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This ain’t your mama’s meatloaf. This meatloaf bacon-wrapped smoked and loaded with flavor. So good, you’ll wonder why you haven’t made meatloaf in years.
How to Smoke Meatloaf
Want to really add some flavor to your meatloaf? Try smoking it. Whether you have a pellet smoker, a charcoal grill with wood chips, or a vertical smoker, you can smoke meatloaf for amazing results.
Make sure your smoker is ready to smoke at 225 – 250 degrees. The raw pork in the meatloaf needs to cook evenly and the temperature is key. If you are wrapping in bacon, like the recipe below calls for, you also want a high enough temp to make sure the bacon gets crispy for a better texture. Wrapping the meatloaf in bacon makes a great texture to slice through and really amps up the flavors.
Smoking a single meatloaf (or even a few) in a loaf pan is easy and only takes a few hours from start to finish. Use a mellow wood, like hickory, for a mild smoke flavor. Given meatloaf is usually a mix of beef, pork, and spices, I stay away from fruitwoods and just let the smoke work it’s magic.
Make sure you drain off any unnecessary fat as things get going to avoid soggy or overly greasy meat.
What makes a good meatloaf mix
A great meatloaf has the right mix of pork, beef, and fat. Too much fat and things can become a greasy mess, but a good balance is key to the amazing flavor.
Also, this isn’t a healthy turkey meatloaf, this is a smoked bacon-wrapped meatloaf. So, don’t go cutting calories by skimping on taste.
Having the meat mixed with not too much liquid, but enough bind the egg, spices, and breadcrumbs together.
Also, personally, I like to make sure my meatloaf doesn’t taste like an overgrown meatball. Sure they are both meat formed things, but one I reserve for use in pasta dishes and the other I want piled high with mashed potatoes.
How to keep the meat moist
I can remember the days of slathering my meatloaf in ketchup or gravy, whatever was on hand just to add some moisture back. It was like watching the rain on the desert, the meatloaf would just absorb the liquid like arid drought-ridden earth and I could see the moisture being sucked away right before my eyes.
This may be an exaggeration, but yall know exactly what I am talking about.
To keep a meatloaf moist, you first, must not overcook it. Using a thermometer as mentioned below is key.
And make sure there is enough fat in the mix so that while it cooks, the fat melts, creating a great flavor and locking in moisture. Also, like this smoked meatloaf, wrapping it in bacon goes a long way.
How long to smoke meatloaf
How long to ‘smoke’ anything is such a hard question. So many things affect the temperature and time it takes to run any type of smoker. From the heat source to weather, everything can change the smoking time.
Always go by internal temperature. It’s the number one hard rule for good barbecue. Not only does it remove the stress from ‘how long’ it also guarantees food safety and with that, not overcooking your meat. (Because no one wants dried up meatloaf).
For meatloaf, with the mix of pork and beef all wrapped inside bacon, you want an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. I run a temperature probe for any major cuts that are slated to sit and smoke for hours, but for a meatloaf, where I know at most, it’s only going to be a few hours, I use a quick read digital thermometer, like the Thermapen.
Want more smoked meat inspiration? Try some of my favorite recipes
- Bacon-Wrapped BBQ Fatty
- Easy Vertical Smoked Ribs
- Spicy Deviled Eggs with Chicharrones
- Char Grilled Pork Roast
If you’ve tried my Perfect Bacon Wrapped Smoked Meatloaf Recipe or any other recipe on GirlCarnivore.com please don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know where you found it in the comments below. I get inspired by your feedback and comments! You can also FOLLOW ME on Instagram @girlcarnivore as well as on Twitter and Facebook.
- 2 lbs beef vs bacon mix (see note)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 lbs thick-cut bacon
- Preheat your smoker with good neutral flavor chunks and get it ready for a smoke at 225 - 250 degrees.
- Line a 9" loaf pan with parchment paper or butcher paper.
- Meanwhile, preheat a skillet over medium heat.
- Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan.
- Sautee the onion 5 minutes, until soft.
- Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add in the paprika, chili powder, and red pepper flakes and stir to coat.
- Remove from heat and allow to cook.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, and beef bacon mix.
- Add in the onion mixture.
- Stir to combine well.
- Form into a loaf and gently layer the bacon atop as desired, based on the length of the bacon.
- Place the meat in the prepper loaf pan.
- Smoke the meatloaf over indirect heat until the bacon is crisp and the meatloaf temps at 160 degrees in the center.
- Remove the meatloaf from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes on a write rack before slicing.
I used Porter Road's Beef vs Bacon for this recipe. However, a mix of 50% beef and 50% ground bacon would also do the trick.
The bacon used was R Family farms thick-cut bacon.
Western Wood Hickory Chunks were used for this smoke.
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- 18-1/2 in. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package
- Pink Kraft Butcher Paper Roll - 18 Inch x 175 Feet (2100 Inch) - Food Grade FDA Approved – Peach Wrapping Paper for Smoking Meat of All Varieties – Made in USA – Unbleached, Unwaxed and Uncoated
- Western Premium BBQ Products BBQ Smoking Chips Variety Pack, 4 Pack
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 549Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 178mgSodium: 719mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 44g
Hey, I’m Kita, the Meat Maven, outdoor junkie, campfire connoisseur, adventure-seeking and world traveled recipe developer and photographer behind GirlCarnivore.com. My mission is to break down savory eats and inspire you to get a little grit under your nails while having fun with your food. READ MORE