Decided to try something different today and decided a smoked meatloaf would be it. SWMBO has been asking me to grill healthier stuff lately, so I went with a turkey meatloaf.
I started by poking holes in disposable loaf pans. This allows the smoke to permeate through the top AND bottom of the loaf, in addition to allowing the grease to drain out. I poked a lot of holes (21) so that even when grease was running out of some holes (or they just got clogged by cooking loaf), there would still be plenty more holes to allow smoke to enter.
I made my loaf mixture and pressed it into the pans. You shouldn't press it in too tightly because you don't want the loaf plugging your holes, preventing smoke from entering & grease from leaving. Packing it loosely also allows for air pockets/crevices in your loaf which enables the smoke to permeate more easily (and keeps the loaf from drying out).
Whipped up some mashed potatoes (you'll see why later) while the chimney lit my coals. Set the grill up for indirect heat and used cherry wood for smoke since cherry darkens poultry (making the finished result look more appealing IMO) and for the sweet, smokey taste. Put the loaves on the low heat side and let them smoke low (150-200) and slow for an hour. Rotated and let smoke for another 30 mins. I figured after 90 mins of smoking, the loaves had probably taken all the smoke they were going to take, so I crunk the heat up to 250-300 to get the outside of the loaves brown and crusted.
Once I reached an internal temp of 165 (left) I spread my mashed potatoes to top my loaves. Kind of giving it a shepherd's pie kind of feel. Closed the lid and let it smoke for another 30 mins to brown the potatoes and let them catch some some smoke. Also added some freshly shucked corn cobs to the direct heat side of the grill to cook during the last smoking portion.
Pulled the loaves and corn off the grill, and the finished result (bottom left) looked and smelled phenomenal. The loaves and potatoes browned nicely, and the cherry made the loaves VERY aromatic. So much so, that I didn't have to tell SWMBO the food was done. She just smelled it upstairs and came running. I got an ok (not great) smoke ring (top). plated it with the corn and a salad and went to town. DELICIOUS! The loaf was so moist and smokey! You could REALLY taste the cherry in it, but not so much as to be overpowering. SWMBO (who questioned the idea of smoked meatloaf in the beginning) was thoroughly impressed and says I should make it again the next time we entertain.
Although everything turned out well, I have to admit I was disappointed by my smoke ring. I was expecting it to be much more prominent for the amount of smoking I did. I figured maybe I should add more wood next time, but after I took my first bite I saw the amount I added was perfect since the entire loaf was so smokey tasting. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to improve my smoke ring (outside of getting a smoker or a better grill) I'm open to suggestions. Maybe ground turkey is one of those things that don't "ring up" as easily, even though it is admitting the smoke. Anyways, Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed
Edited by Hova1914 - 5/31/13 at 8:21am