I Smoked a Meatloaf!

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 yatesyummies@gmail.com.

Smoked Meatloaf – Serves at Least Four


2 pounds ground beef

2 eggs

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…


Tapas Inspired Braised Meat in Port Wine Sauce


Seville, Spain is full of wonderful little tapas restaurants that seem ageless.


Recently, we took a vacation to Spain & Portugal and met up with Allison and Jenn. We had a wonderful time and covered a lot of ground; we visited six cities in two weeks with stops along the way. We loved the architecture, the scenery, the museums, but especially the amazing food! Each city has a unique feel to it which is reflected in its many cafes and tapas bars. We enjoyed making a meal by wandering into interesting looking places and sharing two or three small plate offerings. Especially delicious were the small portions of meat that were obviously slow cooked and surrounded by a fabulous sauce. In Spain and Portugal, pork is everywhere (but there is also beef on the menu as well). I was impressed with how every bit of the pig was used such as the cheeks or the tail. Our family purchased a quarter of an “organic” hog a while back and I had a package of jowls which I used for this recipe – along with a pork chop. I have to credit this blogpost on the site Spanish Sabores for giving me inspiration. However, the dish posted here could also be made with a lean cut of beef.  Serve with slices of crusty bread to mop up the sauce!

Estofado de carne en salsa de vino de Oporto – Meat Braised in Port wine sauce

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1 pound pork or beef such as pork chops or tenderloin

1 clove garlic, minced or put through press

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon water

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup flour

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1 medium carrot, peeled and cut

1/2 medium

onion, diced

2 shallots, peeled and sliced

2 cups beef broth

1/2 cup Port wine (I used Tawny)



1. Make a paste with the garlic, parsley, thyme, and water.


2.  Rub the paste into the meat and allow to sit for 20 minutes.


3.  Lightly dredge both sides of the meat with the flour.


4. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet, and over medium heat, brown both sides of the meat.


5. Remove the meat from the skillet and set aside. Add the carrots, red bell pepper, onions, and shallots. If necessary add another tablespoon of olive oil and saute the vegetables over medium heat until tender – about 5 to 7 minutes.


6. Add the Port wine, bring up to a boil and scrape up any crusty bits from the bottom of the pan.


7. Place the meat back in the skillet, pour in the beef broth, cover the pan, and simmer over low heat for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is very tender.


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