When it comes to comfort food, a delicious meatloaf is a go-to meal for many. A smoked meatloaf takes that rich, meaty goodness to a whole new level. Forget what you know about cooking it in the oven…take it outside to the grill and be amazed!
One of the wonderful things about meatloaf is that it’s a blank slate and can be adapted to any flavor profile that works with beef. Regardless of what flavors you choose, there are a few key components you’ll want to make sure are in your mix:
- Fat – make sure your meat has plenty of fat or your meatloaf will be dry and crumbly. We recommend 80/20 ground beef plus additional fat content using ground pork, sausage or bacon. Store-prepared “meatloaf mix” will work too.
- Bread or bread crumbs – helps retain moisture and keeps your meatloaf from becoming a big hamburger
- Eggs – helps bind all the ingredients together
If you’re interested in more details about the “how”s and “why”s of meatloaf ingredients, this Serious Eats article is a great resource.
Beyond those core ingredients you can get creative, though the first time you should give this recipe a try without substitutions because it’s fantastic!
- 1.5 lb Ground beef (73/27 or 80/20)
- 0.5 lb Mild Italian sausage
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 c fresh chopped parsley
- 1 c Italian flavored panko bread crumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Use your hands to make sure everything, especially the meats, are well incorporated. Once you have everything mixed, form the loaf. You can either form the loaf by hand or use a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap as a mold. An evenly shaped loaf ensures the meat is evenly cooked. You can cook the loaf on the grill in the pan but removing it from the pan provides much more surface area that will generate that flavorful crust everyone loves, and will allow excess fat to drip into your drip pan and possibly make your meatloaf, dare we say, a bit “more healthy” for you.
We’ll cook the meatloaf at 325 – 350 F so use the lighting instructions for an extended hot & fast cook. Now’s the time to add a wood chunk or two, if desired, to the hot coals. We like Hickory, Cherry and/or Pecan. While the grill is getting up to temperature, coat the meatloaf with your favorite rub to add an extra dimension of flavor. Transfer the meatloaf to a cooling rack to make getting it on/off the grill easy (make sure your rack is oven-safe up to at least 450 F) and place the meatloaf on the indirect side of the grill.
Since this is a hot cook (over 325 F), we aren’t going to put water in the Slow ‘N Sear’s water reservoir. But we do want to make sure the meat picks up lots of smoky flavor, so spritz the loaf with water using a spray bottle prior to closing the lid. Smoke adheres to moisture more easily than a dry surface so this step will help make sure we get a great smoke ring on the meat. Yes, smoke ring on meatloaf!
Cook the meatloaf until the internal temperature reaches 155 F, which should be around 1.5 to 2 hours. If you’d like to add sauce to the top of the meatloaf, we recommend doing so when the internal temperature reaches 140 F. That will give the sauce about 15-20 minutes to set while the meatloaf reaches final temperature.
When the meatloaf hits 155 F, it’s time to get it off the grill and onto the cutting board. Let it rest a few minutes to evenly distribute the heat within the meatloaf. It should rest up to around 160 F.
Slice and enjoy. And don’t forget the napkins!