For the last three years, Roy and I have owned what I jokingly call “a driveway” in Cypress Trails RV Resort in Fort Myers, Florida. The driveway is actually a lot complete with a pad surfaced with brick pavers, a large tiki hut and a little casita. We didn’t set out to own a patch of land in an upscale RV park, but we got tired of scrambling around every winter trying to reserve a spot for our motor home. So, this is our location for a quarter of every year. It has a distinct culture and smoking and grilling is definitely part of it. For my birthday, the girls gave me a gift certificate to Home Depot and I purchased an entry level electric smoker. It’s a whole different type of cooking and since I am a novice, I have had failures. One night I gave up on smoking a whole chicken after it was still sputtering red juices at 9 p.m. After that, I set aside the notion of smoking whole pieces of meat and decided to do something a bit easier- like a meatloaf! It actually is pretty foolproof and after making three of them, I feel safe sharing it. What I have discovered is that everyone develops their own special relationship with their own smoker in getting to know its little ways and quirks. I have only given general directions below for smoking this meatloaf at 275 Fahrenheit for a couple of hours – it’s got to reach an internal temp of 160 to 165. But hey- an oven can be used too. I’d love to hear some smoking stories; please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smoked Meatloaf – Serves at Least Four
2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
3/4 panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped red and/or yellow bell peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon thyme
scant 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Fire up your smoker (or your oven) : place wood chips- I used applewood- or pellets where they are suppose to be. Fill the water pan up if you choose and set the temperature to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. While the smoker is heating up, assemble the meatloaf.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the ground beef, bread crumbs, onions, diced bell peppers and all the spices until ingredients are well mixed.
With a knife, perforate the bottom of a disposable foil pan.
Place the foil pan on a baking sheet. Inside the pan, form ground beef mixture into a loaf.
When the smoker has reached at least 250 degrees, put the meatloaf in the perforated pan inside the smoker. Stick the internal thermometer deep into the middle of the raw meatloaf. Close the door – remember- if you look, it don’t cook!
After an hour and a half, open the smoker and slather the outside of the meatloaf with barbecue sauce of your choice. Close the door and let the temperature climb up to 275 Fahrenheit again.
About 30 minutes later, the internal temperature should read around 160 degrees Fahrenheit. I let the meatloaf get up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit before I pulled it out. I wanted to be safe and definitely cooked throughout, especially in the middle.
And just for fun…