Meatloaf with Brown Sugar Glaze

This is truly the best meatloaf recipe I've ever tried. Great meaty flavor, boosted by a tangy glaze and meltingly tender to boot.  Many thanks to those wonderful Cook's Illustrated test kitchen folks!   

Don't skip the brown sugar glaze or the bacon topping. (Tempting, I know.) This makes a great Sunday night meal with baked potatoes and glazed baby carrots on the side.  Yum!

Meatloaf with Brown Sugar Glaze
Adapted from The New Best Recipe, by the editors of Cook's Illustrated
Serve 6 to 8

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup milk
1 lb ground beef (I used organic 100% grass fed)
1 lb bulk pork sausage (check for gluten ingredients)
2/3 cup crushed saltine crackers (use cornflake crumbs for a gluten-free version)
1/3 cup minced parsley
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 tsp cider or distilled white vinegar
8 slices bacon, cut in half lengthwise

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9" loaf pan with parchment paper. Heat oil in a skillet and saute the onion and garlic until soft and yellow.  Set aside.

In a medium-size bowl mix the eggs, thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and milk.  In a large bowl combine the beef and the pork with the crumbs, parsley, and cooked onion and garlic.  Add in the egg mixture and mix until evenly blended and the meat does not stick to the bowl. (It's okay to use your hands.) If it sticks, add milk a couple of tablespoons at a time until it no longer sticks.

Transfer the meat mixture into the loaf pan.  In a small saucepan combine the ketchup, sugar and vinegar.  Brush the top of the loaf with half of the glaze.  Lay the bacon strips across the load, overlapping slightly.  Use a knife to tuck the ends down the sides of the loaf pan.

Bake until the internal temperature of the loaf is 160 degrees, about an hour.  Tent with foil and cool for 15 minutes before serving.  In the meantime, simmer the remaining glaze over low heat until slightly thickened.  Serve slices of meatloaf with the remaining glaze passed separately.