Monday, June 20, 2016

Fire Roasted Grilla Meatloaf

One of my favorite things to fire roast is meatloaf.  It is one of the ultimate comfort foods to me.  Meatloaf with sides of mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and some greens is better at putting you to sleep than Ambien.  The best meatloaf is making a leftover meatloaf sandwich at 2 or 3 in the morning (speaking of Ambien).  

I like all kinds of meatloaf.  Ones that blend pork, veal, beef, and/or sausage together are tasty but so are ones made just from ground beef.  I like ones with brown gravy as much as I do ones with a sweet tangy tomato based glaze.  I like meatloaf with big coarse chunks of sauteed veggies and ones that have everything so ground up it's basically just sausage.  I enjoy meatloaf that is stuffed with boiled eggs.  I guess what I am saying is:

I will eat meatloaf on a boat,
I will eat meatloaf with a goat.
I will eat meatloaf made with lamb,
I like meatloaf, Sam I Am. 

We made this recipe specifically to go into another recipe.  Well, we weren't very successful in using it in that other recipe, mainly because the two of us ate the entire thing when it was done.  It started off with "just a taste" and you know how that goes.  It's pretty basic but oh so good.

How to make meatloaf on a pellet grill.

I don't like to cook meatloaf in bread pans because it just sits in it's own rendered grease.  They have special wire rack loaf pans that will act as a bread pan but let the grease get away from the meat.  Personally, I just free form mixture in the shape of a loaf and that's it.

For the BBQ sauce, you want something bold, sweet, and thick.  For these two batches, I used Albukirky's Duke City Sweet from my friend, Kirk. Another good one to use is Grilla's Thick and Bold BBQ Sauce which is the sauce that won us 2nd Place at the Memphis In May World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest.  

Fire Roasted Grilla Meatloaf


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion 
  • 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon roasted garlic or chopped garlic
  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup BBQ Sauce
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 teaspoon season salt  
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed

For The Glaze
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup BBQ Sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  1. Saute the bell pepper, jalapeno, onion, and chopped garlic in butter until the veggies are tender, about 8 minutes.  (Skip the garlic if you are using roasted garlic, it's already cooked).
  2. Mix together the ground chuck, red bell pepper, chopped or roasted garlic, and panko bread crumbs.  
  3. Whisk together the eggs, BBQ sauce, black pepper, season salt, kosher salt, granulated garlic, and celery seed.  Fold this mixture into the ground chuck mixture until well combined.
  4. Form the meat loaf mixture into the shape of a loaf and refrigerate it for one hour.
  5. Set up your grill to indirect heat and preheat to 350°f. For a pellet cooker, just turn it on and set to 350°f.   For a kamado style grill like Big Green Egg, Grill Dome, or the Kong, this would be using a heat deflector or plate setter.  For a gas grill, this will be turning on some burners but leaving 1-2 of them off and your food will go over the areas where the burner(s) are off.  For a kettle grill, just bank the coals to the sides, put a drip pan next to the coals and the food will go on the grate above the drip pan.  
  6. Put your meatloaf on the grill, close the lid and let it cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 125°f.  
  7. While the meatloaf is cooking, whisk together the ketchup, BBQ sauce, and dark brown sugar until well combined in a small bowl.
  8. Brush the glaze over the meatloaf to coat the top and sides.  Put the loaf back on the grill with the lid closed and cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°f, about another 30-45 minutes.
  9. Remove the meatloaf from the grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing to serve.
We used 3 grills making this.  I could have done it all on one but I like to keep in practice on using all types of grills.  Yes kamados are my go to grill but like they say in business - if the only tool in your tool belt is a hammer, you'll treat all of your opportunities like a nail.  

Roast garlic on a Big Green Egg Mini-Max.
I roasted a batch of garlic on the Mini-Max.  About once a month we'll buy a bunch of heads of garlic and roast them just to have on hand.  Substitute roasted garlic for any recipe that calls for regular garlic and you'll get a richer garlic flavor and no bitter edge. 

Slice off the tops, drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper.  Roast indirect at 350-400° until tender and lightly browned - 60 to 90 minutes.  Then carefully (zey hot!) squeeze out the pulp and discard the rest.  We keep ours on refrigeration for about a week and use it in everything until its gone (< - - - Vampires hate him).  

The Char-Broil Professional is an excellent grill for outdoor cooking.
I sauteed the veggies on the side burner from my Char-Broil Professional.
I mentioned in my Memphis in May post that I had used a pellet cooker and hell didn't feeze over.  In fact, Alexis and I both really liked the Grilla pellet cooker because it was so easy to use and did a bang up job cooking. We were on the Grilla Grills pro team and it was one of the cookers that we had available for use. Fast forward a few weeks and Grilla gave me one of my very own.  I have a review post coming up but suffice it to say I love this thing so far.

The best pellet cooker I have ever used is the Grilla pellet cooker.
The Grilla pellet grill is a head turner, isn't it?  Pellet cookers like this are heated by burning small pellets of wood and they control temp by adding more or less pellets using an auger.

Cooking meatloaf on a pellet cooker is fantastic.
Since I don't use bread pans, the grease is going to have to go somewhere.  I use a resting rack over a foiled quarter sheet pan to catch the grease.  

No loafing here, the Grilla pellet cooker is the bomb.
Did you notice that the grill lid opens sideways?  That makes it easy to check on your food without letting all of your heat escape.  Typically I open it just a crack to see, I opened it more here for the picture.

Ready to sauce.  This is one of my favorite basting brushes. Normally those sets of grilling tools are pretty much crap.  But my brother bought me a set a few years ago from Williams Sonoma and it still rocks (Thanks Jeff!).  Other than a burn on the handle of the tongs, they still look great and function perfectly.  I like the length of the brush and the angled tip makes it easy to baste right on the grill.

Usually I never sauce anything until the last 10 minutes of cooking but for meatloaf I make an exception, I like it to really cook on there.  It's up to you, if you like it still gooey, then wait until your meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 145°f to sauce it.


So what was that recipe that was going to use meatloaf as an ingredient?  It's a fire roasted meatloaf casserole that was killer.  I'll post that shortly.

*I am not a medical authority and I've never taken Ambien, this was creative license.

[Standard FTC Disclaimer] I received a Grilla pellet grill from Grilla Grills for helping out on their Memphis In May dream team....I was the nightmare part, lol.  I am not contracted with them nor do I receive any compensation from them.