Grandpa Mark’s Meatloaf

Grandpa Mark’s Meatloaf
My father-in-law (Grandpa Mark) was a really great guy. He was all about family and spent the better part of his life raising 8 children.
August 13, 1994 my wedding day and the day I got hitched to this great Eskelson family.
That’s a lot of kids no matter how you look at it! 
 He wasn’t really a fashionable sort of fellow….
More like a 
get in there and work….
and build things like this….
and that.
He was the kind of guy that liked to ride around in a back hoe….digging and moving things around, and making life more pleasant than he found it.
He suffered from Congestive Heart Failure for more than twenty years, which included all of the time I knew him. Towards the end of his life he spent a lot of time at the computer, researching and writing and learning about new things. You could call him pretty much any time of day and know that he would 
…be at his computer….
…and at your service….
Always willing to answer any question, or help solve any problem.
This good man found a lot of great recipes while he sat at his computer. This wonderful Meatloaf is one of them. 
It is hands down the best meatloaf I’ve ever had.
Hope your family loves it as much as we all do. 
The view from Grandpa Mark’s Bear Lake Cabin. 
Photo by Grandpa Mark himself.
Sure wish he were around to give me some 
photography tips
and parenting advice
and to help me figure out the technical side of blogging
(he would have been all over that kind of a project)
and to visit with
and to see my kids grow up
and to visit with
and to visit with
and to visit with…..
He knew a lot of good stuff.
Grandpa Marks Meatloaf
Time: 1 hour
Yield: 12 servings (you can easily half this recipe)
Recipe from my father-in-law Mark Eskelson
The Loaf:
2 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 onion, chopped
2 sleeves saltine crackers, crushed into tiny pieces
4 eggs
salt and pepper
3 T honey mustard
1/2 C ketchup
1 t Worcestershire
 The Sauce:
1 C brown sugar
1 C ketchup
1. Place all loaf ingredients in a large bowl. Get your hands in there and mix it all up together. You want all of the ingredients to be incorporated well.  (Don’t be shy now….touching ground beef will not kill you. If you lick your fingers after you have been smashing it all together…you most likely will kill over dead immediately, or so I’ve heard. Please refrain from licking raw hamburger off your fingers. Your immediate death is something I don’t want on my conscience. However if you decide to lick raw hamburger and you do indeed kill over…give Grandpa Mark a kiss for me when you see him.)
2. Spray a 9 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the bottom. 
3. Form your meat mixture into two loaves. Place them on top of the brown sugar leaving a little alley way between them. (Wash your hands…do not lick them.)
4. Pour your ketchup between the loaves….. 
 and around the sides of the loaves.
5. Cover with tin foil and bake at 375 for 40 minutes, or until the inside of the loaf is no longer pink. 
6. Remove the pan from the oven, take off the foil and spoon the sauce over the tops of the loaves. Return to the oven and bake for about 3-5 more minutes.
7. Take the pan out of the oven and let the loaves rest for about 5 minutes. Then slice and serve. 


Post a comment!


  1. 1
    March 28, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Aw… what a sweet post. I'm sorry your Grandpa Mark isn't with you anymore :(… I bet he would have been tickled by the fact that you dedicated this post to him.


  2. 2
    March 28, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Loved the memories of Mark. He was a great man!

  3. 3
    March 28, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful man! We don't quite realize what we have until it is gone. Sounds like he left a wonderful legacy and lived his life for his family, you were blessed to have a great mentor…one day in Heaven we will all rejoice together again! Thanks for the yummy version of meatloaf, one can never have enough versions of meatloaf to try!

  4. 4
    March 28, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    What a testimonial about a guy who sounds really nice. I love meatloaf, especially meatloaf with crackers. That's the way my mama made hers (a lot like this one). Will definately make this one for my husband and myself. I'll make the full recipe – have leftovers for sandwiches & freeze the rest. How simple!!!

  5. 5
    March 31, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    I found the cooking technique for this meatloaf to be so interesting… bought all the ingredients and will make it for dinner today or tomorrow. Can't wait to give it a try.


  6. 6
    April 1, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Okay, this was about the best thing I've ever eaten. Made it for dinner tonight and it was out of this world. Thank you so much, now I have a Grandpa Mark!

  7. 7
    April 5, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    I found this recipe via ButterYum. Looks really good and I'm sure Grandpa MArk would be proud of you for sharing it with us.

    It's on my bookmarked list to make VERY soon and I'm now also your newest follower

  8. 8
    April 6, 2011 at 3:03 am

    Absolutely delish – thanks so very much!!!


  9. 9
    April 11, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    I miss that man! He certainly was a character and always made me feel really special anytime I walked in the room! Thanks for the post and i will try this recipe!

  10. 10
    October 16, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    I made Grandpa Mark's meatloaf last week and it was a big hit at our home. I even ate leftovers the next day…and I do not like leftovers. Thanks for posting and we'll definitely enjoy it many more times.

  11. 11
    December 30, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Thank you for sharing the story about your father-in-law along with his recipe! This was the best meatloaf I've ever made! Simple ingredients, easy directions, and simply delicious!

  12. 12
    April 10, 2012 at 4:27 am

    your last photo had a sprig of curly leaf parsley on it….I grow this to PRESS AND DRY it in my greeting card creations, Jamie! I sooooo needed a great meatloaf recipe! YOU ARE A LIFE SAVER and MY NEW BEST FRIEND! XOXOXOX

  13. 13
    April 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Best. Meatloaf. Ever. Thanks for sharing this recipe and the story about your father-in-law.

  14. 14
    April 28, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I made this recipe and it was yummo! I made one slight change…I carmelized the onions before I put them in the meatloaf. So moist

  15. 15
    September 1, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Was just wondering how to freeze Grandpa Mark’s meatloaf. Do I do the recipe up until the baking point or bake it, freeze it and then reheat it when we want to heat it? Thank you!

    Grandpa Mark seemed like an awesome guy!

    • 16
      September 3, 2012 at 12:41 am

      It is easiest if you freeze the meat loaf raw. Then just be sure it has defrosted fully before you cook it. Good luck!

  16. 17
    September 19, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Now that sounds wonderful!

    • 18
      February 7, 2014 at 11:54 pm

      Let me know how you like it. It is really good even Grace likes it and she is fkcniiy about her food. If you want I can have BJ come over and make it for you

  17. 19
    October 2, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    I only used 2 and 1/4 lbs of hamburger and this thing is taking forever to cook! I cooked it for 40 minutes and only the outside was brown, the rest was raw! So I put it in for another 20 minutes and its still not done. Trying for another 20 minutes and hopefully this thing will finally be done. Don’t know why its taking so long.

  18. 20
    October 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Trying this for dinner tonight. It’ll be my first time making meatloaf. I love all of your recipes. Since I take night classes and my parents and siblings are at school during the day I love surprising them with a fantastic dinner when they get home. All thanks to you! 🙂

  19. 21
    November 5, 2012 at 10:51 am

    The meatloaf was fantastic!!!! Great flavor and easy to make. I do have a question though. Is there a mistake with the cooking time? I halved the recipe and still got 2 large loaves. I cooked it for the time above and it was still pink. I did use a more shallow pan. Maybe that was the difference. Any thoughts?

  20. 22
    November 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    This is very delicious!!! Like Mark and Diane, I had to cook it much longer than the recipe called for. Maybe I’ll try several small loaves next time.
    Tasty and moist!! Will definitely be making again!

  21. 23
    June 14, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    I have made your meatloaf recipe several times and it is perfect every time. I love it! And I can tell I would have really liked your FIL. Thanks for sharing.

  22. 24
    June 14, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Made this for dinner this eve…I made it per the recipe but it was not done at all when it came out of the oven after 40 min. Ended up cooking for 3o minutes more until it was cooked through. Good thing it was Friday night…kids had to have a snack while they were waiting for it to finally be done. Did I do something wrong?!

  23. 25
    November 15, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Jamie, I just want to thank you for your marvelous, easy, family friendly and DELICIOUS recipes. I recently became acquainted with your site, and I think it’s just wonderful. Thanks for sharing your recipes – and your family! – with the world.

  24. 26
    jean ash
    November 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    your oven temp gauge may be inaccurate. get a little one you can place in your oven and save yourself a lot of money for replacing the thermaostat

  25. 27
    November 21, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Your Father-in-law sounds just like my Dad,always trying to make everything better and just having him around did that!He could make the sun shine on a foggy,cloudy and rainy day, even if it was no where to be found,he is gone also. A day never goes by without thinking about him and wishing he was here, such a great guy! Wonderful story,Thanks for sharing it. The meatloaf is great, thanks for the recipe.

  26. 28
    November 21, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    wow, he sounds like a wonderful man. you were very lucky to have him. my one son loves meatloaf, as do i, he’ll be home from school soon. can’t wait to surprise him with this. thank you

  27. 29
    November 23, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Your grandpa Mark sounded like a good man. I know he is proud of you. I printed off a copy of the meatloaf and will try it. looks good. Thanks

  28. 30
    December 2, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Yes, it would be wonderful if you had a “print recipe.”


  29. 31
    Kentucky Lady 717
    December 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    What a great post….and your wedding dress is beautiful, and what a great looking family grandpa Mark has….sounds like a really great family…signed up for your blog,looking forward to making this meat loaf looks wonderful….sent it to my sister too…..

  30. 32
    December 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    I will be making this one for sure as it sounds so good..I too, now have Grampa Mark,s special meatloaf! Thank you for sharing with all of us!

  31. 33
    December 12, 2013 at 5:28 am

    Just wanted to say that this is the best meatloaf I have ever eaten! I never really was a big fan of meatloaf. I saw your post and suddenly got hungry for meatloaf, so I went home and tried it and I can’t seem to get enough of it. I am going to share the recipe with my daughters. Thank you!

  32. 34
    Nancy A.
    January 12, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    He sounds like a wonderful man and I am going to try this meatloaf in honor of him. Isn’t it sad when people like this leave us and we still have so much to learn from them? Sorry he is gone, he sounds like a fun man and very wise. My mom had congestive heart failure, too and is gone now. I miss her so much and all her knowledge and laughter!

  33. 35
    January 23, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Enjoyed your tribute and pictures. I am adding this to be “great recipes” as it was delicious. Thanks you for sharing.
    PS) the Cherry Chocolate Cake is to die for 😉

  34. 36
    Patricia Norris
    January 30, 2014 at 9:35 am

    I enjoyed the meatloaf but wasnt fond of the sweet sugar. Great recipe leaving out the brown sugar.

  35. 37
    September 9, 2014 at 1:03 am

    I’ll be making this delicious meatloaf soon. What a nice tribute to your father-in-law! I enjoyed your photos of him and your wedding picture with the family.

  36. 38
    Mary Szydlowski
    October 18, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    This recipe was absolutely delish!! Sooo moist! Got high reviews from all who ate! It did take longer as those mentioned above the inside was raw, but other then that worth the extra time baking! The honey mustard is definitely a nice lil secret tucked inside! Would like to know if lite or brown sugar was used by grandpa Mark? Thanks for posting! The ONLY meatloaf recipe I’ll use for now on! 🙂 🙂

  37. 39
    Mary Szydlowski
    October 18, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    *lite or dark brown sugar

  38. 40
    Darlene Williams
    November 20, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    So anxious to try this meatloaf recipe as I love meatloaf a lot & this sounds so good from all the comments., Your Grandpa was a very special guy. Thanks for sharing. This was the lst time finding your site. Impressed! Dar

  39. 41
    Angie Mann
    October 5, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Wow!I made it tonight for dinner! We have definitely giving this meatloaf a 10+ ! ??

    • 42
      October 10, 2016 at 8:19 am

      So glad to hear it! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂

  40. 43
    February 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    I have quite a few meatloaf recipes none of which I’ve particularly cared for. Made Grandpa’s Meatloaf and must say, it’s a keeper. Thank you for sharing.

  41. 44
    May 8, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Well you got the guy in every crowd who loves to cook. What a great testimony to your Father in law! I can not wait to try this meatloaf. One of my favorites, it looks incredibly delish! Love your sense of humor as well, really nice!!

    • 45
      May 8, 2017 at 11:52 am

      Thank you for your kind comment. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  42. 46
    May 24, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Iam a grandpa too and I love cooking for my family. I have made his meatloaf and I can tell you as I write this it is in the oven baking as we speak. This wonderful aroma that is in the air reminds me about how my grandpa used to cook,we always looked forward to his famous ghoulash among other things he made for us. I miss him he was a hard worker but always found love and time for us grandkids. Thank you for his recepie. Very truly yours, Ken,Ketelhut

    • 47
      May 25, 2017 at 6:11 pm

      Thanks for your great comment. I hope the recipe turned out well for you!

  43. 48
    December 22, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Jamie, I don’t like meatloaf but this is to die for. Thank you for yet another great recipe. You did it again!

  44. 49
    May 29, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Hi Jaime:

    I don’t have crackers but I have oats, which my mother always used in her meatloaf recipes. Would that work in this recipe & how many cups of oats would I use to replace 2 ‘sleeves’ of crackers??


    • 50
      May 31, 2018 at 9:32 pm

      hi Alexis,
      Thanks for your question. I haven’t ever tried using oats, but imagine it would work out pretty well. I would suggest trying about 1/2 C.
      Best of luck to you!

  45. 51
    Alexis Cowger
    May 31, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Hi Jaime:
    Could I please get an answer to my question??


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