Making pellet grill meatloaf may seem like a strange way to make this main meal classic, but we promise the Traeger grill recipe is a keeper! Making meatloaf on a pellet grill is easy once you know how and we are going to cover all the ins and outs so that you can be confident in this cooking method.
We’ll teach you what temp to cook meatloaf at for best results and how to smoke a meatloaf on a pellet grill for the tastiest meatloaf you’ve ever had! Tender and smoky with a sweet and tangy glaze, this smoked meatloaf recipe is sure to become a BBQ gathering favorite to serve to your guests. The biggest problem with this recipe is that there is never enough!
So read on to find out how to cook this wonderful main dish in your Traeger grill and how to store the leftovers and more.
Ingredients For Smoked Meatloaf Recipe:
Meatloaf pellet grill recipes are delicious. When making Traeger meatloaf, you want to use fresh, quality ingredients for the best results. Here are the ingredients you will need:
For the Meatloaf:
- Italian breadcrumbs – breadcrumbs act as a binder for the rest of the ingredients and result in a firmer loaf for slicing
- Milk – milk helps to lend moisture to the breadcrumbs so that your meatloaf doesn’t dry out too quickly
- chopped onion – while onions add flavor, they also contribute to a moister loaf due to their water content
- ground sage herb – sage pairs beautifully with the meats and adds a savory, herbal earthiness
- dried parsley – dried parsley adds a fresh taste to your meatloaf and brings out the flavor of all the other ingredients
- kosher salt – salt balances all the other flavors out
- Pepper – pepper adds a savory undertone
- Eggs- eggs also act as a binder to hold the ingredients together
- ground beef – Of course, you need the meat for a meatloaf! For best results, choose 70% to 77% lean ground beef. This will result in a juicy, but still firm loaf.
- ground sausage or lamb – For best results, use ground Italian sausage for your meatloaf or ground lamb. Sausage will add more seasonings to your loaf whereas the lamb will add more depth of flavor without heavy seasonings.
For the Glaze:
- Your favorite BBQ Sauce – this will form the base of the glaze
- Apple juice – apple juice thins out the BBQ sauce and adds sweetness
Variations + substitutions
There are several variations and substitutions you can use to alter the taste and texture of any meatloaf recipe to suit your tastes and preferences. Here’s a few to get you started:
- Instead of breadcrumbs, try rolled oats for a more classic meatloaf style.
- Swap out herbs to add different depths of flavor, oregano and basil are delicious in meatloaf!
- Try adding different spices like garlic, cayenne or even clove for an aromatic spin.
- Try out different types of BBQ sauces for a completely different glaze. Hawaiian BBQ with pineapple juice makes for a sweeter loaf, Sweet Chili with apple juice would add an Asian flair, or a Texas-style sauce that adds a bit of heat!
- If the Italian sausage isn’t for you, you can also use any pork sausage in its place.
How to make a Smoked Meatloaf recipe?
Traeger smoked meatloaf is easy to make. Here are 6 easy steps to the perfect meatloaf:
1. Preheat your grill
Set Traeger grill temperature to 225℉ and preheat fully to temp, lid closed for 15 minutes. (Use the Super Smoke mode option available on your grill.)
2. Make the Meatloaf mixture
Combine the breadcrumbs, milk, onion, sage, parsley, pepper, and salt. Add beaten eggs. Add both ground beef and ground sausage or lamb, and mix well.
3. Form the Loaf and Get it on the Grill
Form the meat mixture into a tightly packed loaf. Place the meatloaf onto a wire rack and place it on the grill.
4. Cook and Monitor the Loaf till It comes up to the Correct Temp
Cook the meatloaf for 2 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160℉.
5. Glaze the Loaf
Mix the BBQ Sauce with the apple juice and glaze the meatloaf during the last 20 minutes of cooking.
6. Rest and Serve
Remove the loaf from the grill & let it fully rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with your favorite side dishes and enjoy!
How long do you smoke meatloaf?
Are you wondering how long to cook meatloaf? It’s important to know what temperature a smoked meatloaf should be brought up to in a pellet grill. The best temperature to cook it at is between 225 and 375 degrees fahrenheit. A 2-3lb meatloaf will take approximately 2 hours to cook, sometimes more.
So, what temp is meatloaf considered done? The best way to know if the meat is fully cooked is to check the meatloaf internal temperature with an internal food thermometer.
The internal temp of meatloaf should be brought to at least 160 degrees fahrenheit internally at its thickest section in order to be considered safe for consumption. Anything less is not the safest meatloaf temp.
Tips for Making Smoked Meatloaf:
- Make sure to use a thermometer to check the meatloaf internal temp. It should be at least 160 degrees fahrenheit at its thickest section to be considered safe to eat. This helps to protect against food-borne illnesses.
- BBQ meatloaf recipes are enhanced by the smoke factor of the grill. There are many types of flavored pellets on the market to infuse your meat with. Hickory and apple are very popular!
- Always fully preheat your Traeger grill before putting the meat in it. Your grill is designed to maintain consistent heat and the meat you place in it needs the temperature to be correct in order for the cooking process to go as planned.
You can absolutely make Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf ahead of time. There are three ways this could work:
- You can make the meatloaf mix ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for a day or two before shaping it and placing it on the grill to cook.
- You can make the mix ahead of time, freeze it and simply thaw it overnight in the fridge to shape and cook when you want it.
- Or, you can make the meatloaf from start to finish and freeze it whole or in portions after it has fully cooled. To use, simply reheat the portions or loaf in the microwave or oven until warmed through.
We doubt there will be any but just in case there are, there are several ways you can enjoy your leftover meatloaf:
- Meatloaf sandwiches! You haven’t lived until you’ve had a meatloaf sandwich. Simply toast some bread, put a generous slice of meatloaf on it and toppings of choice. Easy, filling and delicious!
- Shepherd’s Pie. Using crumbled meatloaf, you can easily make a classic shepherd’s pie to enjoy.
- Add it to any recipes that require ground beef. Minestrone soup, spaghetti sauce, hash browns and egg skillet breakfast, fried rice, etc. Crumbled meatloaf works well in just about anything you can dream up!
- Grilled Cheese. Elevate your classic grilled cheese with a slice of meatloaf. You won’t regret it!
Properly stored, fully cooked meatloaf will store 3-4 days in the fridge. The best way to store it in the fridge is to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in a shallow air-tight container.
To extend its shelf life beyond 3-4 days, it’s best to store uneaten meatloaf in the freezer. You can store leftover meat in single portions or as whole loaves for up to 4 months. There’s a few ways to package the meatloaf to ensure it stays fresh and reduces the risk of freezer-burn:
- You can store the meatloaf in freezer-friendly containers that have an air-tight seal.
- Wrap individual slices with freezer paper, freezer plastic wrap or foil.
- Place loaves or slices in freezer storage bags.
What To Serve With Smoked Meatloaf?
Smoked meatloaf is versatile and goes well with any sides. Potatoes, grilled or roasted vegetables, salads, pasta and more are all good choices. The choice is up to you and your guests!
Macaroni and cheese is popular with meatloaf as a side. If you are hosting a BBQ gathering outside, then cold sides such as coleslaw, pasta salad, watermelon and more work well.
Casseroles also go well with meatloaf and are great for larger get-togethers. Sweet potato casserole, tater tot casserole and cheesy potatoes are all delicious accompaniments to meatloaf!
Why does my meatloaf fall apart?
If your meatloaf is falling apart and not slicing well, there are a couple of reasons this could happen.
You didn’t use the correct measurements per recipe.
We get it. Sometimes it’s fun to just eyeball it and make a recipe, but if you use too much meat and not enough binders, then the meatloaf won’t hold its shape properly.
You didn’t use enough binding ingredients.
Eggs and breadcrumbs are what bind all the other ingredients together and they make a firmer loaf as the meat cooks. If you skip either one of these ingredients, you’ll end up with a less firm loaf that is more likely to crumble and lose its shape.
The Best and Easiest Not Your Mama's Meatloaf Recipe
Making pellet grill meatloaf may seem like a strange way to make this main meal classic, but we promise the Traeger grill recipe is a keeper!
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- ½ teaspoon ground sage herb
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 pounds of ground beef
- ¼ pound of ground sausage or lamb
- 1 cup of your favorite BBQ Sauce
- ½ cup of apple juice
- Set Traeger grill temperature to 225℉ and preheat fully to temp, lid closed for 15 minutes. (Use the Super Smoke mode option available on your grill.)
- Combine the breadcrumbs, milk, onion, sage, parsley, pepper, and salt. Add beaten eggs. Add both ground beef and ground sausage or lamb, and mix well.
- Form the meat mixture into a tightly packed loaf. Place the meatloaf onto a wire rack and place it on the grill.
- Cook the meatloaf for 2 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160℉.
- Mix the BBQ Sauce with the apple juice and glaze the meatloaf during the last 20 minutes of cooking.
- Remove the loaf from the grill and let it fully rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with your favorite side dishes and enjoy!
Making meatloaf in a Traeger grill is unique because the smoker option adds so much flavor you normally wouldn’t get by cooking in a regular oven. Smoked meatloaf is a versatile meal that can be served alongside any side, is filling and delicious.
Use different flavor combinations as you wish and you’ve got a meal everyone will love. Because it is so easy to make, we think this will become a go-to recipe for parties, gatherings, celebrations and more. And while it may not be the way mama used to make it, we know it’ll be a family favorite in no time at the dinner table!