How to Making the Perfect Smoked Meatloaf and Keeping It Safe?
Meatloaf is one of those great comfort food meals that when done right is moist, tender, and delectable. Ground meats, ground beef, ground turkey, ground pork, ground chicken, and ground lamb all require being cooked to specific temperatures to be safe. When you are using ground meats it is critical to get the beef and lamb to 155°F (68°C) if you are making burgers, and with the pork and poultry you need to reach 165°F (74°C). Meatloaf is made by combining the ground meat with other ingredients including eggs and it is critical to cook it to 165°F (74°C) no matter what type of ground meat you are using.
When making meatloaf it is important to keep in mind that you must treat it in the same way that you mix up meatballs. You don’t want to over mix it because it will cause the meatloaf to be tough. Meatloaf correctly mixed will be tender, juicy, and very delectable. Meatloaf has binders in it, eggs, breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, oatmeal, or rice, plus seasonings and herbs. When making a meatloaf you will also add things to it like bacon, diced onions, sometimes diced bell pepper, or chilies. All of these ingredients will cause the meatloaf to get tight, so the addition of shredded cheese and milk or heavy cream will help the meatloaf stay moist during the cooking process, help keep the meatloaf together and prevent it from coming out tough.
- 2 pounds ground meat, if using beef, use a ratio of 1 pound ground beef and 1 pound ground pork, in this recipe I used ground turkey
- ½ med white onion diced
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 2 cups plain breadcrumbs
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup heavy cream
In a large mixing bowl add your meat, onion, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, Italian seasoning, breadcrumbs, and eggs, mix the ingredients together using your hands just until the ingredients are combined. Add the cheese to the mixture and mix it in add up to ½ cup of heavy cream to smooth out the mixture without overmixing. Place the meatloaf into a pan and then top with smoked bacon. Place into a 275°F (135°C) preheated smoker, and add smoking chips and smoke for one hour, after two hours in the smoker, add a light layer of brown sugar to the top and close the smoker and continue cooking for another hour. At the 3-hour mark, you will brush the top with ketchup and close the smoker for another hour. At the 3-hour mark the meatloaf should be at 155°F (68°C) and with the addition of the ketchup by 4 hours cooking time you should be able to remove the meatloaf from the smoker and let it rest for 20 minutes before slicing it to eat. It is important to let it rest. This will allow the meatloaf to normalize and settle. If you mixed your meatloaf well without over-mixing it, you should have a wonderful, moist, tender, and delectable meatloaf. A lot of people like to serve it with mashed potatoes and beef gravy, and a vegetable like green beans or English sweet peas. The addition of the gravy is usually because the meatloaf needs some additional moisture, adds flavor, and goes well with the mashed potatoes. In this recipe I made scalloped potatoes and asparagus.
Scalloped Potatoes Recipe:
- 6-8 boiled red potatoes, cooled and sliced thin.
- ½ medium white onion sliced thin
- Tbsp salt
- Tbsp black pepper
- Tbsp garlic powder
- Tbsp onion powder
- 2 cups shredded cheese
- 1-1 1/2 cups heavy cream.
In a pan, layer sliced potatoes and onions, season with ½ your seasoning, top with half the cheese and half of the heavy cream. Layer a second layer on top of the first, season with the rest of the seasoning, add the remaining cheese until the top is fully covered with the cheese, and add the remaining heavy cream. This will make the wonderful cheese sauce. It is important to boil the potatoes prior to making the scalloped potatoes. If you don’t boil the potatoes, they won’t get done and cook evenly. Cover the pan with foil and place into the smoker when you put in the meatloaf. The scalloped potatoes are going to cook at 275°F (135°C) and will cook for four hours along with the meatloaf.
Asparagus is one of those vegetables that you can cook quick, overcook easily, and make it great or make it bad. If you want to make it a wonderful deep green, then drop it into boiling salted water, and cook it until it changes to a uniform color, pull it out of the boiling water and drop it into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Then you will go forward with your preparation of the asparagus.
For this recipe melt two tablespoons of whole butter, tbsp of minced garlic, and the asparagus you blanched and cooled in ice water, cook it until the asparagus begins to caramelize and takes on color. Once you have it all cooked it is time to plate it and enjoy a great meatloaf dinner.
Once you have all the components for your dinner ready, it is time to plate it up and enjoy a fabulous meal. It is important to remember that the cooking temperature of the meatloaf must get to a minimum of 165°F (74°C). If it goes above, it isn’t a problem, meatloaf is very forgiving, and you want to make sure it is done.
Brown Gravy Recipe:
- 1 tbsp ap flour
- 1 tbsp whole butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 tsp tomato paste (optional)
In a pan melt the butter and add the flour to make a roux. Add the salt and pepper and cook the roux until it is brown, add the beef broth and cook to the desired thickness. At this point if you want to add the optional tomato paste add it and cook it an additional few minutes.
Don’t over mix the meatloaf, make sure you use your X10 to get accurate cooking temperatures, and make sure you fully cook your meatloaf, and you will have an awesome meal.
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