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The Ultimate Smoked Meatloaf (Charcoal/Pellet/Gas Grill)

The Ultimate Smoked Meatloaf (Charcoal/Pellet/Gas Grill)

Smoked Meatloaf is loaded up with ground beef, onions, garlic, Panko, BBQ sauce and seasonings to create a moist and dynamic meatloaf recipe!  All the classic meatloaf flavors you love, hit with an essence of smoke. Serve with a slice of Jiffy Corn Casserole.

Love smoker recipes? Check out our Smoked Chili, Smoked Mac and Cheese, and Picanha

Smoked Meatloaf Recipe

This meatloaf recipe utilizes two pounds of ground beef. When shopping, opt for a 90/10% or 85/15%  mix of ground beef. You don’t want too much fat or too little. 

The total cook time varies, depending on the shape of your meatloaf patty and the weather conditions when cooking. Plan on smoking for 3- 3.5 hours. If your meatloaf patty is on the thinner side, it will take less time to cook than a traditionally thick meatloaf shape.

Ground beef in a clear bowl next to spices.

Meatloaf Seasoning

Minimal common spices are used to season the smoked meatloaf. Together, with the addition of a few wet ingredients, the meatloaf seasoning mix is unparalleled. 

  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

Substitute For Panko Breadcrumbs

If you don’t have Panko breadcrumbs just swap in regular plain or Italian flavored breadcrumbs. No changes to the measurements are needed.

Best Glaze for Meatloaf

What’s the best glaze for meatloaf? Your favorite BBQ sauce, that’s what! 50% of the time we make our own and the other half we call it a day and grab our favorite brand, Sweet Baby Ray’s. A few tablespoons goes directly in the mix and the rest is used as a glaze.

Loaf of meatloaf being glazed with a silicon brush.

Add-in Ideas

This is a highly customizable smoked meatloaf recipe, so adjust to your personal preference. Here are some add-in ideas to get you thinking:

  • Bell Pepper (Finely Diced)
  • Shredded Zucchini (Excess Moisture Removed)
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Minced Garlic

Setting Up The Smoker

Making smoked meatloaf is one of the easiest smoker recipes to make. You can use a gas grill, charcoal grill or electric grill. Consult the recipe card below for the full instructions. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Gas Grill – To make on the grill with propane, you’ll cook it at 225°F. Create smoke by using a smoker box filled with wood chips/chunks. Or you can omit the smoke all-together if you’re not into a delicious smoky flavor. 
  • Charcoal – To make on the grill with charcoal, pre-heat the coals and dump them in the middle of the smoker. Open the vents, as needed, to maintain the temperate between 225-250° F. Create smoke by placing wood chunks directly on the pre-heated coals, right before cooking.
  • Pellet/Electric Smoker (Traeger Meatloaf) – To make pellet grill meatloaf, pre-heat the smoker to 225°F. Follow the manufacture’s instructions to get an even smoke. Traeger Smoked Meatloaf is always a hit! 

Meatloaf on the grill being glazed with BBQ sauce.

Supplies

  • Energy Source – The meatloaf will be on the heat for hours so make sure you stock up on your selected energy source: charcoal, pellets, propane, gas, etc.
  • Smoking Wood (Only Needed If Smoking) –  Chunkschips or pellets.
  • Grill Friendly Baking Sheet and Rack – A good option is a baking sheet placed over a cast iron skillet. You could also use a cedar plank.
  • Smoker Box – You’ll need one to impart the delicious smoky flavor if using a gas grill. We’ve used this one from Amazon in the past. 
  • Always use a meat thermometer when making grilled meat. You want to cook based on temperature, not time. Our go-to digital thermometer is the Thermaworks Dot.

Wood Recommendations

Smoked meatloaf can take on a healthy hit of smoke. For a deeper smoked flavor, opt for oak or hickory wood. For a lighter smoke flavor, go with cherry wood, apple wood, or even pecan. 

Variations

Bison Meatloaf

To make meatloaf with bison meat, swap out equal parts of ground beef. Bison is leaner than ground beef, however the panko, milk and low temp keeps it moist without adding anything else to the mix. Just keep an eye on the temp, to ensure you don’t go over 160°F.

BBQ Meatloaf

This is a meatloaf without ketchup recipe. It’s already a BBQ meatloaf recipe as written. To amp up the BBQ meatloaf even more, throw in a tablespoon of your favorite BBQ rub.

Slices of meatloaf on a blue plate.

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

To make bacon wrapped smoked meatloaf, just wrap a 1/2 lb of bacon slices around the loaf after shaping. Make sure to tuck the ends under the loaf to keep in place. To ensure the bacon wrapped meatloaf cooks properly, forego the 30 minute glazing until the loaf hits 150°F. Then glaze away.

Stuffed Meatloaf Recipe

Interested in making cheese stuffed meatloaf? This one can easily be stuffed with your favorite cheese! You could even use leftover Smoked Queso and Smoked Cream Cheese.

To make, form half a patty with the ground beef mixture, then add the cheese and top with a second ground beef patty. Just make sure you seal the edges tight so the cheese doesn’t ooze out.

Hands mixing ground beef in a large bowl.

Can You Freeze Meatloaf

Yes, you can freeze cooked meatloaf. To freeze, let the meatloaf cool before transferring to a Ziplock bag. It can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Best Sides For Meatloaf

Smoked meatloaf recipes pair extremely well with many side dishes. Here’s a list of our favorite side pieces:

Smoked meatloaf on a gold baking sheet.

Slices of smoked meatloaf on a blue plate.
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Smoked Meatloaf

Smoked Meatloaf is loaded up with ground beef, onions, garlic, Panko, BBQ sauce and seasonings to create a moist and dynamic smoked meatloaf recipe!  All the classic meatloaf flavors you love, hit with an essence of smoke.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 15 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Grill Recipes, Ground Beef Recipes, Smoker Recipes
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 354kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $15

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Ground Beef, 85% or 90% Lean
  • ¾ cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • cup Milk
  • ½ cup Finely Diced Onion
  • 2 large Eggs, Beaten
  • 3 tbsp BBQ Sauce + More For Glazing
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • tsp  Italian Seasoning
  • tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Paprika
  • ¼ tsp Black pepper

Instructions

Prep The Smoker (Pellet or Electric):

  • Load the smoker with the pellet of your choice and pre-heat to 225°F.

Prep The Smoker (Gas or Charcoal):

  • Gas Grill- turn half the burners (on the same side of the grill) to medium-low while the other burners are off. Play around with the burner settings to get it as close to 225°F as possible. Use a smoker box to add chips/chunks of wood for smoking.
    Charcoal- Pre-heat the coals until just ashed over. Dump them on the far side (either left or right) of your grill and open the vents to 25%. Play around with the vent opening to get it as close to 225°F as possible. Create smoke by placing wood chunks directly on the pre-heated coals, right before cooking. 

MAKE THE MEATLOAF

  • Add the milk and Panko to a small bowl and stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes so the Panko can absorb the milk. Add to the ground beef
  • In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients, including the Panko mixture, and mix with your hands to combine. Don't over-mix. Just mix until everything is incorporated.
  • Use your hands to form a meatloaf shape patty or use a bread loaf pan to shape. Make sure to firmly pack the meatloaf patty so it doesn't crumble when cooked. Transfer the patty to a grill-friendly tray (or a baking sheet placed over a cast iron pan).
  • Transfer the meatloaf to the smoker and close the lid. After 30 minutes, glaze with BBQ sauce. Repeat every 30 minutes for a nice BBQ glaze. Cook until the internal temperature is 160°F.
  • Remove the meatloaf to a cutting board and add one last later of BBQ. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Notes

Note 1 - The total cook time varies, depending on the shape of your meatloaf patty and the weather conditions when cooking. Plan on smoking for 3- 3.5 hours. If your meatloaf patty is on the thinner side, it will take less time to cook than a traditionally thick meatloaf shape.

Nutrition

Calories: 354kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 671mg | Potassium: 407mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 117IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 3mg
Recipe Rating




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