SSG Katz’s Meatloaf
In remembrance of Army Staff Sgt. Jeremy Katzenberger, who passed away during combat in Afghanistan in ’11, I get to share his story on this Memorial Day. With the blessing of his brother-in-law Patrick Montgomery, who runs KC Cattle Company, and whose wagyu beef I’m using here, I made SSG Katz’s Meatloaf prepared two ways to symbolize their brotherhood. Born in Weatherby Lake, MO, and survived by his wife Colleen and son Everett James, Jeremy was on his 8th deployment in ’11 when he was killed in action. Katzenberger was a squad leader assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He was the lead assault man charging the enemies target. He died doing what he loved and showing his men the proper way to lead, from the front. His awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, Expert Infantryman Badge, Combat Infantryman Badge and the Parachutist Badge. He has also been awarded the Air Medal, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, two Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, three Afghanistan Campaign Medals, four Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, three Overseas Service Ribbons, and the Army Service Ribbon. His memory and legacy lives on with his family, and through KC Cattle Company Montgomery is able to provide work for other veterans.
- 1 Small Onion, chopped
- 1 Large Carrot, peeled then shredded
- 1 Celery Stalk, chopped
- 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1/2 Jalapeno, diced small (1)
- 2 lb KC Cattle Company Wagyu Ground Beef
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
- 2 Eggs
- 1/4 cup Ketchup
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire
- 1 tbsp Mustard (2)
- 3 tsp Kosher Salt, divided into 1 tsp and 2 tsp portions
- Black Pepper
- 1/3 cup Ketchup
- 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- Preheat Oven and Smoker to 250*. (3)
- Chop the veggies. Sauté in a large pan (4) with oil, 1 tsp salt, and black pepper to taste until very soft and well cooked down.
- While veggies cook, add milk and panko to a large bowl.
- Once the milk is absorbed, add the eggs and beat. Then add remaining ingredients into the bowl.
- When the veggies are done, spread out on a sheet pan and pop into the fridge for 5 minutes, to cool off.
- Add cooked veggies to the meat and mix it all to combine.
- Split the mixture in half, and place each on a wire rack set into a lipped baking sheet lined with foil. (5)
- Place each half into their respective cookers, and insert probe thermometer into each. (6)
- Cook until 150* internal, then remove from cooker. Crank oven and smoker to as hot as they can get, ~500-550*. Drain fat from baking sheet if you can.
- Brush 1/3 of the glaze on the first loaf, and another 1/3 onto the second. Place them back into their cookers until the sauce glazes into the meat, 3-5 minutes.
- Use the remaining glaze to fill the thin spots and apply a light 2nd layer. Cook again until set.
- Let rest for 5-10 minutes, tented with foil. Slice, serve, and enjoy.
- If you want it spicier, include the seeds. If you want it less spicy, omit the seeds.
- I gave it a big squeeze, could’ve been more, could’ve been less. No need to measure.
- I used my Traeger for this. You can definitely just do one cooking method, but I had fun doing the taste test. I’d still split the mixture into two for cooking, it’ll cook much faster. My wife and I both preferred the smoked version. You can also cook it at a higher temp if you want to cook it quicker, I just liked the idea of going slower here to preserve some tenderness.
- I used a Le Creuset Dutch Oven. The tall sides were great for mixing so none of the veggies fell out.
- This part is where I diverge from a lot of traditional meatloaf cooks. I used a bread pan to help mold the loaves, but I knew with the fat content of the wagyu that I didn’t want to cook in there, I wanted the fat to drip off. The lipped baking sheet means it has somewhere to pool, it won’t drip off into the oven. For the smoker, I put just the wire rack into the smoker, not the baking sheet too. I also weighed the mixture and split them by weight so I knew it would be exactly 50/50 and cook evenly.
- If you don’t have two probes that’s fine, use one as a basis for the other and start temping it when it’s close to 150*. Because I weighed the meat, they cooked exactly even and both got to 150* at the same time.
© 2020 Mitchell Schwartz