Pellet Grill Smoked Meatloaf
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Pellet Grill Smoked Meatloaf is an easy smoker recipe that's packed with barbecue flavor! With only 7 ingredients, it's ready to pop in your pellet grill in just minutes. Learn how to make this flavorful smoked meatloaf that's the best you'll ever taste!
- Why You'll Love It
- Can Meatloaf be Smoked?
- What if I Don't Have a Smoker?
- Equipment Needed
- Ingredient Notes
- How to Smoke a Meatloaf on a Pellet Grill
- Tips and Tricks
- Recipe FAQS
- What to Serve with Smoked Meatloaf
- Storage and Freezing
- More Beef Recipes
- Need More Smoker Recipes?
- Recipe Card
- Pellet Grill Smoked Meatloaf
Why You'll Love It
- best meatloaf recipe on a pellet grill
- family favorite comfort food
- turns regular meatloaf into a special meal!
- perfect for weeknights or a special occasion
- easy recipe with simple ingredients
Can Meatloaf be Smoked?
Since meat loaf is one of the most popular comfort foods ever invented, why not try smoking it? It's as easy as making a meatloaf and flipping a switch!
The whole family will love pellet grill smoked meatloaf which is a nice change of pace from a classic recipe. It turns out moist, tender and juicy when cooked low and slow on your electric smoker.
Use your pellet grill to make this smoked meatloaf recipe, or you can optionally bake it in the oven (without the smoke of course).
What if I Don't Have a Smoker?
Don't have a smoker? Cook this recipe on a gas grill and use a smoker box (ad) with wood chips. It won't have the same deep smoke flavor you get from an electric smoker, but it's a good option.
If you're looking to buy a smoker, find a pellet grill that will add natural hardwood flavor through indirect heat. I cook on a Traeger Pro Series 22 wood pellet grill (ad) which delivers consistent results and makes smoking a meatloaf so easy anyone can do it!
- large bowl
- instant-read thermometer or wireless model
- butcher paper
- non-stick loaf pan
- stainless steel spatula
- wood pellet grill with hardwood pellets (mesquite or hickory work great)
The secret to making moist and juicy meatloaf is to use 80/20 percent ground beef. Any other percentage or combination might not yield the same results. See recipe card for quantities.
- 80/20 percent ground beef - the perfect combination for savory and juicy meatloaf
- bread crumbs - acts as a binder
- hamburger seasoning - provides additional smoky flavor and spice
- diced sweet peppers - taste amazing when smoked
- diced onion - adds moisture to the loaf
- barbecue sauce - gives this recipe it's signature flavor
- large eggs - binds everything together and keeps it moist
How to Smoke a Meatloaf on a Pellet Grill
SAFETY NOTE: Ground beef must be cooked to an internal temperature of 160º F.
1 - Start by mixing 2 pounds of ground beef with bread crumbs, seasoning, sweet peppers, onion and ¼ cup barbecue sauce.
2 - Mix with clean hands until ingredients are well distributed. Add eggs and mix well.
3 - Transfer meat mixture to a loaf pan that has been greased with baking spray. Press it down in the pan until it forms a loaf.
4 - Invert pan onto butcher paper and tap on the bottom. Meatloaf should release onto the paper easily if the pan has been sprayed.
5 - Preheat the pellet grill to 225º F.
6 - Place the loaf on the grill grate of the smoker with the butcher paper underneath. The paper is porous, so it will allow some of the smoke flavor to come through.
7 - Smoke until beef's internal temperature reaches 160º F. Open lid of smoker and brush BBQ sauce glaze on top of loaf. Close lid for a few minutes and smoke until the glaze is heated (about 3 minutes).
8 - Remove loaf with a spatula. Allow beef to rest on a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Don't have a smoker? To bake meatloaf in the oven, do so for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Use a meat thermometer to make sure it has reached 160ºF before serving.
Tips and Tricks
- This is a great recipe for beginners if it's your first time using a pellet grill.
- If you don't have pellet grill, purchase a smoker box (ad) with wood chips and use it in your gas grill. It's an inexpensive way to add a little smoky flavor. Adding liquid smoke won't produce the same results.
- A meat thermometer is necessary because it's best to cook to temperature instead of time. The goal is to reach 160º F to ensure the meat is fully cooked.
- There's no need to add milk or extra liquid to this loaf. Doing so can make it soggy which could make it fall apart in the smoker. It will be moist and juicy if cooked properly.
It takes about 2 hours from start to finish to smoke a meat loaf at 225ºF. However, some smokers may take longer. It's always best to cook to temperature instead of time. Use an instant read meat thermometer for best results.
Smoked meat loaf is safe to eat once it reaches an internal temperature of 160º F. Stick a meat thermometer into the middle of the loaf to check the temp.
The smoking process sometimes causes a pink hue, especially if it creates a smoke ring around the outside of the beef. This is perfectly normal, but it's not okay if the inside of the meat is raw. Cook ground beef until it reaches an internal temperature of 160º and it will be safe to eat even if it's slightly pink.
Burger seasoning has the perfect flavor for this recipe. It contains dried garlic, salt, black pepper, onion, paprika and natural smoke flavors. It's fine to use a substitute or a BBQ rub if preferred, but the taste may be much different.
- Stuff meat loaf with mozzarella, gouda or cheddar cheese for a nice surprise!
- Baste beef with tomato sauce or ketchup instead of barbecue sauce.
- Use garlic powder, dry mustard and Worcestershire sauce as an optional seasoning.
- Substitute lean ground turkey, sausage or a meat mixture.
- Add a glaze to the top of the loaf made from brown sugar and tomato sauce.
- Create a Mexican flavored meatloaf with chili powder or cayenne pepper.
- Make this recipe with dry Lipton onion soup mix instead of hamburger seasoning.
- Wrap meatloaf mixture in thick slices of bacon and smoke over indirect heat.
- Enjoy it as a meal, or make sandwiches the next day!
What to Serve with Smoked Meatloaf
There are so many sides that taste great with pellet grill smoked meatloaf. The whole family will gobble up these southern side dishes when they cozy up to the dinner table!
- Southern Green Beans - greasy cut short green beans made the southern way
- Redskin Mashed Potatoes - rich, creamy and full of garlicky flavor
- Calico Baked Beans - 3 different types of beans in a smoky barbecue sauce
- Fresh Corn Pudding - a southern side dish made with cream, fresh corn and butter
- Red Skin Potato Salad - the best potato salad you'll ever taste
- Collard Greens with Bacon - collards made the southern way with bacon!
Storage and Freezing
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If freezing, wrap the loaf tightly in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw out in the refrigerator overnight.
The best way to reheat meatloaf is by wrapping it in aluminum foil and baking in a 350 degree oven until it reaches 160º F. You can also place it back on the smoker at 225 degrees, but it will take much longer to reheat than an oven.
The best way to freeze meat loaf is by doing so before it is cooked. Store it in a loaf pan and wrap tightly. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator and cook as directed.
More Beef Recipes
If you like beef as much as we do at our house, you'll love these other dishes...
- Southern Style Meatloaf - classic meatloaf recipe with a brown sugar tomato glaze
- Hearty Beef Stew - creamy and satisfying beef stew that hits the spot
- The Carolina Burger - a cross between a sloppy joe and a hamburger
- Dutch Oven Pot Roast - the best and most tender pot roast you'll ever taste
- Cast Iron Beef Tenderloin - the tender way to make a whole beef tenderloin in the oven
Need More Smoker Recipes?
If you're crazy about using a wood pellet grill, check out these other smoker recipes...
- Smoked Chuck Roast - an easy way and affordable way to smoke a brisket
- Crispy Smoked Chicken Thighs - crispy and flavorful skin-on chicken thighs
- Smoked Chicken Legs - kids love these easy smoked chicken drumsticks!
- Cheesy Smoked Jalapeño Poppers - hot and cheesy jalapeños wrapped in bacon!
Pellet Grill Smoked Meatloaf
*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.
- 1 wood pellet grill and smoker (or use an oven or gas grill)
- 1 wireless thermometer (or instant read thermometer)
- 1 loaf pan
- 1 spatula
- 2 pounds ground beef (80/20 percent)
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 3 Tablespoons burger seasoning (or bbq dry rub)
- ½ cup sweet peppers (diced)
- 1 cup onion (diced)
- ¼ cup barbecue sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray's)
- 2 large eggs (beaten)
- ½ cup barbecue sauce (any flavor)
- Add hardwood pellets to smoker. (Mesquite or hickory work well.) Preheat smoker to 225 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together with clean hands until well blended.
- Transfer meat mixture to a loaf pan that has been greased with baking spray. Press it down in the pan until it forms a loaf, or form a loaf with your hands.
- Invert pan onto butcher paper and tap on the bottom. Meatloaf should release onto the paper easily if the pan has been sprayed.
- Place the loaf on the grill grate of the smoker with the butcher paper underneath. The paper is porous, so it will allow some of the smoke flavor to come through.
- Smoke until beef's internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Open lid of smoker and brush BBQ sauce glaze on top of loaf. Close lid for a few minutes and smoke until the glaze is heated (about 3 minutes).
- Remove loaf with a spatula and place on a serving platter. Allow beef to rest on a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.
SEE NOTES BELOW TO BAKE IN THE OVEN OR COOK ON A GAS GRILL
- SMOKER INSTRUCTIONS: A meat thermometer is necessary because it's best to cook to temperature instead of time when smoking meat. The goal is to reach 160 degrees F to ensure the meat is fully cooked.
- LEFTOVERS: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If freezing, wrap the loaf tightly in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw out in the refrigerator overnight.
- REHEATING: The best way to reheat meatloaf is by wrapping it in aluminum foil and baking in a 350 degree oven until it reaches 160 degrees F. You can also place it back on the smoker at 225 degrees, but it will take much longer to reheat than an oven.
- FREEZING: The best way to freeze smoked meat loaf is by doing so before it is cooked. Store it in a loaf pan and wrap tightly. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator before smoking meat.
- GAS GRILL INSTRUCTIONS: If you don't have smoker, purchase a smoker box (ad) with wood chips and use it in your gas grill. It's an inexpensive way to add smoky flavor. Do not use butcher paper in a gas grill or it will ignite.
- OVEN INSTRUCTIONS: To bake in the oven, OMIT the butcher paper steps and bake in a loaf pan at 350 degrees for 1 hour, then check to make sure the temp reaches 160ºF. The seasonings and sauce will add a nice smoky flavor without infusing actual smoke.
Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.
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This recipe looks amazing. I love the burger seasoning since it has smoke flavor in it, I can still bake this meatloaf in the oven if I want.
My personal opinion, I didn't like the smoked meatloaf. I found the smoke on the meatloaf a little off-putting. I wish I had cooked it in the oven. Sorry, but this was a thumbs down for me.
I'm sorry you didn't like the smoke flavor. It is definitely a different taste. My family absolutely loves smoked meats and this meatloaf is one of their favorite meals. I hope you'll try baking it next time and see what you think.
Yum! Can't wait to try this on the grill!