Photo: Afrika Studio (Shutterstock)
Whether you’re making meatballs, meatloaf, or any other food that requires seasoning a mass of raw ground beef, predicting the outcome can be difficult, especially when you’re working with a new recipe, a vague recipe, or any other recipe that You have developed yourself.
Tasting and customizing is easy when making sauces, soups, dips, and meatless dishes, but seasoning “to taste” is a bit tricky when the main ingredient is not only eaten raw but tastes dramatically different once cooked. The good news is, you can try your meatloaf a little before it goes all in the oven – all you need to do is make a tiny, precious, little test patty.
Your test patty won’t taste exactly like your meatloaf or ball because of the larger surface area and browning, but it tastes close enough to give you a good idea of how flavorful your mix is. All you have to do is take some of your raw, seasoned meat, shape it into a small patty, and fry it in a pan. (I usually use non-stick coating for convenience.) Cook it. Allow to cool slightly. Put it in your mouth. Chew it. Swallow it. Think about it. Draw your conclusions and add more flavor to your meatloaf or balls if needed. Repeat this process until the meat tastes the way you want it, but don’t go too wild. There is, of course, a limit to how often you can do this. Even small test patties can take their toll on your loaf, so keep the number of tests to a maximum of three and don’t consume more than a teaspoon of meat mix at a time. (Otherwise you could end up with half a meatloaf, and I’d hate that for you.)