6 servings


Photo: kimberlykv/Flickr

"It's made from real rats, Jared," Dustin tells his poor, gullible brother who is staring at his plate with a combination of horror and fascination. "It is not," Jared says, although I think he secretly wishes it were true. I mean, it is Halloween, isn't it?


  • 750 g lean ground beef
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs , beaten
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce , salsa, or spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 8 hard-boiled eggs , shelled
  • raw spaghetti
  • crisp chow mein noodles
  • carrot slices
  • cooked beans , (you'll soon see why)


  • In a large bowl, with a wooden spoon or (more ickily) with clean, bare hands, combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, barbecue sauce (or whatever you’re using), salt and pepper until well mixed.
  • Now, working with about 1/4 cup (50 ml) of the meat mixture at a time, mould it firmly around a hard-boiled egg. Make sure your young helper completely encloses the egg inside the meat mixture – no holes, please.
  • To achieve a realistic rat-like shape, form one end of the loaf into a point (for the nose), and make the other end rounded. Stick two beans (black beans from the Black and Orange Salad are good) near the pointy end for eyes, one at the end of the point for a nose, two carrot slices for ears and pieces of raw spaghetti for whiskers. Finally, add a chow mein noodle to the rounded end as a tail and – voila! A ratloaf.
  • Repeat with the rest of the meat and eggs, until you have run out of either one or the other – preferably both at the same time. (Remind your young helper not to taste the raw hamburger mixture, and make sure he washes his hands thoroughly if he has touched it.)
  • Arrange the ratloaves on a large baking pan or cookie sheet and bake at 350F (180C) for 30 to 40 minutes. The meat may split slightly in baking but it will still taste great. And look gross.