BBQ Meatloaf: A Savory Twist on a Classic Dish

Meatloaf is a comfort food classic that brings back fond memories of home-cooked meals. While traditional meatloaf is delicious on its own, adding a tangy and smoky twist with BBQ flavors takes it to a whole new level. BBQ meatloaf is a savory delight that combines the familiar flavors of meatloaf with the rich and bold taste of barbecue sauce. Whether you’re cooking for a family dinner or hosting a gathering, BBQ meatloaf is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

What is BBQ Meatloaf?

BBQ meatloaf is a variation of the traditional meatloaf recipe that incorporates BBQ sauce into the mixture and as a glaze on top. It typically includes ground meat, such as beef or pork, combined with breadcrumbs, onions, eggs, and a variety of seasonings. The addition of BBQ sauce infuses the meatloaf with a sweet, tangy, and smoky flavor that adds depth and complexity to each bite.


To make a mouthwatering BBQ meatloaf, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef or a mixture of ground beef and pork
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce (plus extra for glazing)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Feel free to adjust the ingredients based on your preferences and the number of servings you need.

Preparing the BBQ Meatloaf

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and lightly grease a baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, breadcrumbs, chopped onion, minced garlic, eggs, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and black pepper. Mix the ingredients together until well combined. Be careful not to overmix, as this can result in a dense meatloaf.
  3. Transfer the meatloaf mixture to the greased baking dish and shape it into a loaf shape.
  4. Spread an additional layer of BBQ sauce on top of the meatloaf, using a spoon or a pastry brush. This will create a flavorful glaze as the meatloaf bakes.
  5. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 1 hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C). The BBQ sauce on top should be caramelized and slightly sticky.
  6. Once cooked, remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Cooking Methods

BBQ meatloaf can be cooked in the oven or on the grill, depending on your preference and the equipment available. The oven method is more common and convenient, while grilling adds a delightful smoky flavor to the meatloaf.

When grilling, follow the same preparation steps and shape the meatloaf into a loaf shape. Preheat your grill to medium heat and place the meatloaf directly on the grill grates. Cook for approximately 1 hour, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking. Apply BBQ sauce as a glaze during the last 15 minutes of grilling.

Serving Suggestions

BBQ meatloaf is versatile and pairs well with a variety of sides and accompaniments. Here are some serving suggestions to enhance your dining experience:

  • Serve the BBQ meatloaf slices with a generous drizzle of additional BBQ sauce on top for extra flavor.
  • Pair it with classic comfort food sides like mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or macaroni and cheese.
  • For a lighter option, serve the meatloaf with a side salad or steamed greens.
  • Create BBQ meatloaf sandwiches by layering slices of meatloaf between toasted buns and adding lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles.
  • Add a Southern touch by serving the meatloaf alongside cornbread and collard greens.

Tips for Making the Perfect BBQ Meatloaf

  1. Choose a mix of ground beef and pork for a balanced flavor and moisture in the meatloaf. Lean ground meat can result in a dry texture.
  2. Sauté the onions and garlic before adding them to the meatloaf mixture to enhance their flavor and remove any raw taste.
  3. Don’t skip the resting time after baking the meatloaf. This allows the juices to redistribute, making it easier to slice and ensuring a moist and tender texture.
  4. Experiment with different BBQ sauce flavors to find your favorite. Whether you prefer a sweet and smoky sauce or a spicy and tangy one, there are numerous options available.
  5. If you’re using a glaze, apply it during the last 15-20 minutes of baking to prevent it from burning.

Variations of BBQ Meatloaf

While BBQ meatloaf is delicious on its own, you can also explore various flavor variations to suit your taste. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Bacon Lover’s Delight: Wrap the meatloaf with strips of bacon before baking or grilling. The bacon adds a smoky and crispy element to each slice.
  2. Cheesy Twist: Add shredded cheese, such as cheddar or mozzarella, to the meatloaf mixture for a gooey and melty surprise in every bite.
  3. Spicy Kick: Incorporate diced jalapenos or crushed red pepper flakes into the meatloaf mixture for those who enjoy a bit of heat.
  4. Herb-infused: Mix in chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, or rosemary, to add a refreshing and aromatic twist to the meatloaf.

Health Benefits

While BBQ meatloaf is undoubtedly indulgent, it can still be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. Here are some potential health benefits:

  • Protein: Meatloaf is a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues, as well as supporting overall health.
  • Nutrient-rich: Onions and garlic used in the meatloaf provide important vitamins and minerals, along with potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Moderation: Enjoying BBQ meatloaf as an occasional treat, balanced with a variety of nutrient-dense foods, can be part of a healthy lifestyle.

Remember, portion control and moderation are key to maintaining a balanced diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I use different types of ground meat for BBQ meatloaf?Absolutely! You can use a mixture of ground beef and pork or choose one type of meat based on your preferences. Feel free to experiment with different combinations for a unique flavor.
  2. Can I make BBQ meatloaf ahead of time?Yes, you can prepare the meatloaf ahead of time and refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake or grill. This is a convenient option for meal planning or hosting events.
  3. Can I freeze BBQ meatloaf?Yes, you can freeze cooked BBQ meatloaf for later consumption. Make sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container before freezing. Thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating.
  4. Can I use store-bought BBQ sauce?Absolutely! Store-bought BBQ sauce works well in this recipe. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try making your own homemade BBQ sauce for a personalized touch.
  5. Can I make mini BBQ meatloaf instead of a whole loaf?Yes, you can shape the meatloaf mixture into individual-sized portions and adjust the cooking time accordingly. Mini BBQ meatloaf is a fun and convenient option for serving.


BBQ meatloaf offers a delightful twist on a beloved classic, infusing it with the irresistible flavors of tangy and smoky BBQ sauce. With simple ingredients and straightforward preparation, you can create a savory and satisfying dish that will impress family and friends. Whether you choose to bake it in the oven or grill it for that extra smokiness, BBQ meatloaf is sure to become a crowd favorite. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and embark on a flavorful meatloaf journey that will leave everyone asking for seconds.

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