Meatloaf is good in general, cooked in the oven but imagine how perfect this can get when smoked. We love a good old meatloaf and I do love adding little extras to it -you do know me by now and how I like a little twist or two. This time for this meatloaf recipe, I added the smoking and some boiled quail eggs, that's all. Mmmm!
Well, my mum makes drob (haggis) she makes at easter and she adds boiled eggs inside. It is not only prettier but delicious and extra nutritious too. I will publish that recipe super soon.
It doesn't have to be a special occasion to make this meatloaf, but it is great for parties, and it makes a great source of protein. ultimately, it is a very healthy meatloaf recipe since there are no nasty ingredients added to it.
It is all about wholesomeness and homemade food and this is how I think it should be.
- What is smoked meatloaf?
- What type of meat is best for smoked meatloaf?
- Is smoked meatloaf different from regular meatloaf?
- 🥘 Ingredients
- 🔪 How to make smoked meatloaf
- 💞 Substitutions
- 🤹♂️ Variations
- 📦 Storage
- 🤩 Cooking options
- 📍Top tip
- 💭 What is the best wood to smoke a meatloaf?
- 👪 Serving suggestions
- Other meat recipes you may like
- Smoked Meatloaf With Quail Eggs
What is smoked meatloaf?
Smoked meatloaf is a flavorful variation of the traditional meatloaf dish where the meat mixture is cooked using a smoker or grill. It involves combining ground meat with various seasonings, breadcrumbs, eggs, and other ingredients, shaping it into a loaf shape, and then smoking it slowly over low heat. The smoking process gives a unique smoky flavor to the meatloaf, enhancing its taste and providing a delicious twist to the classic recipe. The result is a moist and flavorful meatloaf with a rich, smoky aroma that definitely adds an extra level of enjoyment to the dish.
What type of meat is best for smoked meatloaf?
Smoked meatloaf often features ground beef as its primary meat choice and many traditional meatloaf recipes employ higher-fat ground beef in an attempt to retain moisture, resulting in a heavy and excessively greasy end product. An alternative approach is to opt for leaner ground beef while relying on appropriate cooking techniques and complementary ingredients such as fresh onions, eggs, and milk to introduce moisture. By reducing the fat content in ground beef, the inherent beef flavor can take center stage and absorb the smoky essence during the cooking process, all without the need for additional grease which I am not a fan of. Using ground beef with an 85% lean or even 90% lean ratio strikes a satisfying balance between fat and beef.
For a delightful twist, consider experimenting with bison or other meats like pork, veal, poultry, or even wild ground meats (game) when preparing this smoked meatloaf recipe, just make it exciting!
Is smoked meatloaf different from regular meatloaf?
The main difference between smoked meatloaf and regular meatloaf truly is the cooking method. Smoked meatloaf is cooked on a smoker or grill, while regular meatloaf is baked in the oven.
This smoked meatloaf recipe only requires a few ingredients, here they are:
- mince or ground beef - I use a 5% fat beef
- Quail eggs - these need to be boiled for this recipe
- garlic - fresh garlic will taste the best, but garlic powder will do as well
- salt - I used kosher salt but Himalayan pink salt is as good
- pepper- I used long pepper and it tastes really good
- dried herbs - add your favorite. I have added thyme, rosemary, and oregano
- eggs - helps bind the meatloaf together with the breadcrumbs
- homemade ketchup - I use a homemade one to keep this recipe a made-from-scratch one - it is important to me but use store bought one if you wish
- panko breadcrumbs
- mushrooms - these prevent the meatloaf from drying and make it tasty and keep it juicy - just as we want it
- leeks - add extra flavor - soo good!
- onion - even if you do not like onions add those - just grate them instead of chopping so these will blend in and just add to the flavor and the moisture
- spring onion/scallions - these are to mix and cook together with the leeks and the mushrooms
See the recipe card for the exact quantities and substitutions section below for some more tips and ideas.
🔪 How to make smoked meatloaf
This smoked meatloaf recipe is a delicious spin on the classic meatloaf since it is smoked and hence delivers a wonderfully smoky flavor.
- Gather all the listed ingredients
- Boil the quail eggs
- Cook the mushrooms, onion, and leek mix
- Mix all the ingredients
- Put the mixture into the cooking dish
- Add the quail eggs halfway
- Add the remaining meatloaf mixture
- Cook as desired (see cooking options below).
Hint: You do not have a grill? See the FAQs section below for more tips on achieving the smokey flavor. We are using this BBQ to cook and smoke this meatloaf.
- Gluten-free - instead of panko breadcrumbs, you can use any gluten-free breadcrumbs
- Mushrooms - if you do not like or cannot eat mushrooms, leave those out and choose slightly fattier meat (20% fat instead of 5%)
- Quail eggs - use regular eggs if you do not have quail eggs on hand
- Vegetarian - you can make this vegetarian by adding more breadcrumbs and increasing the mushroom amount and the fresh eggs - see this lentil loaf as an alternative, also a high protein loaf option, totally meat-free.
- Vegan - mushrooms, tofu, chia seeds, vegan bacon
- Make it spicy - add chili flakes or banana peppers to the mixture;
- Deluxe - add nuts (peanuts or cashew nuts) to make it super fancy;
- Extra flavor - add Worchester sauce, allspice, or nutmeg for extra flavor.
Once cool, store in an airtight
🤩 Cooking options
This is my go-to method since I have this cool BBQ that does smoking as well. I simply cook it in a heat-resistant (metallic) tin so the meatloaf will have a nice shape too but it could be placed on a cast iron plate too.
Place the pan in the smoker and smoke for 2 hours, or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf reaches 72°C or 160°F.
Place in the tin and cook in a preheayed oven for 40-45 min at 180°C or 360°F.
Don't overcook the meatloaf for the best results so it will remain nice and juicy! Do not worry if you do not have a BBQ, smoker, or pellet grill. You can make this in the oven too. See how, below.
💭 What is the best wood to smoke a meatloaf?
Oak, pear, apple, hickory, or mesquite wood are the best options to get a great smoke flavor for this meatloaf.
Yes, you can add chopped smoked bacon into the mixture and then wrap the meatloaf in smoked bacon rashers and bake in the oven.
Alternatively, place this meatloaf (make it round) place it into a Dutch oven, add a smoking chip of wood inside, cover, and cook in the oven as usual. You will have to allow it to cook uncovered for at least 20 minutes so you will get that nice look.
Also, there is a smoke flavor that you can purchase and add to it but I am the least fan of this method.
There are a few ways to smoke this meatloaf but here is how to do it in a smoker
Yes, absolutely! Here's how.
The meatloaf needs to be completely cool.
Slice it, wrap it in cling film and either wrap it in aluminum foil after or simply place the slices in an air-tight container and freeze for a max of 3 months.
Reheating the frozen meatloaf will have to be done carefully. The slice or slices will need to be thawed in the fridge overnight or for at least 6-8 hours.
Reheat in a pan after removing the wrapping for a couple of minutes on each side or you could reheat in the microwave for 45 seconds to 2 minutes depending on how thick the slice is.
The recommended temperature to smoke meatloaf is around 105°C/225°F to 120°C/250°F. This allows the meatloaf to cook slowly and absorb all the amazing smoky flavor.
The cooking time for smoked meatloaf will vary depending on the meatloaf size and how thick this is. It also varies depending on the temperature you set your smoker or grill. Generally, it can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to smoke a meatloaf. Mine took about 40 - 45 min as it was only a small one.
Well, the readiness of a smoked meatloaf primarily relies on two factors:
- internal temperature and visual appearance.
Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meatloaf. The recommended internal temperature of the meatloaf is a min 71°C/160°F to ensure food safety. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meatloaf, away from the pan, and make sure it reaches the recommended temperature.
A well-cooked smoked meatloaf will have a nicely browned and slightly caramelized exterior but also you will see a slight shrinkage around the edges.
It should be firm to the touch and hold its shape when gently pressed. If it feels too soft or too squishy, it might need more cooking time.
Once you are happy with the internal temperature as well as appearance, your smoked meatloaf is ready to be enjoyed. Remember to allow it to settle once is out of the smoker.
👪 Serving suggestions
This meatloaf pairs well with this delicious Haricot Beans And Tomato Salad or this Crusty Baked (Potato) Spuds or this wonderful Sweet Potato With Mushrooms, Green Beans, And Green Leaves.
Other meat recipes you may like
Smoked Meatloaf With Quail Eggs
- metalic tin or two smaller ones
- chopping board
- smaller pot
- 800g ground beef 5% fat or 95% lean
- 8 quail eggs
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs use gluten-free if needed
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon dried herbs
- 250 g mushrooms cremini /chestnut for extra flavor
- ½ medium leek use the green part
- 4 small scallions spring onion
- ½ cup ketchup I used homemade ketchup
- 1 tsp thyme fresh or dried
- 8 thin rahers bacon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- Prepare your BBQ as you would normally do for a regular BBQ.
- Boil the quail eggs. These only take a minute or two do boil. When finished, peel them and set aside.You can have these boiled in advance.
- Sautee the finely chopped mushrooms together with the finely chopped leek and spring onions/scallions. Add some salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, mix together the ground meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add the sauteed mushroom mix too.
- Place half of the mixture in a loaf pan, add the boiled quail eggs and place the other half over. Smooth out the top.
- Add the bacon rashers over the loaf and brush a coat or two of ketchup.
- Place in the BBQ and cook for a good 30- 40 minutes depending on the heat.
- When ready, allow it to rest for at least 10-15 minutes, take out of the tin, slice and serve.