This Bacon-Wrapped Smoked Meatloaf has an irresistibly smoky flavor on the outside with a tender center. The bacon is weaved and wrapped around the meatloaf to create a beautiful crispy, caramelized exterior.
» You might be interested in the Pros and Cons of A Pellet Grill and What Kind of Wood Chips to Use in an Electric Grill.
Bacon-wrapped smoked meatloaf is a delicious twist on the classic meatloaf recipe. It involves wrapping a mixture of ground beef, onions, and seasonings in bacon and smoking it until it is cooked through.
This meatloaf has a fancy presentation thanks to the weaved bacon that is wrapped around it. The bacon not only adds flavor to the meatloaf but also helps to keep it moist during the smoking process. The result is a juicy and flavorful meatloaf that is perfect for a family dinner or a backyard BBQ.
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- The food comes out with a perfect crispy or seared exterior that’s both gorgeous and super tasty.
- It’s very portable and can be set up anywhere on a sturdy surface with a power outlet nearby.
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Why Is Meatloaf Good on the Smoker?
Smoking meatloaf is a game-changer. It takes a classic comfort food and turns it into a smoky, savory masterpiece. Here are a few reasons why smoked meatloaf is so good:
- Flavor: Smoking meatloaf infuses it with a rich, smoky flavor that you just can’t get from baking it in the oven. The smoke adds depth and complexity to the dish that elevates it to a whole new level.
- Tenderness: When you smoke meatloaf, it cooks slowly and evenly, which helps to keep it moist and tender. The low and slow cooking method allows the flavors to develop fully and the meat to become incredibly tender and juicy.
- Versatility: Smoked meatloaf is incredibly versatile. You can use any ground meat you like, from beef and pork to turkey and chicken. You can also add in a variety of different seasonings, vegetables, and cheeses to customize the flavor to your liking.
Overall, smoking meatloaf is a fun and delicious way to switch up your usual dinner routine. Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a beginner, this recipe is sure to impress. So get ready to enjoy the best meatloaf you’ve ever tasted!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Ground Beef – We recommend using a fattier blend of ground beef like 80/20 to prevent a dry meatloaf.
- Onion – If you want to add onions to your meatloaf, you want to be sure to dice them very small so they blend in and add flavor, not texture. I like to use sweet onions, but you can use white or yellow too.
- Breadcrumbs – These help bind the meatloaf together. Feel free to use any brand of breadcrumbs that you prefer. I use plain. To add extra flavor, you can use Italian breadcrumbs.
- Garlic – Fresh minced garlic will taste best, but garlic powder can be used as well.
- Tomato Paste – Adds a lovely tomato flavor to the meatloaf that brightens the taste.
- Worcestershire Sauce – Bring a lot of umami to the meatloaf.
- Egg – Acts as a binding agent for the loaf. If you’re allergic to eggs, you can leave it out.
- Salt & Ground Black Pepper – Bring out the other flavors in the meatloaf. Adjust seasoning to fit your tastes.
- BBQ Sauce – Use your favorite BBQ sauce or try our smoky bourbon BBQ sauce.
- Bacon – I used thick cut bacon for this recipe. When you weave the bacon together it adds more support.
- Smoker – I use a Z Grills 700 series smoker for most of my smoking, though I also have a Traeger grill. You can use whatever smoker you have – they all work the same.
- Wood pellets – There are many types of pellets available. If you’ve already got pellets in your smoker, use whatever you have.
- Meat thermometer – Many smokers have a thermometer built in, but if yours doesn’t, get an instant-read thermometer. I love this Thermapen.
How To Make Bacon-Wrapped Smoked Meatloaf
Start by preheating the smoker to 250° F.
In a mixing bowl, combine ground beef with the onion, breadcrumbs, garlic, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, egg, salt, and black pepper. Mix the ingredients together until just combined, being careful not to overwork the mixture. Shape the mixture into a loaf.
Lay out a sheet of parchment paper for weaving the bacon. Lay down 6 strips of bacon in a line just barely touching. Take a new strip of bacon and lay it over the end piece perpendicular then under the next piece back and forth until you reach the end. Continue that was using 5 more strips of bacon. Your final weaved piece should be 6×6.
Place the meatloaf on top of the weaved bacon sheet. Wrap the bacon around the meatloaf and secure it with toothpicks. I was able to make both ends touch but not wrap around the ends.
Place the meatloaf onto the smoker grill with the seam down. Smoke the meatloaf for two and a half to three hours, until the internal temperature reaches 160° F.
To avoid opening the smoker too much only baste with BBQ sauce in the last hour of cooking, every 30 minutes.
Once cooked, remove the meatloaf from the smoker and allow it to rest for five minutes before slicing and serving.
How Long Does it Take to Smoke Meatloaf?
The smoking time can vary depending on factors such as the size of the meatloaf, the temperature of the smoker, and the weather conditions outside.
This 2-pound meatloaf smokes at 250° F for approximately 2 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160° F. However, it’s essential to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature to ensure it’s fully cooked.
It’s important to note that the smoking time can vary depending on the thickness of the meatloaf, the type of smoker used, whether it’s cold and windy outside, and how often the smoker’s lid or door is opened. For example, some recipes suggest smoking meatloaf for up to 4 hours, while others suggest smoking it for only 2 hours.
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Tips and Tricks
- Don’t overwork the meat mixture. Mix the ingredients until just combined, as overworking the mixture can result in a tough meatloaf.
- Make sure your smoker is at the right temperature before adding the meatloaf. A temperature of 225-250°F is ideal for smoking meatloaf.
- Brush the meatloaf with a glaze or barbecue sauce every 30 minutes to add flavor and create a delicious crust.
- Let the meatloaf rest for at least 5 minutes after smoking to allow the juices to redistribute and the meat to firm up.
- Wear food-safe gloves when handling raw meat to avoid any cross-contamination or food poisoning, especially if you’re mixing the meat with your hands.
- Avoid opening the smoker lid too often. It reduces the heat and will lengthen the cooking time.
By following these tips and tricks, you can make the best smoked meatloaf possible and impress your family and friends with your delicious cooking skills.
What Temperature Should Meatloaf be Smoked at?
Most recipes recommend smoking meatloaf at a temperature range between 225°F and 280°F. At this temperature range, the meatloaf will cook slowly and absorb the smoky flavor from the wood chips or pellets used in the smoker.
How to Store Leftover Smoked Meatloaf
- Refrigerating: Wrap the meatloaf tightly in foil or place it in an airtight container. You can also keep it in a loaf pan covered with plastic wrap or foil. It will keep in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
- Freezing: If you have a lot of leftover smoked meatloaf, you can freeze it for later use. Wrap the meatloaf in plastic cling film, then place it in an airtight storage container or freezer bag. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat Smoked Meatloaf
Smoked meatloaf is a delicious meal that can be enjoyed hot or cold. If you have leftovers, you may be wondering how to reheat it without drying it out or losing its flavor. Here are a few simple ways to reheat smoked meatloaf:
Method 1: Oven
Preheat the oven to 225 to 250° F. Place the leftover smoked meatloaf in a shallow oven-safe dish. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of broth or water to keep the meatloaf moist. Cover the dish with foil and reheat for 25-30 minutes. Let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before serving. This method will help the meatloaf retain its moisture and flavor.
Method 2: Microwave
If you’re short on time, you can also reheat smoked meatloaf in the microwave. Place the leftover meatloaf on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 30-60 seconds, or until heated through. Check the meatloaf frequently to avoid overcooking it. Let the meatloaf rest for a few minutes before serving.
Method 3: Stovetop
Another option is to reheat smoked meatloaf on the stovetop. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add a small amount of oil or butter to the skillet. Once the skillet is hot, add the leftover smoked meatloaf and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until heated through. This method will give the meatloaf a crispy exterior.
Whichever method you choose, be sure to check the internal temperature of the meatloaf with a meat thermometer to ensure it has reached a safe temperature of 165°F before serving. Enjoy your delicious leftover smoked meatloaf!
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of bacon is best for bacon-wrapped smoked meatloaf?
Any type of bacon can be used for bacon-wrapped smoked meatloaf, but thicker-cut bacon works best because it is less likely to overcook or burn during the smoking process. It also lends some support to the meatloaf as it cooks.
Can I make bacon-wrapped smoked meatloaf ahead of time?
Yes, you can make bacon-wrapped smoked meatloaf ahead of time and reheat it when you’re ready to serve.
You can also make the meatloaf up and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it.
How do I prevent the bacon from falling off the meatloaf during smoking?
To prevent the bacon from falling off the meatloaf during smoking, make sure to wrap it tightly around the meatloaf and secure it with toothpicks.
What To Serve With It
Before You Go
Since you made it to the end of this article, you might be interested in some side dish recipes to serve alongside. Here are a few more articles we think you might enjoy.
- Delicious Pear & Gorgonzola Salad
- Grilled Mexican Street Corn
- BBQ Chicken Macaroni Salad
- Classic Wedge Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing
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Bacon-Wrapped Smoked Meatloaf
- 2 pounds (907 g) ground beef
- 1/2 onion finely diced
- 1/3 cup (36 g) breadcrumbs
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon (16 g) tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup (79 ml) BBQ sauce
- 1 pound (454 g) thick-cut bacon
- Preheat the smoker to 250° F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef through black pepper. Mix to combine, but don’t overwork. Shape into a loaf.
- Weave the bacon together into a 6×6 sheet. Wrap the weaved bacon around the meatloaf and secure it with toothpicks.
- Place the loaf on the grill and smoke for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 160° F, basting with BBQ sauce every 30 minutes in the last hour.
- Remove from smoker and rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
🥧 If you’re interested in more great recipes, I share all my favorite recipes at A Food Lover’s Kitchen, Instant Pot recipes over at A Pressure Cooker Kitchen, air fryer recipes at Air Fry Anytime, and cocktails and drinks at Savored Sips. Check it out today!
Angie is a dedicated grilling aficionado who has experimented with a wide variety of techniques, equipment, and ingredients, to discover the endless possibilities of flavors and textures that grilling can achieve.