Here's my version of shepherd's pie done on the grill, Meatloaf Shepherd's Pie:
In this recipe you will see us make two meatloaves, but the ingredients that I list will only be for one. Double up the recipe for two.
1 lb ground sirloin
1/2 pound ground pork
1 cup panko bread crumbs (you can substitute regular bread crumbs if necessary)
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz barbecue sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1 medium carrot, finely chopped (or four mini carrots)
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup grated asiago cheese, loosely packed
1.5 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
This was Dad’s idea. He thought it would be the perfect winter recipe on a cold Sunday while we watched the Rams play for a spot in the 2010 playoffs. The meatloaf turned out much better than the game.
Dad started slicing the garlic and asked if I wanted to help make the meatloaf since it was an original recipe by me. I agreed, and then it turned into quite the family affair.
When I got into the kitchen, I pointed out that I didn’t have the recipe committed to memory and would have to look up my notes. Dad had a better idea. Why not use the magazine, since this was one of the reciped featured in the magazine.
That's our prime rib on the cover, one of the five recipes we did.
And my son, Finnegan, came to help out making it three generations of Grillin Fools working on this recipe:
Dad and I got to chopping, dicing and grating. Finnegan helped too:
Finnegan was enthralled with the process as we filled the large plastic bowl with two times the ingredients listed above:
But what he was most excited about was that magazine:
After all the ingredients were put in the bowl, it was time to do the dirty work. I hate this part:
Remember, when mixing the ingredients for a meat loaf, you don’t want to mash the meat together to tight. You want air pockets and crevices. If it’s too tight it will be dense and can easily dry out.
Put the meatloaf in disposable aluminum bread pans:
The disposable bread pans accomplish two goals. First, it makes the meat loaf into perfect sized slices for leftover meatloaf sammiches. And second, it’s much easier to get the whole loaf out of a pan that you can use scissors to cut down the corners and bend the sides down. I’ll show you that in a minute.
Now time to get the grill ready. It was a cold, windy day, so we took our own advice from the winter grilling article and used the garage as a windbreak for the Char-Broil 940X:
We also added extra coals as we were having a hard time getting the temp up to 300 despite the wind break:
We went with the flank method of indirect grilling/smoking by putting coals on either side and leaving a spot in the middle with no coals. On smaller grills, simply put coals to one side and the meatloaf on the other. We used a combination of apple and cherry wood.
Now for the Shepherd’s Pie part. While the meat loaf is cooking, make mashed potatoes.
Mashed Potato Ingredients:
3 red potatoes, chopped to equal sized pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated asiago cheese, loosely packed
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Boil the potatoes until fork tender and then put in a mixer with the rest of the ingredients (or hit with a masher) until they are to the desired creaminess.
Now back to the grill.
Normally this recipe calls for one hour of smoke at 300, put the mash potatoes on, and then 30 more minutes of smoke. Well, the grill stayed at 275 the entire time, so we gave it 10 more minutes on the original smoke time and went 70 minutes. At that point the meatloaves looked like this:
Then apply the mash potatoes and spread evenly over the top about 1/2 inch to an inch thick:
We added more charcoal, some more smoke wood and closed the lid for 30 minutes. When we opened it, here’s what we saw:
The mash potatoes brown nicely and pick up the smoke flavor too.
Take the meatloaves off the heat and back inside to let them rest. While on the counter, use a turkey baster to suck up the grease that has accumulated at each end. Sorry, I didn’t get a picture of this step. Then after a good 8-10 minute rest, take shears and slice down on each corner of the pans:
Lay the sides of the pan down which makes it much easier to transfer it to a cutting board:
And here it is sliced:
Here it is plated with some green beans, more mash potatoes and a roll:
The meatloaf is warm, filling and savory with a little sweetness from the brown sugar, carrots and barbecue sauce complimented by the smokiness of both the meat and the mash potatoes. We made this the day of the photo shoot along with prime rib, pot roast, pear tart and acorn squash and this was the star of the day, not the prime rib. Talk about a homerun. Wow… You can see this as me yanking my own chain, or you can try it yourself and find out that I haven’t over exaggerated at all…