Last Updated on February 9, 2023 by Anne-Marie
Cook this easy smoked meatloaf recipe in your Traeger smoker or pellet grill. It’s smoky and delicious!
Why this recipe works
I first heard about smoked meatloaf when my husband came home raving about the taste after sampling it at a local restaurant.
It sounded so good that I had to try it at home. Once I did, I had to share this easy smoked meatloaf recipe with you!
Any smoker enthusiast will love to add this tender meatloaf recipe to their weekend meat-smoking ideas.
- gluten-free bread
- ground venison, beef, or turkey
- chopped yellow onion
- grated carrots
- minced garlic
- egg whites
- barbeque sauce
How to make this recipe
Who votes for meatloaf? We do! It’s a terrific meal for lunch or dinner.
1. Set your smoker to 250 degrees F.
2. Soak the bread in warm water in a small bowl – enough to moisten it but not too much so it turns to mush.
3. Place the ground meat in a large mixing bowl.
4. Add softened bread, onion, carrots, garlic, egg, egg whites, and ketchup. Mix with your hands until all the ingredients are incorporated.
5. Put the meatloaf mixture into a smoking meatloaf pan. Or form the meatloaf mixture into a stand-alone loaf.
6. Place the meatloaf on the lower rack, just above the water pan.
7. Add wood chips or pellets to your smoker. Smoke for 3 to 4 hours until the internal temperature registers 160 degrees F on a grilling thermometer.
8. If using a loaf pan, pour off extra juice that gathers on top of the loaf every hour.
9. Brush meatloaf with plenty of ketchup or barbeque sauce about 30 minutes before the meatloaf is finished smoking.
10. Remove the meatloaf from the smoker. Let the meatloaf rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
What equipment do you need?
First, you’ll need a smoker to make this smoked meatloaf recipe.
(Not sure what smoker to buy? Check out my The Best Smoker Grill Combo Guide article.)
You’ll also need the following:
Use a loaf pan or make a stand-alone loaf
When we first made this recipe, I used a regular meatloaf pan. Since the meatloaf mix cooked in its juices, we ended up with a crumbly meatloaf slice that fell apart after cooking.
The next time, my husband drilled holes in a metal loaf pan and sanded off the burrs.
You can do this with a disposable aluminum loaf pan and a knife or buy a meatloaf pan that drain off fat with predrilled holes.
Make sure to use a foil-lined grill basket and the water pan to catch the juices.
Since the ground meat expands as it cooks, it will block the holes. So you’ll need to tip the pan and empty the juices throughout the cooking process.
How to make a stand-alone loaf
Another way is to forego the pan and make a stand-alone loaf with your hands. Or you can use this method:
1. Line your meatloaf pan with plastic wrap.
2. Put the meat mixture in the pan to form a loaf.
3. Then flip it onto a foil-lined cookie sheet. Remove the plastic wrap.
4. Transfer using the foil to place the meatloaf in your pellet grill or electric smoker.
You can cook it right on the rack or foil to keep your smoker clean. You can also transfer it to a grill basket.
Either way, make sure you have a drip pan to catch any grease.
What are the best wood pellets or chips to use?
For your classic meatloaf, here’s what we recommend for a pellet grill or smoker:
Why does my meatloaf fall apart?
Meat loaf recipes can fail because there’s not enough fat in the meat. Don’t go too lean on ground beef or turkey.
If you’re using 100% venison, you must add some ground pork to the raw meat mixture.
Use an 80/20 meat-to-fat ratio for beef, though some people like 70/30 instead. (Same for turkey.)
Add more binders: This recipe uses egg and moistened bread slices instead of bread crumbs.
Add more shredded vegetables (celery, broccoli, and cauliflower) or some shredded cheese.
Can I make this low-carb or keto?
Substitute 1/2 cup of almond flour if you’re gluten-free. Or use low-carb bread.
Instead of grated carrots, use grated or chopped celery, broccoli, and cauliflower.
You can also add 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese.
Finally, use my Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce (Keto, Low Carb) instead of ketchup or regular barbecue sauce.
Can I freeze leftover meatloaf?
Yes, you can freeze leftover meatloaf.
Cool the meatloaf in the refrigerator. Then cut it into slices and wrap it in plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
Frozen meatloaf slices last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat: Thaw frozen meatloaf slices in the refrigerator overnight. Remove aluminum foil and plastic wrap and reheat in the microwave.
Speaking of leftovers, you’ll love this Leftover Meatloaf Sandwiches Recipe for lunch!
Some not-so-traditional meatloaf recipes
If you’re looking for more gluten-free meatloaf recipes, check out my Mashed Potato Stuffed Meatloaf Recipe. It’s a terrific way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.
This Gluten-Free Meatloaf Recipe with Potato Chips & Carrots is dairy-free and foregoes the bread crumbs.
Try this meatloaf-like Easy Homemade Gyros Recipe, which is a great way to make your own gyros.
Serve these desserts
After dinner, serve up these delicious gluten-free desserts:
If you’re following a low-carb diet, try this Keto Pumpkin Mousse Recipe.
Serve this Easy Gluten-Free Apple Peach Pie with Crumble Crust with a scoop of dairy-free vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.
Do you like ketchup or BBQ sauce on your meatloaf?
- 2 pieces gluten-free bread
- 2 pounds ground venison, beef, or turkey (80/20 or 70/30)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup grated carrots
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup egg whites
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup ketchup or barbeque sauce
- Set your smoker to 250 degrees F.
- Soak the bread in warm water in a small bowl – enough to moisten it but not too much so it turns to mush.
- Place the ground meat in a large mixing bowl.
- Add softened bread, onion, carrots, garlic, egg, egg whites, and ketchup. Mix with your hands until all the ingredients are incorporated.
- Put the meatloaf mixture into a smoking meatloaf pan. Or form the meatloaf mixture into a stand-alone loaf.
- Place the meatloaf on the lower rack, just above the water pan.
- Add wood chips or pellets to your smoker. Smoke for 3 to 4 hours until the internal temperature registers 160 degrees F on a grilling thermometer.
- If using a loaf pan, pour off extra juice that gathers on top of the loaf every hour.
- Brush meatloaf with plenty of ketchup or barbeque sauce about 30 minutes before the meatloaf is finished smoking.
- Remove the meatloaf from the smoker. Let the meatloaf rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
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Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 347Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 159mgSodium: 487mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 39g
Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.