Smokey Bacon Meatloaf
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Add the chopped bacon to a small saucepan and cook the bacon until it is opaque and has just begun to brown and has rendered fat. Using a slotted spoon, extract the bacon pieces and add them to a medium bowl. Keep the saucepan warm to make the sauce later.
3. Mix the cooked bacon, when cool enough to handle, with the beef, half the onion, the bell pepper, egg, almond meal, paprika, chili powder, oregano, cumin and black pepper. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Blend until just mixed; do not over-mix or the meat will be tough.
4. Press the meat mixture into a loaf pan. You can also shape the mixture into a loaf shape on a rimmed sheet pan or glass baking pan. You can line the pan with parchment or parchment-lined foil for easier cleanup and to help remove the meatloaf.
5. Bake the meatloaf for 45 minutes.
6. While the meatloaf is baking, start the sauce. In the saucepan with the reserved bacon drippings over medium heat, add the remaining onion and cook until lightly brown, about 5 min. Add the tomatoes and water and lower heat to simmer for the remaining time the meatloaf cooks.
7. After the meatloaf has cooked 45 min, add the syrup and vinegar to the sauce, season to taste with salt and pepper, and spoon it over the meat. Return the meatloaf to the oven for 5 min for the sauce to set and for the meat to cook all the way through.
8. Allow the meatloaf to rest a full 10 min before attempting to remove it from the pan or to cut it. Serve slices of meatloaf with the pan drippings at the bottom.