Best Thing I Ever Made: Alton's Smoked Meatloaf | Food Network

How can you make meatloaf even better, you ask? SMOKE it!

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Smoked Party Meatloaf
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown
Yield: 12 to 14 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Ease of preparation: Easy
Active Time:
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes


2/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 ounces chipotle peppers in adobo, with adobo sauce that clings to them, chopped fine
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
6 ounces ruffled kettle-style barbecue potato chips
3 cloves garlic
1 medium carrot, cut into 6 pieces
1 Fresno chile, seeded
1 medium onion, cut into 8 pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground sirloin
1 pound ground pork
3 large eggs


Combine the ketchup, tomato paste, chipotle peppers and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Remove 1/3 cup of the mixture and set aside.

Pulse the potato chips in the food processor until they are a coarse breadcrumb consistency, approximately 12 pulses. Transfer the potato chips to the bowl with the ketchup mixture.

Combine the garlic, carrots, chile and onions into the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped but not pureed, approximately 10 pulses.

Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch cast-iron pan set over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion mixture, sage and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften and begin to brown slightly, approximately 5 minutes. Add the mixture to the mixing bowl with the potato chip mixture and stir to combine and cool the vegetables slightly. Add the ground chuck, sirloin, pork and eggs and use your hands to thoroughly combine. Shape into a loaf that is approximately 12- by 4- by 2-inch. Make sure to press the meat into a compact, uniform loaf. Wrap the loaf in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

Heat a smoker to 250 degrees F. Place 1 hardwood chunk in the smoker’s wood tray.

Flip over the meatloaf pouch and poke 12 to 15 holes in the aluminum foil package to allow the fat to drain off. Turn the pouch back over. Set the meatloaf in the smoker and place a drip pan on the rack immediately below the meatloaf. Cook for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, open the foil pack and fold down the sides of the foil to create a shallow “pan” around the meatloaf. Brush with the reserved glaze. Insert a probe thermometer into the meatloaf and cook until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F, approximately 40 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the smoker and rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

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27 Replies to “Best Thing I Ever Made: Alton's Smoked Meatloaf | Food Network”

  1. I like Alton Brown, but this recipe was a bust!! No way a 3 lb. meatloaf cooks at 250 degrees in 1:20and I was expecting some “to the moon flavor” that did not deliver. The recipe was followed to the “T” but took 2.5 hours to cook and that was bumping my smoker up to 350 for the last hour before I reached an IT of 145. It was not horrible, it was eatable but I WILL NOT make it again!!! Extremely disappointed.

  2. Dude at work kept talking about he was bringing a meatloaf from a local Texas diner. Mentioned it several time. Alright dude, meatloaf for lunch, big deal.

    It was a smoked meatloaf… Not only the best meatloaf ever, one of the best meals ever. Not your momma's meatloaf for sure.

  3. The meatloaf looks delicious. I love to smoke meatloaf. It has such a great flavor compared to doing it in the oven. Try a pellet smoker, you'll get even better results. Keep smoking!

  4. Sorry Alton, this is the beat meatloaf, and yes, its is smoked.

    Isthmian-Style Meat Loaf

    1/2 cup green olives, either pitted or pimiento-stuffed, finely chopped
    One 2 1/2-ounce jar pimientos, drained and finely chopped
    2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, minced
    2 canned pickled jalapeño chiles, seeds removed, minced
    4 ounces slab bacon, or 2 to 3 thick slices, cut into 1/3-inch dice
    4 ounces boiled ham, cut into 1/3-inch dice
    4 ounces smoked sausage (I use kielbasa), finely chopped
    1/2 cup blanched almonds
    1 large onion, finely chopped
    3 garlic cloves. minced
    2 cups plain dry bread crumbs
    One 5-ounce can evaporated milk
    1 pound lean ground pork
    1 pound lean ground beef
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    One 3 1/2-ounce deviled ham
    3 tablespoons mayonnaise
    1 tablespoon prepared mustard
    3 tablespoons minced Italian parsley (leaves only)

    Preheat the BBQ to 350°F.

    Chop the olives, pimientos, chipotles, and jalapeños as directed above; dice or mince the cured meats as directed above.  Set aside.

    Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake until fragrant and lightly browned, 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and chop coarsely.  Set aside. 

    Brown the non-ground meats in a large fry pan. Remove meat from pan with a slotted spoon. Leaving 1-2TBS of fat in the pan, add the diced onion and cook until caramelized. Add garlic and cooke 3 minutes more.

    Place the bread crumbs in a medium-sized bowl, add the evaporated milk, and let sit for 5 -10 minutes to absorb the liquid while the meat mixture cools slightly.

    Place the chopped pork and beef in a large mixing bowl.  Add the soaked bread and beaten egg; mix lightly.  Add all the other ingredients and mix very thoroughly with your hands.

    Shape the mixture into two loaves and place on a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 1 hour.  Serve hot or (as in the Isthmus) at room temperature.

    Yield: About 10 servings.

  5. I'm surprised youtube still doesn't have an algorithm for detecting hard panned audio and offer to fix/automatically fix it. Or do they and they just didn't use it?

  6. Alton's a better cook that I will ever be, but as someone who smokes meat once or twice a month I have trouble imagining he's getting much smoke flavor from a brief exposure of 1/4 of the meat to the smoke.

  7. Alton has always been, to me at least, the Bill Nye of food. He just has this way of explaining things that really make you listen. Personality really does go a long way. And has anyone tried this recipe themselves yet?

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