Smoked Meatloaf

I look for any reason that I can to fire up the smoker. A couple days ago, I saw that ground beef was on sale and I bought about 10 pounds of the meat. Meatloaf is a glorious thing in my mind, as it as much a comfort food as any other dish out there. Now meatloaf is delicious in the oven, there is no denying that. But, just imagine how incredible it could be smoked!

Oh yeah!

This smoked meatloaf recipe is very similar to my traditional oven smoked recipe. There are onions, peppers and garlic in the meat mixture. Instead of milk (which I normally add to my meatloaf), I added some BBQ sauce.

Smoked Meatloaf with Bacon Weave-14

Shape the meatloaf into a log/loaf shape and place it on the smoker racks. Then, I like to shake some BBQ rub on the meatloaf for extra spice and flavor. There is no ‘right’ rub for this, but I like to use the rub that I also use for ribs and pork butts. Here is my recipe for Steve’s BBQ Rub.

Smoked Meatloaf with Bacon Weave-15

One of the most important tools for any smoking enthusiast is a digital thermometer. I love ThermoWorks and as seen in the picture, I use their ChefAlarm all the time! For the meatloaf, stick the thermometer probe in so that it is into the center area of the meat.

Smoked Meatloaf with Bacon Weave-16

Start up your smoker and get it up to 250F. Now, regarding wood choice for this smoke, I used hickory, but really, almost any wood will work. My preference for a meatloaf would be hickory, pecan, mesquite, maple or oak.

Looking at the picture above, you can see that I smoked 3 meatloaves. Anytime I have the Bradley Smoker going, I like to fill it as much as possible. One of the meatloaves, I wrapped with a bacon weave. Oh yeah!

This was my first smoke for my new Bradley Original Smoker. It is quite obvious as there is still the silvery shine of the smoker walls! You should see how dark the walls are on my other smoker.


Smoked Meatloaf with Bacon Weave-17

I placed my thermometer on the top of the smoker and the cable ran down through the smoke vent down to the meat. I set the smoker to go off at 142F. Obviously the meat is not done at that temperature, as it needs to go to an internal temperature of 160F. But, at 142F, I brushed on some BBQ sauce.

Smoked Meatloaf with Bacon Weave-18

Once the 142F was reached, the ChefAlarm started beeping and it was time to brush on the sauce. Opening the smoker doors released an incredible aroma. The meatloaf smelled amazing and they looked pretty awesome as well!

Smoked Meatloaf with Bacon Weave-19

Midway, during the smoke process, I flip the racks around so that the meatloaf on the bottom rack was moved to the top. This just ensures an even smoke and cook between all the meatloaves.

Smoked Meatloaf with Bacon Weave-20

Once the meatloaves reached 160F they were ready to be devoured! The sauce thickened on the meat and created a sweet BBQ glaze. These were perfect, sliced and served with mashed potatoes and coleslaw. I also cut a few slices and made smoked meatloaf sandwiches!  I enjoy meatloaves cooked in the oven, but smoking them took it to a whole new level.

Smoked Meatloaf with Bacon Weave-21

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4.87 from 15 votes

Smoked Meatloaf

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 3 -4
Author Steve Cylka

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 onion , minced
  • 1 red pepper , minced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 egg , slightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup BBQ sauce , divided
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp BBQ rub

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, add the ground beef, onion, pepper, garlic, egg, 1/3 cup BBQ sauce, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and cayenne.
  • Using your hands, knead the meat mixture until everything is well combined.
  • Mold the meat into a log/loaf shape and sprinkle with BBQ rub.
  • Start up your smoker and get it to 250F. You can use many different types of wood (hickory, pecan, maple, mesquite). I used hickory for this smoke.
  • Place meatloaf in smoker once the smoker reaches 250F.
  • Brush with remaining 1/3 cup BBQ sauce after about 2 hours of smoking.
  • Remove when the internal temperature is at 160F.

Smoked Meatloaf with Bacon Weave-23

 

About Steve Cylka

Steve is the author of The Black Peppercorn. He is a recipe developer and food photographer. His recipes have been featured on websites like Bradley Smoker, Times Picayune, Buzzfeed, and Basil & Salt. He has also authored and co-authored a couple cookbooks.

43 comments

  1. Now THAT is an intriguing idea. I never would have thought to smoke meatloaf but that looks delicious!

    • Smoked meatloaf is delicious!! I have never made it, but there is a restaurant in Saint Louis on Telegraph that makes this and it is some of the best meatloaf I have ever had!

      • What restaurant is that??? Hendricks BBQ on Main St. In St. Charles makes a Smoked meatloaf with bacon and pepper jack cheese in it that has a Smokey blueberry bbq sauce and caramelized onions on it. It is AMAZING!!!

  2. Hey Steve…all joking aside, how come your smoker looks to clean? OTHER than the racks…I pretty much leave the interior alone, including the v-shaped drip cover…..thought the smokey buildup was actually a plus.

  3. Mine is in the smoker right now. What kind of BBQ sauce do you use? When I cook BBQ meatloaf it always seems a cheap honey bbq sauce works best..

  4. I would have put the bacon one on top so that the bacon grease would drop down onto the other loaves. Oh yeah. Mm.

  5. I just slapped one of these together using your recipe. Got it in the MES 30 with a-maze-n pellet smoker filled with hickory pellets. Can’t wait!

  6. I tried my own meatloaf recipe and smoked it… I’ll never eat meatloaf any other way… but I use tin foil loaf pan’s and poke holes in the bottom… but I put empty ones underneath to catch the grease. .. they come out so moist and tender… the best way to eat meatloaf. ..

  7. What do we do on a cold day in Florida? We cook…lol. Wanted to do a meatloaf on my egg and found Steves. I just made up this recipe to put on my new BGE. While we were in Luckys they had some bacon ends that they had cooked up to let people try. We like them so much we bought some and when I made up the recipe I cut up some small pieces of that bacon and put It into the meatloaf . Steve I hope I don’t let you down I’m a newbie at this, but I will sure let you know as soon as it comes off my egg and try it out.
    Thanks from Jax Beach, fl. ?

  8. I have made this recipe at least 10 times. It is the only way we’ll eat meatloaf. I asked my wife what she wanted to have for dinner on Mothers day. She wants smoked meatloaf. Everybody that has tried it absolutely loves it. Thanks for the awesome recipe.

  9. Well, I’m smoking everything in sight lately. This recipe, with small modifications, is in the pit now… Already smelling fantastic.

  10. Sounds amazing!
    I will have one going in first thing tomorrow morning.

    About how long did yours take?

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Its hard, cause every smoker is different. I have made them so many times and it does vary somewhat cause each time the size of the meatloaf is a little different and it varies if there are lots of stuff in the smoker or just that.

      All that said, I find that 3-4 hours is generally what it takes to cook through.

      Just monitor the internal temp.

  11. Just made this on the Big Green Egg, turned out awesome, 4 hours at 250 was just right, I can see this becoming a family favorite (probably a neighborhood fav too, the neighbors wanted the recipe due to the drifting aroma). Great recipe thanks.

  12. I drilled half inch holes into a old loaf pan. Works great.

  13. Steve, this was incredibly simple and flavorful, and smoked meatloaf is now my #1 way to make meatloaf. I’ve made it 3 times now and wanted to suggest a couple things that worked for me. When I cook the meatloaf I just lay it on a sheet of foil, then kind of roll up the edges to keep the liquid and fat inside. I found an improvement if I pre-fry the meat in a pot for 10 minutes or so first to release most of the water, and to pre-fry the onions, bell peppers and garlic 10 minutes in another pot to evaporate the water. I drain the water (which maybe half was fat, even though I used 93% lean ground beef). I also increased the eggs to 2 and the dried bread crumbs to 1 C to help soak up any excess water. With these small changes I no longer have a 1/2″ deep puddle of liquid at the bottom. I used 1 pkg of bacon (don’t even bother making it without bacon, the bacon, smoke and BBQ sauce metamorphosizes the bacon flavor into outer space) and just laid the slices side by side, overlapping a bit since it will shrink. Also, by pre-cooking the meat/veggies, the cook time drops to around 2 hr 30 minutes. Also, be sure to let it cool completely before slicing (and press the knife straight down, not with a cutting motion, which will rip up the bacon on the top). Thanks for an awesome recipe! I also made the smoked tenderloins, also out of this world.

  14. Do mine on a WSM and they are fantastic!
    I put in jalapeño, Thai, habenero and vegetables we have laying around the house it all goes on some parchment paper with small cuts in the paper so the smoke gets everywhere. Good eats!!
    Always use hot Italian sausage and ground beef. Saltine crackers as the binder.

  15. I found this every enticing. Soo, I now have one in my “Smokin It” electric smoker. You could say the smoker is a Cookshack knockoff. I use 1# beef, 1# venison I ground, and 8oz mild Italian sausage (Hillshire brand) that I removed from its casing. I am rather excited to see how it turns out, unfortunately I forgot to sprinkle it with BBQ seasoning before I put into the smoker. Ohh well! HAPPY SMOKIN to you all!!

  16. Just.put one in.my.smoker
    Can’t wait to taste this for dinner!

  17. Got my smoker for Christmas. I just put my meatloaf in the smoker cannot wait to try this for dinner!

  18. oh my goodnes!! We just finished our smoked meatloaf and it was incredible! Got a little too done . But it was my first try. Will cook for less time next time.

  19. This recipe is a keeper I did wrap mine in bacon and while bacon does make everything taste better it does not let the smoke penetrate the hamburger meat as well because of the high fat in the bacon. Next time I am going to do as one recommended by sauteeing the onions and peppers but I am also going to fry the bacon separately, chop it up into bigger size chunks and mix it in with the meat. I skipped the bread crumbs and used sugar free BBQ sauce as well for my Keto diet and still tasted fantastic. My second one I also put a big chunk of cheddar cheese in the middle and gave it a nice touch. I cooked at 275 and took a little more than an hour I took mine off at 150 internal temp (I like to live dangerously).

  20. Wish me luck guys I’m going to attempt my first meatloaf this weekend and I think I will add some pork sausage in with the ground beef and follow the rest of this recipe as it call some for!

  21. Tried it with the bacon wrap and it was delicious, even my pickiest eater loved it. Thanks for putting your recipe out there.

  22. How far up did you put the rack for just one?

  23. This recipe is outstanding! I have made it twice in the last six weeks (when my husband and I won our first smoker in a raffle), and then once as meatballs for spaghetti (reduced time, of course). We do a family event a few times a year with different types of pastas and sauces, and then a protein (sausage, meatball, etc). Everyone mixes and matches the pastas and sauces and it is great fun. This may be the last protein we ever use! Thank you for sharing!

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