Recipe :: Easy BBQ Meatloaf

Nov 19, 2012 by

I have personally never been a huge fan of meatloaf.  I would eat it when offered before I went pescetarian, but never with any real excitement.  It just seemed so odd to me… like some weirdly naked, boring hamburger slathered in ketchup.

Since returning to eating grass-fed hormone-free meat, I have discovered the real purpose and beauty of meatloaf, which is the same purpose and beauty as that of enchiladas or soup: it’s a great way to cook up a bunch of vegetables that are about to take a turn.

Start with a whole lot of crunchy veggies.

That’s right, vegetables.  I have discovered that I actually really like meatloaf, as long as it’s full of vegetables.  I don’t think there’s actually a limit to the number of peppers, onions, and the like you can add to the recipe; more vegetables will just stretch the meat and give you a bigger loaf.  In addition to beef, it can also be made very delectably with ground turkey, which I can get from the health food store here in town.

But still, even after I discovered the vegetable angle, the problem of so much ketchup in one place persisted in bothering me.  It’s just… it just feels… I mean I really like ketchup, but there’s got to be a more dignified option, right?  It feels like such a cop-out.  It’s not really a sauce.  It’s boring and bland.

I asked Miles recently how he would feel about a meatloaf topped with BBQ sauce, and he seemed amenable to it.  So I started experimenting, and boy howdy, I hit upon something really delightful.  And easy to make.  And full of veggies.  And the glaze makes it both delicious and dignified.  You could serve this to a visiting senator with a straight face, I think.  If you don’t like meatloaf, as I once did not, this one just might make a believer out of you.

I have listed the vegetable ingredients below in ranges, so you can adjust your meatloaf veggie content ratio to your liking.  In my opinion, more is more.


Easy BBQ Meatloaf


  • 1 – 2 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • ½ – 3/4 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 – 4 tbsp finely chopped green onions (green part only)
  • 1 – 3 bell peppers (or other mild peppers), finely chopped
  • 2 – 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce (or ketchup), divided
  • salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard

Press evenly into loaf pan.


  • Combine thawed raw meat, bread crumbs, onion, green onions, bell pepper, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper to taste, and ½ cup BBQ sauce in a large bowl.  Mix well with your hands until thoroughly combined.  The mixture should easily form a ball and not stick to your hands too much.  If it’s really sticky, add more bread crumbs.
  • Either form a loaf-shape on a greased rimmed baking sheet, or press into a lightly greased loaf pan.  A 9”x4” loaf pan works well, but it will depend on how much meat you used.  You want the loaf to stand at least 2” tall.  Sprinkle with a few more breadcrumbs
  • Bake at 450˚ for 30 minutes.  Mix together second ½ cup BBQ sauce, brown sugar, and mustard.  Open the oven, pour this topping mixture over the loaf, and bake for 5-10 more minutes.
  • Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness: 160˚ for ground beef, 165˚ for ground turkey.  When cooked through, take the loaf out of the oven and slice through the center to make sure it’s not still pink.  If it is still pink in the center, return to the oven for 5-10minutes.

Serve with rice or bread and steamed carrots or corn.  Stores and reheats like a dream.

All baked, glazed, and ready for action.

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