Smoked meatloaf is one of those things that affects people in a big way. Almost without fail, every time someone tries it they proclaim that they will never eat “oven meatloaf” again.
I love meatloaf of all kinds but I do agree that there is something really special about smoked meatloaf and it takes you by surprise the first time and every time you try it.
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My original rub is exactly what the doctor ordered on this delicious smoked meatloaf and because we call for the rub to go on the inside where it get's all mixed up into the meat, you taste the perfection in every bite.
Coat the top with my delicious barbecue sauce for a flavor that will blow you away!
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- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Smoker Temp: 225-240°F
- Meat Finish Temp: 160°F
- Recommended Wood: Pecan, Hickory or Cherry
- 2 lbs of ground chuck (85/15)
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here)
- 1 cup minced onions
- 1-½ cups Gruyere cheese, grated (I used smoked)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Jeff's barbecue sauce (purchase recipes here)
As I have mentioned in the past when making meatloaf, one of the things to remember is that over mixing a meatloaf will make it tough so you have to find a way to get good dispersion of ingredients without mixing it too much.
For this reason, I decided to try gently pressing the meatloaf out onto a cookie sheet, adding the ingredients one by one onto the top and then rolling it up.
Here is the process that I used but you can add the ingredients in any order that you like or mix them all together first and then add it to the top of the meat.
2 lbs of 85/15 ground chuck.
The meat is gently pressed flat onto a 9 x 13 cookie sheet.
1 cup of bread crumbs.. I used Panko but you could crush saltines as well.
2 eggs are broken into a bowl and lightly whipped to combine the yolk and white. The egg is poured over the top of the meat.
I grated about a cup and a half of smoked Gruyere cheese and added it to the top hoping it would melt into the meat and help to make it more moist.
You have to add some minced onion.. about a cup (1 medium yellow onion).
Finish off the ensemble with a cup of buttermilk and it's ready to roll up.
Proceed to roll up the meatloaf. It doesn't matter if things fall by the wayside or if it's not pretty. This is simply to reduce working the meat too much and it will all come together perfectly in the next step.
Drop the rolled up meatloaf “dough” into a bowl or loaf pan and place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes or even overnight if you want to.
I used a loaf shaped bowl.
Once I was almost ready to cook it, I coerced it out of the bowl on to a Weber grill pan.
The meatloaf ended up being about 2 inches thick.
While the meatloaf is getting cold in the fridge is a great time to get the smoker going.
Set up your smoker for cooking at about 225-240°F with indirect heat.
If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.
This meatloaf will take between 3-4 hours (depending on how thick it is) to reach 160 °F so make sure you have enough smoking wood for at least 2 hours of smoke. If you want to add smoke longer, it won't hurt a thing.
I used pecan but other great woods for meatloaf are hickory (if you want something a little more robust or even cherry which is a great all around smoking wood and really good with beef in my opinion.
Once the smoker is preheated and ready to go, you can place the pan with the meatloaf into the smoker.
As I mentioned, I used a Weber grill pan and these are very handy but you can also use other types of pans as well but it's a great idea to have a way to drain the grease away from the meatloaf while it cooks.
I placed the Weber grill pan on top of a throw away foil pan while it cooked and this allowed the grease to drain away without dripping all into my smoker and creating a mess I'd have to clean up later.
You could also drill holes into a cookie sheet and place it over a disposable pan or you could use a cooling rack over the top of a pan.. just use some imagination and you'll come up with a great way to make it work best for you.
Let the meatloaf continue to cook in the smoker until it reaches about 150°F at which point you'll want to start thinking about brushing on a heavy layer of Jeff's barbecue sauce (purchase recipes here) and giving it plenty of time to caramelize properly.
When the smoked meatloaf reaches 160°F it is perfectly finished and should be removed from the heat promptly.
Be sure to use a tried and true digital thermometer such as the Thermopop for testing the temperature of the meatloaf. This will allow you to scientifically get it done perfectly. This one reads in about 3-4 seconds and is one of my favorites!
Let it rest for 7-10 minutes before slicing into it to let the juices redistribute throughout the meat.
Slice into ½ to ¾ inch pieces and serve.
Get the Digital Recipes for Jeff’s Rub and Sauce
***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!
If I could give these recipes away, I would do that. I really want you to have them! But, then, this is how I support the newsletter, the website and all of the other stuff that we do here to promote the art of smoking meat.
Read these recent testimonies:
Love the sauce and rubLove the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well! ~Peter S.
I tried the rub on a beef..I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while. ~Darwyn B.
Love the original rib rubLove the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future! ~Michelle M.
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- Lay the meat onto a cookie sheet and press it out flat.
- Evenly layer all of the ingredients except for the barbecue sauce on top of the meat.
- Roll the meat and ingredients up and press it gently into a loaf shape.
- Place the meatloaf "dough" into a loaf pan or a loaf shaped bowl and into the fridge for at least an hour or longer.
- Get the smoker ready by preheating it to 225-240°F using indirect heat.
- When the smoker is ready, remove the meatloaf from the bowl and onto a cooling rack or Weber grill pan.
- Place the rack on top of another pan so the grease can drain away and be caught by the pan. This prevents the meatloaf from sitting in grease and getting soggy.
- Use pecan, hickory or cherry wood for smoke and let the meatloaf cook for 3-4 hours or until it reaches 160 in the center as measured by a digital meat thermometer.
- Top the meatloaf with barbecue sauce about 30 minutes before it is finished cooking.
- Let the meatloaf rest for 7-10 minutes then slice into ½ to ¾ inch servings.