Recipe: Aunt Debbie's BBQ meatloaf

By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 07.03.12
You don't want to be the guy who brings a meatloaf to a BBQ fight, but I’m taking an Independence holiday from the Rotisserie League series to bring you this recipe for a wicked smoked meatloaf from my Aunt Debbie. With bacon at the bottom of the pan, it’s a smokehouse version of a classic country meatloaf even when it’s cooked in the oven. But put it on a smoker for a few hours and it becomes a dish you can take to a barbecue without blushing. Note: You can use any 2 pounds of ground meat you like, but I got good results from the fat-to-lean-to-flavor mix of brisket, pork and sirloin. Ask your grocery-store meat counter if they’ll grind brisket for you. The good ones will.
Aunt Debbie's BBQ Meatloaf
Meat mixture:
1 lb. ground brisket
½ lb. ground pork
½ lb. ground sirloin
1 egg, beaten
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
½ cup chopped onions
2 tsp. fresh chopped parsley
¾ cup milk
½ cup ketchup
2 tsp. A1 steak sauce
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
½ tsp. dry mustard
1½ tsp. coarse kosher salt
Ground black pepper to taste
Raw bacon slices to line pan
Spicy Topping:
8 oz. tomato sauce
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. A1 steak sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 cup water
Meat mixture: Combine meat-mixture ingredients except bacon into a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly with your hands. Line a meatloaf pan or casserole dish with raw bacon slices. This adds flavor but also keeps the meatloaf from sticking. Press meat mixture into pan and crack fresh black pepper in a thin layer over the top. Leave about a half-inch of room for Spicy Topping.
Spicy Topping: In a separate bowl, stir together ingredients for Spicy Topping. At this point, you can pour it over the top of the meatloaf, but I get even better results when I reduce it by simmering for about 20 minutes to dissolve the brown sugar and concentrate the flavors.
The oven-baked version: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cover pan with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake for another 30-45 minutes until meatloaf starts to separate from the edges of the pan.
The smoked version: Bring smoker to a steady temperature of 325 degrees. Don’t cover the pan; let the smoke do its work. Close the smoker lid. Cook the uncovered meatloaf for 2-3 hours until it starts to separate from the edges of the pan. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
(Photo by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)