Meatloaf is another one of those old time comfort recipes that you didn’t know you should smoke. Smoked meatloaf is juicy, tender and delicious!
It is truly the epitome of comfort food. Adding the smoke to it just takes it to a whole other level. It’s the delicious food that you remember your grandmother making but yet with a modern, delicious twist.
It’s as easy as cooking it in the oven, in a bread pan, but it takes a bit more time because you are cooking it low and slow. The moistness, however, will impress you, so it’s really worth the wait.
What you need
For the meat
- ground beef or ground venison – a cheaper cutter of beef is great, like a ground chuck. You don’t really want to use 90% or more, you need some fat to bind it together.
- ground pork – an important part of this dish. We buy a whole pork butt or pork shoulder and grind the whole thing. Then vacuum pack in individual use servings, for later use. It’s much cheaper than buying pre-ground
- fresh bread crumbs – don’t use dried breadcrumbs. You want fresh so they create a good binder. Pro tip: Toss your ends or less than fresh bread in your food processor and pulse a few times. Then place the crumbs in freezer bags and store in the freezer for a quick meal prep idea.
- eggs – use large eggs
- milk – you can substitute non dairy milk to make this lactose free.
- ketchup – or substitute tomato sauce
- onions – yellow onion or white onion
- celery – use tops and ribs
- sage- chopped fresh sage or dried, rubbed sage will both work.
- thyme – fresh or dried thyme will both work
- sea salt or kosher salt
- black pepper
For optional quick BBQ sauce
- brown sugar
- Worcestershire sauce
- white vinegar
- onion powder
- garlic powder
How to make it
Measure milk in a measuring cup.
Soak bread crumbs in milk to soften. This will act as a binder for the meat.
Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well, but gently, so the meat doesn’t get tough.
Shape meat mixture into a loaf of your desired shape.
Place the loaf on a wire rack that is resting on an aluminum covered rimmed baking sheet, for easy cleanup, to catch drips.
Smoke the loaf at 225°F / 110°C for 3-4 hours, until meat measures internal temperature of 165°F / 75°C with an instant read thermometer.
Let meat rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting into slices.
For optional BBQ sauce/ glaze
Meanwhile, mix ingredients for sauce in a small pot. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes until it thickens like BBQ sauce.
In the last hour, baste the meatloaf a couple times with the sauce.
How to store leftovers
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, covered in an airtight container. For longer storage, freeze in vacuum sealed packing for the best storage.
Make an extra loaf and freeze it whole for a quick weeknight dinner when you don’t have time to cook. Remove it from the freezer and thaw in the fridge.
To reheat leftover meatloaf, preheat oven to 250°F /115°C. Wrap in aluminum foil. Place the foil wrapped loaf on a rimmed baking sheet. Heat for about one hour until internal temperature is back to 165°F / 75°C.
You can reheat single serve leftovers in the microwave for a couple minutes. It’s also great cold on sandwiches.
What wood or pellets to use for smoking
You can use a variety of wood or wood pellets for smoking. We like the fruit woods like apple, cherry or pecan. You can also use oak and maple, or hickory and mesquite, for a bolder flavor.
What if I don’t own a smoker?
You can still enjoy smoked meats if you don’t own a smoker. You can use your grill to smoke. Set up your grill so that the fire is only on one side. You will place the meat or vegetable on the side of the grill without a direct flame (indirect heat). This is called indirect cooking.
Add soaked wood to a metal tray (we use a disposable foil pie plate or bread pan). Add another metal tray with water. Place water and wood chips on the side of the grill with the fire. Remember to fill the water if it runs out.
You can also create a similar setup for your oven in a pinch or in the winter.
Side dishes to serve with smoked meatloaf
- Smoked mac and cheese
- Smoked potatoes
- Mashed potatoes
- Simple baked potatoes
- French fries
- Simple noodles with butter
- green salad
- Roasted carrots
More recipes to smoke
- Smoking Oysters
- Smoked Venison Backstrap
- Smoked Pineapple
- Whole Chicken
- Smoked Meatballs
If you have any questions or comments, please ask in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!
I hope you enjoyed the recipe today!
Enjoy. And have fun cooking!
The BEST Smoked Meatloaf
- Soak bread crumbs in milk for 5 minutes.3/4 c fresh bread crumbs, 1/2 c Milk
- Whisk eggs.2 eggs
- Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly, but do not overwork.2 lbs ground beef, 1 pound ground pork, 1/2 c diced onion, 1/2 c diced celery, 1 Tbsp ketchup, 1 tsp ground sage, 1 tsp dried thyme, salt and pepper
- Form meat mixture into a loaf of your desired shape. Place the loaf on a wire rack that is resting on an aluminum covered, rimmed baking sheet, for easy cleanup, to catch drips. Place in preheated 225°/170°C smoker.
- Smoke for 3 hours, check internal temperature. It's done when it measures 165°F /70°C. In the last 1 hour, glaze the top with lots of the sauce.
- Add all ingredients to small pot. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, until thick.3/4 c ketchup, 3 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp worchestershire sauce, 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic, granulated
Originally published January 12, 2023.
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