Best Smoked Meatloaf Recipe

Hey food lovers, if you think meatloaf is a relic of the past, think again! Today, we’re giving this classic comfort food a smoky twist that will make your taste buds sing. Whether you’re a backyard BBQ enthusiast or just love experimenting in the kitchen, this smoked meatloaf recipe is a must-try. It’s juicy, flavorful, and guaranteed to impress your family and friends.

smoked meatloaf

Meatloaf has long been a staple in many households, known for its hearty texture and comforting flavors. But have you ever considered adding a smoky twist to this classic dish? Smoking meatloaf infuses it with an incredible depth of flavor that elevates it to new heights.

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Why Smoke Meatloaf?

Smoking meatloaf adds a new dimension of flavor that cannot be achieved through traditional baking alone. The slow cooking process allows the meat to absorb the smoky essence, resulting in a rich, complex taste that enhances the overall experience.

smoked meatloaf

The smoke infuses the meatloaf with a unique taste that complements its inherent savory qualities. This method not only deepens the flavor but also adds a touch of nostalgia, reminiscent of backyard BBQs and outdoor cooking.

Ingredients You’ll Need to Smoked Meatloaf

To make the best smoked meatloaf, you need quality ingredients and a little bit of patience. Here’s what you’ll need:

smoked meatloaf

Lets dive into the preparation of this delicious smoked meatloaf!

Smoked Meatloaf Recipe

Recipe by arwynn


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 2 lbs ground beef (80/20 blend for the best flavor and juiciness)

  • 1 lb ground pork

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (Panko works great)

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 tsp dried thyme

  • For the Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard


  • Prepare Your Smoker: Set your smoker to 225°F and add your favorite wood chips. Hickory, oak, or applewood are excellent choices for this recipe. Make sure the smoker is preheated and ready to go.
  • Mix the Meatloaf Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the ground beef and ground pork. Add the breadcrumbs and milk, letting the breadcrumbs soak up the liquid for a couple of minutes. Then, mix in the eggs, onion, garlic, Parmesan cheese, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and thyme. Use your hands to gently mix everything together until just combined – don’t overmix, or your meatloaf will be tough.
  • Shape the Meatloaf: On a sheet of parchment paper, shape the meat mixture into a loaf. Aim for a uniform shape so it cooks evenly. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack or a disposable aluminum pan with holes poked in the bottom for the smoke to circulate.
  • Smoke the Meatloaf: Place the meatloaf in the smoker and close the lid. Let it smoke for about 2-3 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. This ensures it’s cooked through but still juicy.
  • Prepare the Glaze: While the meatloaf is smoking, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard. Brush this glaze over the meatloaf during the last 30 minutes of smoking to create a beautiful, caramelized crust.
  • Rest and Serve: Once the meatloaf reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. This helps the juices redistribute, making every bite moist and flavorful. Slice and serve with your favorite sides – mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables, or a fresh salad all work wonderfully.

      Pro Tips for Perfect Smoked Meatloaf

      smoked meatloaf
      • Don’t skip the milk and breadcrumbs. They help bind the meatloaf and keep it moist.
      • Use a meat thermometer to ensure your meatloaf is cooked perfectly. Overcooked meatloaf can be dry, and undercooked meatloaf can be unsafe.
      • Experiment with wood chips to find your favorite smoke flavor. Each type of wood adds a unique taste to the meatloaf.

      Popular Variations

      Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf

      Adding a cheese filling, such as cheddar or mozzarella, creates a delicious surprise within the meatloaf. The cheese melts during smoking, adding a creamy, flavorful center.

      Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

      Wrapping the meatloaf in bacon not only enhances flavor but also helps retain moisture. The bacon crisps up during smoking, adding a delightful texture contrast.

      Spicy Versions

      For those who enjoy a kick, adding spices like cayenne pepper, jalapeños, or hot sauce can create a spicy meatloaf variation. Balance the heat with a cooling side dish or sauce.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      What is the best meat blend for smoked meatloaf?

      A mix of ground beef and pork is ideal for flavor and moisture. For a leaner option, ground turkey or chicken can be used, but additional moisture may be needed.

      How long should I smoke a meatloaf?

      Generally, a 2-pound meatloaf takes about 2 to 3 hours at 225°F. The key is to cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.

      What type of wood should I use for smoking meatloaf?

      Hickory and mesquite are popular for their strong smoky flavor, while fruitwoods like apple or cherry offer a milder taste. Experimenting with different woods can help find your preferred flavor profile.

      Can I make smoked meatloaf ahead of time?

      Yes, you can prepare the meatloaf mixture ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to smoke. Smoking it fresh, however, ensures the best flavor and texture.

      What are some good sauces to pair with smoked meatloaf?

      Traditional tomato-based sauces, barbecue glazes, and creative alternatives like honey mustard or balsamic reduction all complement smoked meatloaf well.

      How do I achieve a smoke ring on my meatloaf?

      Start smoking at a lower temperature and use wood with a high nitrogen content. Maintaining good airflow in the smoker promotes smoke ring formation.


      Smoking meatloaf transforms a classic comfort dish into a culinary masterpiece with rich, smoky flavors and a tender, juicy texture. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you can create a smoked meatloaf that will impress family and friends alike. So fire up your smoker and get ready to enjoy a delicious twist on a beloved classic.

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