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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Jun 26, 2007
Central Ohio
Going to try a meatloaf tomorrow and was wondering whats the best ground beef to use? My wife always get the really lean stuff like 95/5 but I'm thinking that might dry out in the smoker. Would 80/20 be too fatty?
The only thing I've done that's close to a meatloaf is a fatty - but I'd have to agree with you that 95% lean hamburger might dry out if you're not careful. That's a bulky item you're smoking, so I'm guessing it'll have to be in for a while. Maybe the lean would be OK if you put foil under it to catch the fat that does come out, which will keep it around the base of the meatloaf? When I do a fatty, I take my rack out and put it on the coutertop. I take the foil and lay it on the area where the fatty goes, and then press the foil down between the grates down to the countertop on either side of wher the fatty will go, which makes a "fat trough" on either side of the fatty. Keeps the juice really close but keeps the meat from actually sitting in it. I've got one in the smoker right now - if I had a camera handy I'd take a pic (wife is on vacation and has it).

I'd probably be inclined to spritz it pretty regularly too.

Maybe you could do like SmokyOky does his briskets and sear it before you put it in the smoker? Kind of a wild idea for a meatloaf, I agree - and I'm not an expert on searing or what that might actually buy you with a meatloaf vs. a steak.

The meatloaf is on my wife's agenda for me to attempt in a few weeks, so let me know how this comes out - document what you can and post some pics if you can.
Good idea about the fat trough, I want it to be moist but not cooking in a pool of fat!
The last meatloaf I smoked was ground sirloin, hardly no fat at all and it didnt dry out. I mixed it with ground pork too. Put it in a disposable medal pan and poke some holes in the pan for drainage. From my experience with meatlaof, they soak up A LOT of smoke, so go easy unless you really like a smokey taste. Good luck, they are delish.
Take a look at this thread, it is the recipe I used and it was very good, if
want it more then two lbs I would add more beef. I used 93/7. I read that
somebody(I think maybe Debi) put foil in a pan and formed the meatloaf and then pulled it out with the foil. You could cook it on one of those throw away
mesh grill grates that Walmart sells for .99 then it won't be soaking in fluids
I tried a meatloaf yesterday. Turned out ok but I think I use some leaner burger next time. I was worried about it drying out so I used 80/20 and it was too moist. Maybe use leaner burger next time and maybe a little more bread crumbs.
you could always go w/ the leaner beef & lay strips of bacon on top. the bacon should let some fat drip down into the meat and keep it moist. if it gets too dry you can always spritz it. but if you're using a water pan it shouldn't be a problem either.
The easy way to adjust the moisture of your meatloaf is adding more or less of the filler you are using, bread crumbs or cracker crumbs. More for drier, less for moister. I prefer crushed saltine or Ritz crackers.
I also add half cup of Cattlemen's BBQ sauce to a three pound meatloaf along with 4-5 good shakes of Worcestershire sauce, that adds moisture and good flavor.
Cook it in a perforated pan and put that over an aluminum foil baking pan to catch the grease and juices.
Enjoy the best meatloaf there is, smoked meatloaf!
I had it in a foil pan with holes punched in the bottom, it drained out pretty good. I think I'll start with leaner meat next time and maybe not as mucht BBQ sauce, I used Sweet Baby Rays instead of ketchup.
Usually all I ever use is 80/20. I start it in a tin-foil pan, a lot of the fat will cook out, once the meatloaf has cooked long enough that it won't fall apart on a grate, I take it out of the pan. Any extra grease that may have collected on the bottom cooks out by the time it's done...I've done a few meatloaves and they have all been excellent in the smoker.

With hamburger being some of the cheaper meat, make a meat loaf of each, 80/20, and a lower fat one, same ingredients, same cooking time, see which one is better!
When I did my meat loaf I use about 80 percent ground meat & 20 percent ground pork. I had one of those cheapo foil pans and punched a few holes in the bottom. It turned out great. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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