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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Smoked Meatloaf

4.88 out of 5
62 reviews
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 3 -4


  • 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


  • 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



Did you try this recipe?

Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

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Recipe Rating


  • 5 stars
    Excellent easy to follow recipe. This is the 5th time I have made it and every time it does not disappoint!

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  • Hands down, the absolute best smoked meatloaf recipe ever !!! Everyone I have served it to wants the recipe. It is awesome to make ahead of time, freeze and take on fishing or hunting trips. That way no need to cook dinner after a fun day!

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  • Awesome recipe the second time I made it I added two Serano peppers turned out wonderful on the smoker. Thank you.

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    • Sounds awesome to add a couple serrano peppers.

  • Delicious!!! Best meatloaf ever!!! I’ve shared it with several friends and everyone raves over it!!!

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    • Thanks Sally! So glad everyone enjoys the meatloaf!

  • This is a good recipe. I put green chilies instead of red peppers and half ground beef, half ground pork. You can adjust how you like. Awesome!!!!!

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    • Thanks David! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • my first meatloaf would definitely make again! put a couple slices of thick cut bacon on the top half way through turned out awesome! nice purple smoke ring around the perimeter served on rolls with remaining bbq sauce

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  • 5 stars
    We made this meatloaf at our family gathering for Easter. Everyone bragged on it and there were no leftovers. Even the people that say they don’t like meatloaf love this recipe. We have gotten requests to cook it again. My mom even told me she had been craving it. This is our go-to recipe and will be in our family favorites book.

    • Reply
    • Thanks Jennifer! So glad you enjoy the recipe!

  • 5 stars
    Made exactly per recipe. Outstanding. The only change I’d consider making is carmelize onion before smoking as one previous comment suggested.

    • Reply
    • Thanks Amie! So glad you enjoyed the meatloaf.

  • For your left over meatloaf: Slice it ad fry it in a cast iron skillet til it has a nice crisp layer on each side!!! Awesome with an egg on top for break fast or with some nice spicy collards for lunch!!

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  • 5 stars
    I am astounded at how amazing this turned out! Not only is it the best meatloaf I’ve ever had, but it is 2-3 times better than any other meatloaf I’ve ever had. I was a little weary using venison instead of beef but could not be happier. 10/10 will be using this recipe again.

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    • Thanks so much! We love this meatloaf as well.

  • 5 stars
    My son and I smoked this meatloaf tonight for the family and it was hands down the BEST meatloaf we’ve ever made. Our daughter had a friend over and she commented how good it was too. We ended up doing a bacon weave on it because we all know bacon makes everything better! Thank you for an amazing recipe!

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    • It is so amazing with the bacon weave! Glad you enjoyed it.

    • We made this meatloaf at our family gathering for Easter. Everyone bragged on it and there were no leftovers. Even the people that say they don’t like meatloaf love this recipe. We have gotten requests to cook it again. My mom even told me she had been craving it. This is our go-to recipe and will be in our family favorites book.

      • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Thanks, Steve! For my first round, I put an Italian twist on it and used marinara instead of BBQ sauce and a Mediterranean rub, as I also smoked a big cast iron skillet of ratatouille and stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalaps…amazing! I wish I could attach a picture.

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  • 5 stars
    My wife doesn’t eat red meat so I substitute ground beef with ground turkey. The turkey really has a nice smoke flavor. It is my family’s favorite thing now!

    • Reply
    • I am sure this is great with ground turkey!

  • When I go to the East Texas Fair in Tyler Texas there is a vendor who makes the best smoked meatloaf when I work for the sheriff’s office I get free food and one night I got four just went last night and brought four home again he won’t tell me the recipe but he puts coleslaw on top an wrapped it in bacon yummy

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  • 5 stars
    This meatloaf was incredible. Doing it on the smoker was way more flavorful then in the oven. Everyone loved it. Thanks Steve!

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    • 5 stars
      I use 1/2 venison 1/2 ground beef. Follow everything else in your recipe. This makes a delicious meatloaf, the smoke flavor puts it over the top. This is the first meatloaf my wife will eat and she goes back for seconds. Thanks.

      • Reply
  • 5 stars
    It was perfect. My co workers are still praising me. Thanks for sharing.

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  • I’ve made this meatloaf and it was great. I’ve add shredded cheese to it for an extra bonus. Everyone loves it.

    • Reply
    • So glad that you all enjoyed the meatloaf! We love it as well. I am sure it would be great with some cheese.

  • 5 stars
    Awesome! Like another poster, I used half/half ground beef and pork. This is my second time with this recipe, the first go-round was less than optimal with the onions and peppers too crunchy. This time, I just left the peppers out and pre-sautéed the chopped onion. The bbq sauce I used was similar to your Carolina Mustard sauce, but a little thicker, with Southern Comfort and melted butter in it that I usually use for a mop sauce.

    Oh, it was so good!

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  • 5 stars
    Only change that I made was to use half ground beef and half pork. I course ground my own pork and ran onion and garlic through too. Made a little thinner loaf similar to first two pictures and was ready in 3 hours in electric smoker. Can vary recipe depending on rub and sauce that you use.

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