Smoked Meatloaf (Pellet Smoker Recipe) + Video

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Smoked Meatloaf is better than any other meatloaf you may have eaten. It’s juicy on the inside with a crispy exterior and a sweet and smoky flavor. Pair your favorite sides with this smoked meatloaf recipe to enjoy a complete meal without a mess in your kitchen!

titled: Smoked Meatloaf Recipe


Learn how long to smoke a meatloaf at 225°F, plus all my best tips to ensure you get the juiciest meatloaf on your pellet grill!

This is the best meatloaf recipe – and it really does make the best comfort food.

The smoke flavor pairs so well with the meatloaf mixture, and it’s a great option when you want a bit more flavor than a traditional meatloaf recipe. 

Why not take your meatloaf recipe to a whole new level and try out this cooking process?

This easy smoked meatloaf recipe produces juicy and delicious meat and is a good choice to feed a crowd! 

You can pair with your favorite BBQ rub, top with ketchup, or even use your favorite BBQ sauce to cover the whole loaf.

All I know is that the flavor and texture of this juicy meatloaf can’t be topped! 

ingredients to make smoked meatloaf

Smoked Meatloaf

I have been having so much fun using my smoker lately. I had no idea that I could make so many different types of recipes on a Traeger!!

While I’ve tried cooking meatloaf in just about every way possible, I just had to see if I could impart some smokey flavor to the dish.

And, boy, did it pay off! Each bite is bursting with flavor and perfectly juicy, with the added bonus of a crispy crust.

Recipe Video

To see us make pellet grill meatloaf from start to finish, watch the video in this post!

Have you had a chance to try any of the other sensational smoking recipes I’ve shared?

Smoked Baked Potatoes are so easy to make, and Smoked Baked Beans come out super tender with extra savory flavor from the added bacon. 

Both pair perfectly with this smoked meatloaf recipe!

uncooked meatloaf in foil pan next to bowl of bbq sauce and basting brush

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Ground Beef – Opt for high-quality chuck with 15-20% fat content for this smoked meatloaf recipe. 

    If you’d prefer not to use ground beef, then chicken, turkey, pork, and venison are all good options. 

    Keep in mind that ground meats that are lower in fat content may be drier than if you used ground beef. So, you may want to use half and half instead.
  • Chiles in Adobo – Don’t use the whole can! Just remove two of the peppers to include in the meat mixture. Or, leave these out if you’re sensitive to spicy foods.
  • Veggies – A simple blend of onions and bell peppers (plus garlic!) for flavor and texture. These will need to be cooked first. 

    You can swap in other veggies like mushrooms or zucchini, but be sure to remove any excess liquid before mixing with the other ingredients.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs – These create a better texture in the smoked meatloaf and soak up more moisture than regular breadcrumbs.
  • Barbecue Sauce – Use your favorite or make my TSRI Signature BBQ Sauce

    Combine it with some brown sugar to create the glaze — this gets brushed over the meatloaf on the pellet grill before smoking and during the last 30 minutes.
brushing barbecue sauce on food

Tips for Smoking Meatloaf on Pellet Grill

  • Choose meat with fairly high-fat content. Otherwise, your pellet grill meatloaf will be dry. Look for 85/15 or 80/20 blends for best results.
  • Add plenty of moisture. This recipe includes eggs, BBQ sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. For extra moisture, you can add a tablespoon of milk.
  • Cook the vegetables first. It increases the flavor, keeps everything tender, and even adds extra moisture.
  • Soak the breadcrumbs in the egg mixture before you add it to the ground beef. You won’t believe how much of a difference this makes!
  • Don’t overmix. You only need to combine the ingredients until they are well distributed. Too much mixing will make it dry.
smoking meatloaf with bbq sauce

How Long to Smoke Meatloaf at 225

While the cooking time may vary slightly based on the type of meat and other ingredients used, a standard range will be 2 to 3 hours.

Be sure to preheat your smoker to 225°F before placing your meatloaf on the pellet grill. You’ll get a more consistent cook this way.

Finally, it’s more important to rely on internal temperature than exact cooking time. 

I recommend using a digital probe thermometer — you can leave it in the smoker and set the display nearby, giving you accurate readings without needing to lift the lid.

Smoked Meatloaf Recipe FAQ

What are the best wood pellets for smoked meatloaf?

I use a blend of oak, maple, and hickory on my pellet smoker. Fruit woods like apple or even walnut wood are also popular choices.

What temperature should meatloaf be? 

The USDA recommends cooking all ground meat to an internal temperature of 160°F.It’s very important to use a meat thermometer — inserted into the center of your meatloaf — to determine when it’s done.

Can I add other flavors to this classic meatloaf? 

You bet. You can make a beacon weave around the meatloaf and cook that as well, or add some fresh garlic to the seasoning. I always like to add some garlic powder to the uncooked meatloaf and even some chili sauce if you want to add some spice. 

The most important part of keeping this meatloaf flavorful and preventing it from becoming dry meatloaf is not to overcook it. Add your seasoning, then pay attention to the cook time on the recipe card. This will easily become one of your favorite meatloaf recipes as long as you’re following the steps! 

slices of smoked meatloaf on cutting board

Storing and Reheating Pellet Grill Meatloaf

If you have leftovers, place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. They will last for 3 to 5 days when tightly covered.

Freezing Meatloaf

If you like to food prep, place slices of smoked meatloaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour (or until firm). 

Then, transfer the slices to a freezer bag and store for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Reheating Instructions

Warm slices of meatloaf in the oven to 250°F. Place them in a baking dish along with one tablespoon of water, then cover the dish with foil and heat for 30 minutes. 

You can add more barbecue sauce to the top if you prefer as well.

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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smoked meatloaf closeup

Smoked Meatloaf (Pellet Smoker Recipe) + Video

Donna Elick
Smoked Meatloaf is juicy on the inside with a crispy exterior. Pair your favorite sides with this smoked meatloaf recipe for a complete meal!
5 stars from 2 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Smoker
Servings 8


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, or light flavored oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef, 85/15 or 80/20
  • 2 chiles in adobo, chopped (not the whole can!)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup TSRI Barbecue Sauce, or sauce of your choice, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  • Preheat the smoker to 225°F. Choose your favorite wood, I am using my favorite blend of oak, maple and hickory on my pellet smoker.
  • In a medium skillet over medium-low heat saute the onion, bell pepper, and garlic in the oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Cooking at low temp helps to release the sugar in the onions so don’t crank up that temp. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl combine the ground beef, chiles in adobo, eggs, worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, ¼ cup of the bbq sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine. Add in the cooled onion and peppers and mix to combine, do not over mix, just until everything is incorporated.
  • In a 9×13 foil container or container of your choice, form the mixture into a loaf.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and ¼ cup of bbq sauce to a small bowl and mix to combine. Brush half of the glaze all over the meatloaf.
  • Smoke for 2-3 hours, basting with the remaining glaze after an hour and a half. Meatloaf is done when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Let cool at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


Donna’s Notes

The correct meatloaf internal temp is 160°F. It’s very important to use a meat thermometer to determine when your meat is done.
The USDA recommends cooking all ground meat to an internal temperature of 160°F. To check the doneness, insert the thermometer probe in the center of your loaf. 


Serving: 1 | Calories: 272cal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 553mg | Sugar: 14g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 4mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image for smoked meatloaf

Originally published August 2020, updated and republished June 2024

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  1. 5 STARS!!! This recipe is the bomb. However, I must say, I don't have a smoker so I baked it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Slathered the topping on and returned it to the oven for 10 minutes. Perfection. Likely even better in a smoker–but hard to believe that's even possible. I've been craving anything with BBQ sauce or chipotle peppers in adobo sauce so this was a homerun for me. To keep the calories lower, I subbed G Hughes Original sugar-free BBQ sauce. This recipe is also WW and carb friendly. I've made a lot of meatloaves through the years. This is one of our favorites.

  2. Outstanding, didn't have Panko so I used reg. flavored bread crumbs instead. Came out great !,! Thank You !,!

  3. Wonderful! I made this exactly as written and it is delicious. My sons loved it for its spicyness and smoked flavor. I loved the addition of the sautéed green peppers, onions and garlic. Definitely a repeat recipe. Thank you.

  4. Toddy is my third time making this meatloaf – the best snd only way to cook it. I don’t have a dedicated smoker but I always smoke in my Weber. Then I also smoke my baked potatoes – perfect Sunday dinner with no fuss.

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