been chosen queen for a day. First of all, I was with my two favorite men in the whole world. (What could be better than that?) And to top things off, my entrée choice was off the charts delicious!

Apparently Ruth’s Diner is famous for several dishes they serve, among them Grandma Claire’s Baked Mac and Cheese, Chicken Fried Steak, and Ruth’s Meat Loaf. So never one to argue with success, I ordered the meatloaf.

The grilled meatloaf (who ever heard of grilling meatloaf slices?) came lightly dressed with a delicious, not too highly seasoned reddish gravy. Nestled up to the meatloaf all cozy and warm, were creamy mashed potatoes, sautéed veggies, and a warm from the oven biscuit. Oh my. It was simply heaven on a plate.

So yesterday, even though everyone knows it is just plain wrong to serve meatloaf in late Spring/early Summer, I flew in the face of convention and attempted to reproduce my Ruth’s Diner experience.

Well boy howdy, I am here to tell you, once in awhile I create a blue ribbon winner. (OK, no one actually awarded me a blue ribbon, but I know a winner when I taste one!) So even though it is not technically “meatloaf season”, I’m going to recommend giving this new spin on meatloaf a try. (And yes I know, you may have known about grilling meatloaf for decades, but for me it was like waking up and realizing I’m no longer in Kansas!) Note to self: no more sneaking into the TV room late at night and watching The Wizard of Oz!

I hope you enjoy this different and delicious way to prepare and serve an all-American classic.

Grilled Meatloaf:

  • 2 T. chopped dehydrated onion
  • 1 T. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning (comes in bulk in the dried herbs and spices section)
  • 1 tsp. seasoned salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. dried savory
  • ½ c. dry bread crumbs (I use the Italian bread crumbs – also come in bulk at many grocery stores)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ c. milk
  • 1 lb. bulk sausage
  • 1 lb. not so lean ground beef

In a large mixing bowl combine the onion, parsley, garlic, Montreal Seasoning, salt, pepper, savory, bread crumbs, eggs, and milk. Stir in the sausage and then the ground beef. I use a table knife for this purpose. Cuts through the mixture like a knife! (Pardon the pun….)

Form into 2 rectangular loaves. Place in a baking pan and bake for 1 hour in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Remove from oven and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Just before ready to serve, cut into ¾-inch thick slices and fry on a lightly greased griddle or fry pan, just until each side is nicely browned and slightly crispy.


Serve lightly spread with gravy. Great served with Cheesy Grits (recipe below) or mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies.

Bacon Flavored Red Gravy:


  • 3 slices thick meaty bacon, chopped
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 T. flour
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½  c. strong coffee or ½ tsp. espresso powder and ½ c. water
  • ¾ c. beef stock or 1 heaping tsp. beef base and ¾ c. water
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • ¼ c. half and half
  • milk – if needed to thin the gravy to desired consistency

Fry bacon until crisp. Remove cooked bacon from pan reserving bacon grease. Add onions to skillet and cook until onions are softened, scraping up any browned bits on pan bottom. Whisk in flour, paprika, and pepper; stir well to combine. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in coffee, beef stock, and tomato paste. Cook sauce until thickened, about 6 minutes. Add half & half and reserved bacon*; cook for an additional 5 minutes. Thin to desired consistency with milk.

*If you don’t want little bits of bacon in your gravy, save the bacon and add to scrambled eggs the next morning.

Bonus Meal Idea for Leftovers:


Grill up some more of the meatloaf. Also warm up the leftover gravy, toast up some bread, and serve the grilled meatloaf on the toasted bread liberally slathered with gravy. Yum!

Cheesy Grits: (see picture at top of post)

  • 1½ c. whole milk
  • 1½ c. water
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ c. quick-cooking grits
  • 1 c. grated white cheddar cheese

Bring milk, water, salt, and pepper to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Adjust seasoning. If you like thinner grits, add a little more milk. Serve immediately.