We opted for an all-beef meatloaf rather than the traditional mix of beef, veal and pork because we wanted that satisfying big beef flavor. Milk adds richness and tenderizes the meat, preventing it from getting tough or dry. We also cook the onion instead of adding it raw as many recipes suggest, which imparts a welcome sweetness and eliminates that harsh raw onion flavor.
Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Whisk the eggs, milk, Worcestershire sauce and 2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl until completely combined. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and lightly golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add 3 tablespoons of the ketchup and cook until most of the moisture has evaporated and the mixture is thick and brick red colored, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the onions cool slightly. Then add them to the beaten eggs and mix to combine.
Add the beef to the egg and onion mixture. Break up the meat with a fork or wooden spoon, and then mix to thoroughly combine; you don't want to see any lumps of raw beef. Add the panko and mix to combine. Stir the meat vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 7 seconds; it will become more homogenous and tackier.
Transfer the meat to the prepared baking sheet and shape into a 9-by-5-inch loaf. Smooth the top and evenly spread the remaining ketchup over top. Bake for 5 minutes, and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue to bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 150 degrees F, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow the meatloaf to rest for 20 minutes before slicing.
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