When I was young, when winter weather arrived in North Carolina it meant hog killing time.

Daddy raised a couple for our family each year. Usually on Thanksgiving Day, instead of sitting down for a big dinner, we got up early and ended the day late, preparing pork for the winter ahead. Well, I didn’t really do much, as I was a bit young and pretty much a city slicker. But I do have some fond memories of those days.

Daddy made his own sausage and I got a kick out of helping turn the handle on the sausage grinder clamped down on the kitchen table. He went heavy on the sage, but it was still good with one of Mama’s buttermilk biscuits on a cold morning.

Other than homemade sausage, we grew up eating Neese’s Country Sausage around our house. Neese’s is an old North Carolina Company dating back to around 1917. I love their liver pudding products, and my brother is fond of their souse meat. You can read more about this great company in the link above.

I spotted a small Neese’s Cookbook at a local auction a couple of weeks ago. I broke bad and spent a whole dollar bill for it – I’m a big spender like that. While thumbing through the recipes, I saw this one particular recipe for Neese’s Sausage-Beef Meat Loaf and decided I had to give it a try.

I used the Mild Country Sausage from Neese’s, but you could punch it up by using their hot brand. Either way, it’s a great variation on an old Southern favorite that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. I also liked that it uses crumbled up cornbread instead of white bread, breadcrumbs, or crackers. That was different, and I liked being able to use some of the last batch I made in my cast iron skillet.

First, let me tell you a bit more about the cookbook. Then I’ll show you how to make this delicious recipe!

The Cookbook:

Sausage-Meatloaf_00_recipe-bookSausage-Meatloaf_00b_box-endSausage-Meatloaf_00a_recipe-scan
Interestingly enough, the book is marked on the back as costing $1.00 originally. Seems they hold there value pretty well. I leaned it up against an old wooden Neese’s Country Sausage crate that was given to me by a friend a couple of years back.

The book contains 34 pages of recipes, all printed on thick brown colored paper. Here’s a scan of the Sausage-Beef Meat Loaf recipe as seen on page 19 of the recipe book. It didn’t have an exact date, but I think it was printed in 1976.

The Recipe:

What you’ll need

  • 1 ½ lbs ground Beef
  • ½ lb Neese’s Country Sausage
  • 1 ½ cups crumbled cornbread
  • 1 (10 ½ ounce) can onion soup
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup green pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Click here for a one-page version of this recipe.

Here's what you'll need.

Here’s what you’ll need.


Start by washing, slicing, and dicing up the stalk of celery.

Start by washing, slicing, and dicing up the stalk of celery.


Do the same with the bell pepper. If I had a farm, I'd raise nothing but bell peppers. They get up to about $1.50 each around here in the winter months. During the summer, I can usually find them at a local roadside produce stand priced at 5 for $1.00. I buy a couple of dollars worth, slice them up, and freeze them. This one happened to be fresh though.

Do the same with the bell pepper. If I had a farm, I’d raise nothing but bell peppers. They get up to about $1.50 each around here in the winter months. During the summer, I can usually find them at a local roadside produce stand priced at 5 for $1.00. I buy a couple of dollars worth, slice them up, and freeze them. This one happened to be fresh though.


Place your skillet over medium heat. When it's warm, drop in a couple of tablespoons of butter.

Place your skillet over medium heat. When it’s warm, drop in a couple of tablespoons of butter.


Add the diced bell peppers.

Add the diced bell peppers.


Add the diced celery.

Add the diced celery.


Stir them around and sauté them until they are lightly browned. Don't let them burn as you continue to work on the rest of the recipe.

Stir them around and sauté them until they are lightly browned. Don’t let them burn as you continue to work on the rest of the recipe.


Place the ground beef and the Neese's Sausage in a large mixing bowl. Just remember that you're only using half the one-pound package of sausage.

Place the ground beef and the Neese’s Sausage in a large mixing bowl. Just remember that you’re only using half the one-pound package of sausage.


Use your fingers and crumble up all the meat.

Use your fingers and crumble up all the meat.


When you have it all crumbled, mix it well.

When you have it all crumbled, mix it well.


Add the slightly browned Celery and Bell Peppers. I poured the little bit of butter left in the skillet right in with the veggies.

Add the slightly browned Celery and Bell Peppers. I poured the little bit of butter left in the skillet right in with the veggies.


Crumble up the cornbread and add it into the mixture.  I'm going a bit rustic here, but you might want to crumble your cornbread a bit more, like breadcrumbs.

Crumble up the cornbread and add it into the mixture. I’m going a bit rustic here, but you might want to crumble your cornbread a bit more, like breadcrumbs.


Add the can of cream of onion soup. Do not add the water you would normally add to make the soup, just pour it undiluted, straight out of the can.

Add the can of cream of onion soup. Do not add the water you would normally add to make the soup, just pour it undiluted, straight out of the can.


Add salt.

Add salt.


Add black pepper.

Add black pepper.


Break the eggs into a small bowl and whisk them up a bit with a fork.

Break the eggs into a small bowl and whisk them up a bit with a fork.


Add the eggs to the mixture.

Add the eggs to the mixture.


Jump in with both hands and mix it all up.

Jump in with both hands and mix it all up.


Butter up a 9" x 5" loaf pan. Brush the butter all in the bottom and all around the sides, all the way to the top.

Butter up a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Brush the butter all in the bottom and all around the sides, all the way to the top.


Spoon the mixture into the loaf pan and spread it out evenly. Use gentle pressure to pack it down in the pan.  Wipe any excess off from around the edges of the pan, otherwise it'll just burn right on and make cleaning the pan a bit more trouble. You can thank me later.

Spoon the mixture into the loaf pan and spread it out evenly. Use gentle pressure to pack it down in the pan. Wipe any excess off from around the edges of the pan, otherwise it’ll just burn right on and make cleaning the pan a bit more trouble. You can thank me later.


Pour the can of tomato sauce over the top.

Pour the can of tomato sauce over the top.


Pour the can of tomato sauce over the top.

Pour the can of tomato sauce over the top.
Please note: This is not the typical ketchup and brown sugar glaze that you’ll normally find on Southern style meat loaf. I can’t say it added a large amount of flavor to the finished product, but we’re following the original recipe.


Since the loaf pan was so full, I opted to wrap a small sheet pan with aluminum foil, and use it as a drip pan underneath the loaf pan, as it baked in the oven.

Since the loaf pan was so full, I opted to wrap a small sheet pan with aluminum foil, and use it as a drip pan underneath the loaf pan, as it baked in the oven.


Use a meat thermometer to be sure it's reached an internal temperature of 170ºF.

Use a meat thermometer to be sure it’s reached an internal temperature of 170ºF.

When it’s done, remove it from the oven and just set it aside on a trivet to cool a little. You might see some liquid around the inside edges of the pan when you remove the loaf pan from the oven. Be careful not to spill that and just let it absorb back into the meat as it cools down.

Serve warm with a few other Southern sides – cornbread included – and enjoy!

Serve warm with a few other Southern sides – cornbread included – and enjoy!

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