By Carl Hanson

Meatloaf. It's not a sexy word. Descriptive, yes. It is ground meat shaped into a loaf. Kinda like pizza is cheesypepperonisaucedisk. I get it.

It doesn't help that the word "loaf" is also a verb that means to be lazy. Maybe that's why meatloaf has a rap for being something you slap together when you're out of ideas and just can't be bothered. Is "meatslab" better? Beefplank?

And then there's this guy.

Anyway, it's time for a meatloaf makeover is what I'm saying. Time to dress it up and feature it, front and center, as the star of Sunday dinners and special occasion meals. It's time, you might say, to break out the luxury loaf.

Tennessee Meatloaf

Does Tennessee say luxury to you? Maybe it should. This loaf boasts a luxurious mix of ground veal, pork, and beef. It's Leigh Ann's grandma's meatloaf. "She made the most delicious meatloaf in the state," says Leigh Ann. "Don't let the number of ingredients discourage you. It's part of the magic in creating a masterpiece!"

Photo by naples34102

So far so good. Now here's what we need to class this joint up.

Creamy Mushroom Gravy

In fact, hold on. Instead of baking the meatloaf first and then making mushroom gravy to pour over it, how about we knock 'em both out at once?

Luxury Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy

This will require a new take on technique. So let's turn to Chef John's famous braised meatloaf method. You start the creamy mushroom gravy on the stovetop. Then place the raw meatloaf in the gravy, and finish in the oven. Victory!

As Chef John says, "This technique keeps the meatloaf moist, while fortifying the sauce with flavorful drippings." More good news: "It will work with just about any meatloaf recipe out there." Here's the method in action:

Now then, we're gonna need some mashers. How do perfect potatoes grab you?

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Again, Chef John: "This recipe will hopefully give you the proper techniques to turn out perfect mashed potatoes every time; always light, fluffy and lump-free."

Photo by Baking Nana

One last thing. Special occasion meatloaf calls for some wine. Let's try a Merlot or Bordeaux blend. May I recommend something from Washington State?

Get schooled on Washington Merlot

And if all this luxury feels a little louche, take it in the opposite direction, with Chef John's Prison-Style Meatloaf. It's kind of a breakout hit.

Check out our collection of Meatloaf Recipes -- including beef meatloaf, pork, turkey, and stuffed meatloaf recipes.