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This easy smoked meatloaf recipe with a simple BBQ glaze is a delicious way to enjoy classic American comfort food. A great starter recipe for the smoker!

sliced smoked meatloaf with bbq glaze on white platter.

The Easiest Smoked Meatloaf Recipe

I have a lot of recipes for meatloaf on the blog. It’s always been a family favorite and one of my go-to dinners that the whole family absolutely loves. As it’s a little warm for traditional meatloaf in the oven right now, we decided to make meatloaf in the smoker.

I kid you not, this is one of the best meatloaf recipes we have ever tasted! The meat is so tender, and the smoked flavor is amazing! We just upgraded to a larger electric smoker — a Masterbuilt — and this is the first meal we made in it. We have also made ribs, baked beans, mac and cheese, brisket and chicken. But, meatloaf is a great starter recipe for the beginning smoker because it’s almost totally hands off. Just make the loaf as you would normally, and smoke it, adding your favorite barbecue sauce halfway through. Foolproof!

Even though this is a very easy recipe, there are some tricks to making the perfect meatloaf. Since I have made a gazillion meatloaves over the years, I’ll walk you through the process.

ground meat, eggs, cracker crumbs, seasonings, bbq sauce.


You only need a few simple ingredients for this easy meatloaf recipe. Full amounts are in the printable recipe card below.

  • Ground beef — Always look for an 80/20 blend for meatloaf. This has enough fat to prevent the meat from drying out, especially with the longer cooking time.
  • Eggs — look for large eggs. This helps bind the meat mixture.
  • BBQ sauce — I use this instead of ketchup or tomato sauce for this recipe as it goes well with the smoked flavor. Use your favorite store bought barbecue sauce or make your own.
  • Seasonings — Dried minced onion, sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder. For more flavor, smoked paprika would be a great addition.
  • Cracker crumbs — Or dried bread crumbs to help bind the meat and absorb the grease. Buttery crackers (Ritz Crackers) add another layer of flavor.

Equipment — I recommend using a grill topper or similar vented tray to allow the smoke to penetrate the meat as it cooks. Avoid using a loaf pan. Also, a temperature probe and/or instant read thermometer will help make sure the meat is cooked to the right temperature.

How to Smoke Meatloaf

First, preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F. Then, add the eggs to a large mixing bowl, and beat slightly. This helps prevent over mixing the meat, which will lead to a tough meatloaf. We don’t want that!

Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, and gently mix with your hands until all ingredients are combined and you can form the meat mixture into a loaf shape. Place the meat on a grill topper tray, and gently form it into a loaf shape, about 1 1/2 inches thick.

shaped loaf of ground beef on smoker tray.

Next, place the tray with the meatloaf on a rack in the smoker. We like to use a foil pan to catch the drippings. Insert the temperature probe if you are using one (I highly recommend this). We add wood chips at this time. Hickory is my favorite for this recipe, but use your favorite wood here. Smoke the meatloaf for 2 hours.

meatloaf in electric smoker.

Then, brush BBQ sauce over the top of the meatloaf and around the sides. Place the meatloaf back into the smoker, and cook until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. This takes a total time of 4 hours, although cooking times may vary with different smokers.

brush bbq sauce on smoked meatloaf

Remove the smoked meatloaf and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes. This step will allow the juices to redistribute evenly and make the meatloaf easier to slice without falling apart.

Side Dishes for Smoked Meatloaf

We love mashed potatoes and peas with any meatloaf. But you can make brown sugar baked beans in your smoker along with the meatloaf. They take about 2-3 hours. Or, try Potato salad, creamy cucumber salad or any of these delicious side dishes.

meatloaf cooked in smoker with bbq glaze in backyard.


Store leftover meatloaf in an airtight container your refrigerator for 3-4 days. It makes the best leftover meatloaf sandwich! You can also freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.

Recipe Tip

Use an 80/20 blend of ground beef. Avoid lean ground beef.

Don’t over mix the meat. When you can form a loaf, it is ready to go.

Use your favorite wood chips. Hickory, mesquite and cherry are our favorites.

Let meatloaf rest before cutting so it won’t fall apart.

Cook times may vary with different brands of smokers. Use a good meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature is 160 degreesF.

More Easy Meatloaf Recipes to Try

You can use your favorite recipe or try one of these variations next time. Mom’s Lipton Onion Soup Meatloaf uses soup mix for extra flavor. Grandma’s Quaker Oats Meatloaf uses oatmeal instead of bread or crackers. Stovetop Stuffing Meatloaf uses a stuffing mix and is super flavorful. Italian Meatloaf combines pork and beef for traditional meatball flavor. For a classic meatloaf, try Meatloaf with tomato sauce. Add cheese for Cheesy BBQ Meatloaf.

5 from 1 vote

Smoked Meatloaf with BBQ Glaze

By: Dee
This easy smoked meatloaf recipe with a simple BBQ glaze is a delicious way to enjoy classic American comfort food. A great starter recipe for the smoker!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Resting time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 pounds ground beef 80/20 works best
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onions
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup Ritz cracker crumbs or dried breadcrumbs


  • ½ cup BBQ sauce
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  • Preheat smoker to 225℉
  • Add the eggs to a large mixing bowl, and beat slightly
  • Add the ground beef, dried onions, garlic powder, salt, pepper, BBQ sauce, cracker crumbs, and mix gently with hands until combined
  • Form into loaf shape, and place on grill topper (tray with vent holes)
  • Place meatloaf in smoker. Insert temperature probe, if using. Add woodchips, and cook for 2 hours. Brush with BBQ sauce, and cook for 2 more hours or until internal temperature is 160℉ according to a meat thermometer
  • Remove from smoker, and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing


We use a Masterbuilt Electric smoker, but the basic recipe can be used with any smoker.
Use your favorite BBQ sauce here. Use your favorite wood chips — I like hickory, cherry and mesquite.
Use a grill topper or similar tray with holes for venting. This allows the smoke to penetrate the loaf.
Be careful not to overmix the meat. When you can form it into a loaf, it is ready to go.
Total cooking time may vary with different smokers.


Calories: 300kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 102mg, Sodium: 555mg, Potassium: 326mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 103IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 36mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main
Cuisine: American
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Recipe Rating


  1. Meryl says:

    Wow! The best flavor ever! A true set it and forget it entree! Will be making this often!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      I’m glad you liked the meatloaf, Meryl. Thanks!