Heres a story from Dex Armstrong followed by the real Navy Meatloaf recipe.
Cowboy... Did you ever eat Cowboy Meatloaf a la Requin? We had a cook called Stumpy or something like that. He and a sonarman named Jac Snider wore cowboy boots... Funny, the dumb stuff you remember. Stumpy and Snider were from New Mexico, where folks eat stuff so gahdam hot it oughtta be against the law.
We had been out doin' stuff that forced us into operating at ultra quiet. You remember, where the old man passed the word to "Rig ship for for ultra quiet... Secure air conditioning and refrigeration…" You remember… It got hotter than the hubs of hell and you sat on the potato lockers in the crews mess in sweat-soaked dungaree shirts listening to your armpit hair grow, watching the reefer temperature gauge inch toward the point where the corpsman announced that all the contents therein was now condemned and had to go over the side.
At some mystical point the Navy had determined meat thawed out and rapid decomposition set in and good steak became rotten shark chow. Just prior to "rig for rot", Stumpy broke out three boxes of steaks and popped the metal bands. He handed out his collection of butcher knives and had us cutting the steaks in two inch wide strips. He couldn't use the powered meat grinder so he set up his hand-cranked grinder and began grinding steak. "Whatcha doin' cookie?" "Makin' Cowboy meatloaf." If I had had the ability to see into the future, I would have taken that knife and cut the sonuvabitches' throat... But like the rest of the clowns in the after battery, I kept cutting strips and passing it into the galley. Anyway, the closest I'd ever been to cowboys had all taken place at the local movie house.
Stumpy had a mason jar full of little white jelly bean size peppers. As he cranked, he kept tossing in a couple of these blasting cap peppers. When he had a pile of ground meat and peppers a couple of feet high, he added shredded up stale Wonderbread, some eggs and God knows what else. We just wandered around in the bliss of total ignorance while a cook who had direct links to the culinary arts of hell packed breadloaf pans and put them in the oven. Had I had any inkling of what that diabolical sonuvabitch was pulling out of that jar and tossing in that hand grinder, I would have broken all known speed records moving aft, would have clawed my way through the after trim tank and done my damnedest to swim back to Norfolk.
Cowboy meatloaf and arc welding had the same mother. You can duplicate the sensation by sticking a flame-thrower down your throat and squeezing the trigger until fire shoots out your hip pockets or you can lick the manifold of an Indianapolis race car during the victory lap. That stuff should not be circulated without a warning label reading,
"DO NOT EAT WITHOUT ASBESTOS SKIVVIES AND A MIDAS INSTALLED COLON."
We sat there eating that napalm loaf... Each of us afraid that if we didn't eat it, we would be a big sissy and catch a lot of crap from all the other idiots eating it for the same reason. Given a choice between another helping of Cowboy meatloaf and French kissing a lightning bolt, I would go for the latter hands down. If you have to eat that concoction to be a cowboy, I'm signing up to be a sheepman.
MEAT LOAF L 035 00
Portion 6 OZ
Calories 343 cal
Carbohydrates 11 g
Protein 33 g
Fat 18 g
Cholesterol 154 mg
Sodium 648 mg
Calcium 48 mg
BEEF,GROUND,BULK,RAW,90% LEAN 30 lbs
BREADCRUMBS 3-3/4 lbs
SALT 3-3/4 oz
PEPPER,BLACK,GROUND 1 tbsp
GARLIC POWDER 1 tbsp
MILK,NONFAT,DRY 1 cup
WATER 1 qts 1-1/2 cup
CELERY,FRESH,CHOPPED 1 lbs
ONIONS,FRESH,CHOPPED 1 lbs
PEPPERS,GREEN,FRESH,CHOPPED 1 lbs
EGGS,WHOLE,FROZEN 1 qts 1/2 cup
JUICE,TOMATO,CANNED 1 qts 1-3/4 cup
1. Combine beef with bread crumbs, salt, pepper and garlic; mix until well blended.
2. Reconstitute milk.
3. Add milk, celery, onions, sweet peppers, eggs, and tomato juice. Mix lightly but thoroughly. DO NOT OVERMIX.
4. Place 11 pounds 6 ounces meat mixture into each steam table pan and divide into 2 loaves per pan.
5. Using a convection oven, bake 1 hour 15 minutes at 300 F. CCP: Internal temperature must reach 155 F. or higher for 15 seconds. Skim off excess fat and liquid during cooking.
6. Let stand 20 minutes before slicing. Cut 13 slices per loaf. CCP: Hold for service at 140 F. or higher.
See you at dinner!