Culinary SOS: Wild game meatloaf at Wildcat Willies

The meatloaf at Wildcat Willies includes venison and bison and is enveloped in bacon. Recipe
The meatloaf at Wildcat Willies includes venison and bison and is enveloped in bacon. Recipe
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Times

Dear SOS: On a trip to Zion National Park, we had the most delicious meatloaf at Wildcat Willies in Springdale, Utah. Please ask the chef to share the recipe. I’d love to try it.

Suzy Broeg

Redondo Beach

Dear Suzy: This is one heckuva meatloaf! The recipe starts out tame enough with ground hamburger, but then Wildcat Willies tosses some ground bison and elk into the mix. The restaurant spices it up with steak seasoning, folds in a little marinara to keep it moist and gives it festive color with diced red and green peppers. Then, to gild the lily, the restaurant lines the creation with beautiful strips of bacon, just like a present. (Sigh.) It’s a meat lover’s dream come true. Enjoy!


Wildcat Willies wild game meatloaf

Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Servings: 6 to 8

Note: Adapted from a recipe from Wildcat Willies Ranch Grill & Saloon in Springdale, Utah. Ground bison (also called buffalo) is available at many well-stocked supermarkets. Elk and venison can be found at select specialty stores (or contact your local butcher) and online; ground bison can be substituted (increase the amount of ground bison from one-half to 1 pound).

1 pound hamburger (15% fat)

1/2 pound ground bison

1/2 pound ground elk or venison

1/2 cup diced red pepper


1/2 cup diced green pepper

1/2 cup diced onion

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons panko (Japanese-style) bread crumbs

1 egg


1 1/2 teaspoons Montreal steak seasoning

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons marinara sauce

1 pound bacon

Kosher salt


Freshly ground black pepper

Granulated garlic

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine the hamburger, ground bison and elk or venison. Add the red and green pepper, the onion, bread crumbs, egg, steak seasoning and marinara. Mix the ingredients with your hands, kneading well to thoroughly incorporate. Cover and refrigerate until needed.


3. Line a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan or dish with bacon. Pack the meatloaf mixture into the dish, then very gently invert onto a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle over a pinch each of kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and granulated garlic.

4. Bake the meatloaf for 1 hour, then increase the heat to 400 degrees and continue to bake the meatloaf until the bacon is crisp and a thermometer inserted in the center of the meatloaf reaches 165 degrees, 15 to 30 minutes (timing will vary depending on how quickly the oven heats). Remove and set aside for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Each of 8 servings: 550 calories; 31 grams protein; 18 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 38 grams fat; 13 grams saturated fat; 115 mg cholesterol; 6 grams sugar; 909 mg sodium.