First, this recipe was born out of a conversation at a local grocery store, a modification of an Alton Brown recipe, and a little experimentation. Instead of one of those long recipe posts, I’ll give you the short story.
I was buying meat at our local store, to smoke in my smoker (obviously). The clerk, an older gentleman, said, “You know what I like to smoke? My wife’s meatloaf. A light went off in my skull: ground meat, smoke, seemed like a perfect combination. I went home, took some ground beef and ground turkey out of the freezer, and got to work.
Long story short, it turned out amazing, even the first time. But as I progressed, I learned to make things even better. I made small improvements over time. A couple of notes:
First, I would try this recipe the way it is the first time. Then modify it to meet your own tastes. You can add hotter pepper to make it spicier, or less to bring the heat down a little bit. As to bread crumbs: my wife makes these homemade from any bread that goes a little stale. You can use panko, garlic croutons you purchase, or bread crumbs you get from your local market. Either way will work. Better ingredients just make better meatloaf.
Proportions do not need to be exact. Like any other cooking, you can vary this as needed, and you can use whatever ground meat you have on hand. The cooking times will vary as well–your smoker, the ambient outside temp, and more can all be factors. You could also smoke this low and slow, or faster if you are in a hurry. Around 375 will take about an hour, and a lower temp around 225 will take closer to 3 hours before meat comes to temp.
I use applewood for this recipe. Mesquite, hickory, cherry, and others will work equally as well, so again, smoke to your own taste.
With that, let’s get smoking.
|Prep Time||20-30 minutes|
|Cook Time||2-2.5 hours|
|Passive Time||10 minute rest|
- 8 ounces bread crumbs or Panko
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 onion roughly chopped
- 1 carrot peeled, broken, and chopped
- 3 cloves wholegarlic
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 18 ounces ground turkey or ground chuck
- 18 ounces ground sirloin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup catsup
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
- 1 dash Favorite hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup Bourbon (Bulliet Rye preferred)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon molasses (if desired)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
For the Glaze
Optional Substitute Bourbon Glaze
- Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees, or start the fire in your side box smoker, and bring temp to approximately 275. In this case, you will need to have presoaked some wood chunks in water, enough for two hours of smoke in your smoker.
- In the case of a pellet smoker, be sure your hopper contains enough wood for two hours of smoking.
- In either case, I use applewood for this recipe, but cherry wood or mesquite would work as well.
- Using a food processor, combine all spices and the bread crumbs, and pulse until you have a fine texture. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
- Add onion, garlic, peppers, and carrot to the food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, but not pureed.
- Combine the vegetables, ground beef and turkey (or ground chuck), and bread crumbs. Season with kosher salt, add egg, and mix thoroughly. Avoid squeezing the meat if possible.
- You can either form your meatloaf using a 10-inch loaf pan, or you can do like my wife does, and form a loaf by hand. Either way, turn out the loaf in the center of a parchment paper lined baking tray.
- If you have a remote sensor probe, insert it at a 45-degree angle into the meat, not touching the bottom of the tray.
- Place the baking tray in the center of your smoker, and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.
- Whichever glaze you choose to make, combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until well combined.
- Brush over the meat approximately halfway through the cooking process.