BoomerangDave, please, please, please give smoked meatloaf another try. I agree with the above comment about a poor binder.
All my meatloaf recipes involve about 4 lbs of meat. My wife would not allow me to smoke a meatloaf for quite some time. She's a "super taster" and felt the smoke would ruin one of her favorite "comfort food" dishes. Finally, when she was out of town, I smoked my one without telling her. When she got home she sliced a hunk off the loaf in the refrigerator. She took one bite and said "this is the best meatloaf I've ever eaten." Now, she'd eaten that same recipe too many times to count before that day. The smoke took it to another level.
Here is our current favorite recipe. Makes great Italian meatballs too you can smoke without the topping. It looks complicated but it isn't at all. Dump all the ingredients in a big bowl, mix with a KitchenAid or use a potato masher in a large bowl. Shape and smoke. I don't like messes in my smoker so I form the meat in a 9x13 aluminum roaster that has been sprayed with oil.
Ray's Italian Meatball Meatloaf
1/2 large sweet onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 heaping tsp of chopped garlic in the jar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups Herb-seasoned stuffing mix crushed
14 buttery round crackers, crushed
1 cup Italian 3 cheese blend grated cheese (Parmesan, Asiago, and Romano)
1 XLg egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cup red table wine (can add more if too dry)
1 15.5 oz can diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning and juice, juice only in meat, tomatoes in topping
1 Tbs basil, dried
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp oregano
1 1/4 lb ground beef 7-10% fat
1 1/4 lb ground pork, lean
1 1/4 lb lean ground turkey with Italian spices.
Canned tomatoes from above.
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 Tbs sugar
1. Put all the ingredients and spices in the order shown in a KitchenAid bowl except the tomato products. Open the can of tomatoes and drain the juice into the mixing bowl. Once thoroughly drained into the bowl, set the tomatoes aside.
2. Turn the KitchenAid on low with the flat beater and let run for 5-10 minutes until all ingredients are well blended. Then dump the bowl into a 9x13 aluminum roasting pan and shape the loaf so it is about 2" thick and almost touching the sides, but not quite, leaving about 1/2" space.
3. Combined the tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside on the counter. Do not put it in the refrigerator.
4. Heat smoker or oven to 325-350 degrees F using any wood you desire in the smoker.
5. After the meatloaf has been cooking for an hour spread the tomato/paste/sugar topping all over the top of the meatloaf with a spatula and put it back in the smoker or oven.
6. Smoke or bake uncovered 90-120 minutes. Check for an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.