Smoked Meatloaf

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This smoked meatloaf ain’t your mama’s classic meatloaf! This moist, tender and smoky meatloaf is the perfect, easy addition to the dinner rotation.

Kids these days. They just don’t understand comfort food.

You could ask if they want bbq meatloaf for dinner, and I’d bet most would say no.

But we all know they really mean yes! One bite of this incredibly yummy, tender, smoky meatloaf with its tangy-sweet glaze and they’ll be asking for seconds. Trust!

This smoked meatloaf recipe is dedicated to yes.

Smoked meatloaf on a small baking sheet.

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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 –> Most meatloaf is cooked in a loaf pan, but not this one! This Traeger meatloaf is formed, then placed in a tinfoil boat and placed on a wire mesh cooling rack. This helps to keep your meatloaf intact while transporting it to and from the smoker.

No. 2 –> For the love of all things holy, don’t skip the aluminum foil boat. This will catch all the fat and grease dripping off the smoked meatloaf and keep clean up to the absolute minimum!

No. 3 –> Avoid over-mixing the ingredients. Over-mixed meatloaf is tough meatloaf, and no one wants that.

No. 4 –> Grate your onion. Yes, this may make you cry, but they’ll be tears of joy once you taste your meatloaf! Grating the onions is a trick I learned from Nagy at Recipe Tin Eats, and it helps to hydrate the bread crumbs and impart so much flavor.

Traeger smoked meatloaf with a meater + temperature probe stuck in it.

Key Ingredients

Beef: I am a huge fan of AAA Alberta Beef. Our local beef is the best-tasting beef the world over. For this recipe, I like to use extra lean ground beef or 90% lean beef. If you like, you can substitute some of the ground beef with ground pork.

Spices: The best part of meatloaf is that it’s actually super easy to make, so the spices in this recipe are really simple but really delicious. We’re using garlic, salt, pepper, and a bit of your favorite BBQ rub. My favorite for this smoked meatloaf recipe is leftover rub from my smoked pork butt.

Smoked meatloaf ingredients.

How To Make Smoked Meatloaf

Make meatloaf:

  1. Preheat your smoker to 225f and prepare by making a small tinfoil boat – place it on a wire mesh rack and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, add the breadcrumbs to a large bowl. Grate the onion over the bowl, and toss to coat. This allows all the delicious onion juice to rehydrate the bread crumbs, making for a moist and tender meatloaf.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients, and mix, either with a spatula or by hand. I like to use my hands, it’s easier! While mixing it is important to make sure the ingredients are completely incorporated but avoid over-mixing.
  4. Form the meat mixture into a large loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared aluminum foil boat. Set aside for now.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, vinegar, and brown sugar.
  6. Use a brush to brush a layer of sauce on the top and sides of the meatloaf. Now is a great time to insert your temperature probe!

Smoke meatloaf:

  1. When ready to smoke, keep the loaf on the wire mesh and place it right on the middle grill grate. Position your tinfoil-lined baking sheet on the bottom grate under the meatloaf.
  2. Smoke meatloaf at 225f for 2 hours, baste again, and continue to smoke for another 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165f.
  3. Allow the meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.

What To Serve With Traeger Meatloaf

Make Ahead + Leftovers

Make ahead:

If you’re like me and love batch cooking, this is an awesome recipe to make. It’s simple to make and simple to freeze some for later!

To make ahead, simply prepare the meatloaf and stop before smoking. Once the meatloaf is formed, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze on a baking sheet until frozen, or very firm, 2-3 hours. Then either wrap in tin foil and place in an airtight freezer bag or vacuum seal.

Keep the frozen, uncooked meatloaf in the freezer for up to 3 months before cooking.

To cook, remove from the freezer and thaw overnight in the fridge before smoking meatloaf as per the recipe.

Leftovers:

Smoked meatloaf makes great leftovers. Not only can it be enjoyed as meatloaf again, it can also be used in a number of different ways;

Sliced smoked meatloaf.

Batch + Storage Information

Batch:

I find one batch of this smoked meatloaf is enough to serve 8 people! This recipe can easily be doubled or halved based on your desired quantities. If halving the recipe, the cook time will likely be shorter as the loaf is smaller.

Storage:

Leftover Traeger smoked meatloaf can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

It can be reheated in a small, covered baking dish with 1-2 tablespoons of beef broth. Bake at 300f for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

Sliced Traeger meatloaf.

Variations + Substitutions

  • Smoker: Kevy and I purchased a TRAEGER TIMBERLINE 1300 in June 2019. Our life has changed! It’s such a great machine – we’ve run thousands of pounds of pellets through it and would buy it again and again! Check out all the great SMOKED RECIPES we’ve developed.
  • Temperature Probe: I have and LOVE a MEATER+ MEAT PROBE. The probe itself is really brilliantly designed with a self-charging dock, a minimalistic probe, and really intuitive app.

If you love this recipe, please give it a star rating or leave a comment below! This helps me to create more content you enjoy!

📖 Printable Recipe

Smoked meatloaf on a small baking sheet.

Smoked Meatloaf

Allyson Letal
Smoked meatloaf is full of delicious, savory ingredients, topped with a caramelized tangy-sweet glaze, this recipe is a dinner winner.
4.39 from 55 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Rest Time 10 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 25 minutes
Course Smoked
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 314 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the meatloaf:

  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs or panko
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons BBQ dry rub

For the glaze:

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar packed

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your smoker to 225f and prepare a tinfoil boat and place it on a wire mesh cooling rack.
  • Meanwhile, add the 1 cup fine bread crumbs or panko to a large bowl. Grate 1 large yellow onion over the bowl, and toss to coat.
  • Add in the 2 lbs lean ground beef, 2 large eggs, 4 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper, 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, and 3 tablespoons BBQ dry rub and avoid over-mixing.
  • Form the meat mixture into a large loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared boat. Set aside for now.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the ½ cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, and 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar.
  • Use a brush to baste a layer of sauce on the top and sides of the meatloaf.
  • When ready to smoke, place the wire mesh rack right on the middle grill grate. Position your tinfoil-lined baking sheet on the bottom grate under the meatloaf.
  • Smoke the meatloaf at 225f for 2 hours, baste again, and continue to smoke for another 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165f.
  • Allow the meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Notes

Make ahead:

To make ahead, simply prepare the meatloaf and stop before smoking. Once the meatloaf is formed, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze on a baking sheet until frozen, or very firm, 2-3 hours. Then either wrap in tin foil and place in an airtight freezer bag or vacuum seal.
Keep the frozen, uncooked meatloaf in the freezer for up to 3 months before cooking.
To cook, remove from the freezer and thaw overnight in the fridge before smoking meatloaf as per the recipe.

Leftovers:

  • make meatloaf sandwiches
  • chop it up and use it as the meat in your Instant Pot spaghetti and meatballs
  • Sub the smoked brisket for smoked meatloaf chunks in your smoked chili
  • Batch:

    I find one batch of this smoked meatloaf is enough to serve 8 people! This recipe can easily be doubled or halved based on your desired quantities. If halving the recipe, the cook time will likely be shorter as the loaf is smaller.

    Storage:

    Leftover Traeger smoked meatloaf can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
    It can be reheated in a small, covered baking dish with 1-2 tablespoons of beef broth. Bake at 300f for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

    variations + substitutions

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1gCalories: 314kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 36gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 765mgPotassium: 675mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 237IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 75mgIron: 5mg
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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    Traeger smoked meatloaf pinterest graphic.

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    11 Comments

    1. 4 stars
      This recipe was awful. I followed directions exactly. It was over powering with onion flavor. Enough it ruined the entire meatloaf

    2. 5 stars
      I made this yesterday with a few slight variations:
      I used approximately 3 pounds of 80/20 ground beef.
      I subbed a package of instant mashed potato flakes for the breadcrumbs. Instead of BBQ dry rub I used https://www.alaskaseasoningcompany.com/product-page/smokehouse-mesquite-seasoning-blend and a couple dashes of mustard powder.
      I also used dehydrated garlic since I didn’t have fresh. About two tablespoons.
      For the glaze, I used sweet baby rays original bbq sauce. I put a thin coating of the bbq sauce on the meatloaf and then wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight.
      During the cook, I basted with bbq sauce twice, about an hour-hour and a half apart.
      Instead of a metal grate and baking sheet I used a tin restaurant prep pan to transport and smoke in. It makes for easy cleanup.
      I used Traeger mesquite pellets for smoking.
      I used the MEATER + probe to keep track of the temperature. Total cook time was about 4 1/2 hours with the cold temp outside (about 35 degrees) having the MEATER probe took the guesswork out of the cooking process.
      Will definitely be sharing this and making it again.

      1. Judy, thats a great question! I haven’t tested it outside of the smoker, so I’m not sure how adding liquid smoke or something similar would affect the flavor? Sorry!

      2. Make a container out of heavy duty foil, add chips to that and get them smoking on your grill. Put the ice you are smoking beside the chip container and close the lid of your grill. That is how I did it before I got a smoker.

    3. When I will do this, I will leave the glaze off while smoking then use a cranberry sauce glaze for the final 10 minutes of cooking. Thanks for the idea to smoke meatloaf!

    4. 5 stars
      I substituted a pound of pork sausage for the meat. Instead of two pounds of hamburger.
      I used applewood bbq powder
      And squeezed some of the liquid out of the onions