Posted by: Erica Retrochef | June 3, 2013

Heavenly Ham Loaf


This actually doesn’t look too bad, right? It’s a meatloaf with a stripe of pickle running through it, which is definitely unusual, but I like pickles on my hamburger so hey this is worth trying.

(Yes, I have noticed a strange tendency to over-rationalize some of my recipe choices. Why do you ask?)


Heavenly Ham Loaf with pickle stuffing

Meat Layer:
2 12-ounce cans luncheon meat
1-1/2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon powdered thyme
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 eggs
2 cups Evaporated Milk

Pickle Stuffing:
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1-1/4 cups sweet pickle relish

In mixing bowl, shred luncheon meat into bits by running tines of fork over meat. (Or put through food chopper using medium blade.) Add the 1-1/2 cups crumbs, seasoning, and onion. Mix thoroughly. Beat eggs slightly with fork, then add 2 cups Evaporated Milk. Add egg-milk mixture to meat mixture. Mix thoroughly. Pack half the meat mixture into well greased loaf pan (10-1/4 x 5-1/4 x 3 inches). For the pickle layer, stir mustard into 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk. Add 1 cup crumbs and pickle relish and blend. Spread pickle stuffing evenly and firmly on meat layer. Pack remaining half of meat mixture over pickle layer. Bake in moderate oven (375 F.) 1 hour and 15 minutes. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

I love the generic “LUNCHEON MEAT” and “EVAPORATED MILK” cans here. It’s like the world’s cheapest nuclear bunker supplies!

Now, we actually aren’t using Spam here. (Oh, sorry — “LUNCHEON MEAT.”) There was a lot of leftovers from a recent spiral-sliced ham, so I’m going to just use those instead.

But how am I going to turn those big chunks into shreds, you ask?


This is why I love my food processor. Twenty-four ounces of ham shredded in under five minutes. (Ironically, cleaning the food processor takes slightly longer…)


The shredded ham gets mixed with bread crumbs and onions and thyme.


Then there’s plenty of egg and milk.


For the pickle layer, we add some mustard to the milk first…


And then dump it in the pickles. Which also have bread crumbs in them for some reason?


OK, whatever, let’s just put all this ridiculous stuff into the loaf pan.


Everything then gets baked.


After it came out of the oven, it looked really pale and unpleasant — not so much brown and green, as brown-pink and brown-yellow.


Overall, this was really unpleasant. Too many bread crumbs made it gummy and bland instead of juicy and meaty. In theory, pickles and mustard could have helped with this, but they were also drowned by bread and so the middle layer could barely distinguished from the ham layers. With lots of additional salt (which you’d generally get from canned luncheon meat anyway), it wasn’t as bad, but, sadly, this mostly ended up as dog food.

“Thanks” to Retro Adverto for the recipe… I think.

And a big retro-themed congratulations to Ruth and Tom on the arrival of their own little heavenly ham loaf, who looks much more cuter than anything I’ve ever cooked on this blog.


  1. Ha! Wow you are DEDICATED!

  2. Dang, I was hoping this would have turned out delicious. I love ground ham and pickle mixed with mayo for sandwich filling… A LOT of work for dog food!

    • Some of our retro recipes look like they’re going to be total disasters from the outset. This one was not in that category. I wasn’t expecting it to be great, but neither did I anticipate that it would be a total disaster. So this ham loaf was a genuine disappointment.

  3. Oh my gosh, that looks nasty.

  4. I always say that the only thing that should come in ‘loaf’ form is bread.

    • I say the same thing, Yinzerella! And it was my grandmother’s wretched ham loaf that made me start saying it. Though I hate any form of meat loaf, really.

  5. I just have to ask. . . .did the dog like it, at least? 😉

    • He scarfed it down, although we spread it out over two meals. He’s not very picky though, even by dog standards. He will eat virtually any soft organic matter (and some hard stuff as well, e.g. sticks).

      • Ha! So he’s not exactly a gourmand. But he is definitely handy to have around, given the nature of your blog! If you guys ever cook something so icky the dog won’t eat it, we’ll know it’s *really* bad!

  6. Oh you are such a brave soul, Erica. I give you credit for giving it a go but quite honestly, I think I’ll pass, lol…

    P.S. Hope you still have that Zee, the Picnic Game is on for this year!!!

  7. I could probably stomach this, the problem again seems to be seasoning…

    Maybe with a honey-baked or smoked ham being used, this would taste great? Maybe sweet instead of dill pickles, and maybe pepper. Ooh, or olives, green ones – then it would taste like an olive loaf.

    I would highly suggest upping the amount of mustard. Too many bread crumbs. Not sure why you would add them to the pickle spread… Just make a ham loaf, bake it, glaze it with a BBQ or honey glaze, and have the pickle relish (we all know that’s what it basically is) on the side as a condiment. Delicious!

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