Perfect for meal prepping, family dinner, or any occasion, this BBQ meatloaf is full of classic meatloaf flavor that’s made better with a tangy BBQ glaze! This easy meatloaf recipe calls for a cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, so you can decide how sweet or hot you want the glaze!
A Modern Twist on a Classic BBQ Meatloaf!
Every now and then, I get nostalgic for my grandmother’s meatloaf. I have fond memories of eating it for the first time at her table, and I want to share that with my family.
Now, I have my own recipe for this warming comfort food. It’s a classic American dish at it’s finest, and it will comfortably feed a table full of family or guests.
This meatloaf is a hearty combination of ground beef, onion, breadcrumbs, and Worcestershire sauce. Ketchup is mixed in to add a tomato-y sweetness, and meatloaf seasoning gives it that classic meatloaf flavor!
Top it all off with a delicious BBQ glaze that’s made with a mixture of your favorite BBQ sauce and some Liquid Smoke. It’s a recipe that can be passed down for generations!
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
It’s Great For Leftovers! While you’re cooking, you might as well plan for leftovers! This meatloaf refrigerates and reheats very well!
It’s Easy To Make! It takes some time in the oven, but prep is easy!
Perfect For Dinner Parties! Easy to make, easy to serve. And there’s enough for 10!
Everything on this list is readily available at most grocery stores. Ketchup and Worcestershire sauce give this dish its classic taste!
- 2 pounds Ground Beef - I like ground chuck, but you can also use a combo of ground beef and ground pork.
- ½ cup White Onion - Yellow onions also work here. Grated or finely diced.
- 1 ½ cups Plain Breadcrumbs - These help soak up moisture and keep everything together.
- 3 Large Eggs - Eggs help make it solid enough to slice.
- 1 tablespoon Meatloaf Seasoning - This tasty spice usually contains things like dried mustard, paprika, garlic and onion powders, etc.
- ⅓ cup Ketchup - You need the tomato-y flavor of ketchup, it’s a key ingredient here.
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce - I love the savory spice this adds!
- 1 cup BBQ Sauce - Pick your favorite!
- 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke (optional) - If you love the smoky taste of BBQ, try adding this to your sauce.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredients, amounts & instructions!*
🧂 Substitutions & Additions
Panko - If you don’t keep breadcrumbs around, panko will also work in this recipe. Substitute in a 1-to-1 ratio.
Brown Sugar - To insert a little sweetness in your meatloaf, try adding some brown sugar! Start small with a tablespoon full and increase the next time you make it, if needed.
Cayenne Pepper - For my spice-lovers out there, cayenne pepper will bring the heat! As with the brown sugar, start small and increase as needed. You can always sprinkle more on your individual slice after it’s cooked.
Mushroom sauce - While it will completely change the taste of the dish, you can absolutely swap out the BBQ glaze for mushroom sauce for a rich and savory alternative.
Red Salsa - While it’s a little more uncommon, you can also add red salsa to finish off a meatloaf. It will change the spices a bit and add a more tomato-y taste.
🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions
There are 2 parts to this recipe. Mix your BBQ glaze while the meatloaf starts cooking!
- Preheat your oven. First, set your oven to 350℉ (175℃) and use a piece of parchment paper to line a rimmed baking sheet. You can also lightly grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
- Mix meatloaf ingredients. Next, dump the following ingredients into a large mixing bowl: 2 pounds ground beef, 1 ½ plain breadcrumbs, ½ cup diced or grated white onion, 3 large beaten eggs, 1 tablespoon meatloaf seasoning (*see note), ⅓ cup ketchup, and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce. Combine all ingredients until well-incorporated. Don’t over-mix (*see note).
- Transfer to a pan. Then, press the meat mixture into a loaf pan or shape it into a loaf on the baking sheet. Either way, it should be mounded at the top and about the same size as a loaf pan.
- Bake. Put the pan in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 50 minutes.
- Glaze. When the meatloaf is cooked, take it out and pour 1 cup BBQ sauce over the top or, if desired, a mix of BBQ sauce and 1 teaspoon liquid smoke. Bake for another 10 to 20 minutes, and take it back out when the internal temperature reaches 155℉ (68℃).
- Drain and rest. After the second cooking period, remove the meatloaf from the oven and drain off any excess grease. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice and serve. The meatloaf will keep cooking as it’s resting, and the internal temperature will reach the USDA’s recommendation of 160℉ (71℃). Then, slice and serve.
If you're wondering what to serve with meatloaf, be sure to check out my page for all of my favorite pairings!
💭 Angela's Tips & Recipe Notes
- Make your own meatloaf seasoning. If you don’t have this or can’t find any, try mixing this basic seasoning instead: 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon paprika (or smoked paprika), ½ teaspoon black pepper, and ½ teaspoon onion powder.
- Don’t over-mix. If you mix meatloaf too much, it’ll be dry and dense. When ingredients are evenly distributed, stop immediately. Use your hands for best results.
- Buy 80/20 meat. Without enough fat, meatloaf can become dry. I like to use a maximum fat of 20% (80/20). Too much fat is messy too! 🙂
- Lift meatloaf with a cooling rack. If you are using a meat with a high fat
content, try cooking it on a cooling rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet rather than a loaf pan. The baking sheet will catch the drippings and keep your oven clean.
- Don’t overcook. Be sure to watch and check the meat towards the end of the cooking periods. Every oven–and altitude–is different and could affect the timing. Overcooking this dish will lead to a dry, crumbly meatloaf.
🥡 Storing & Reheating
Leftovers can be wrapped in foil or put in an airtight container then refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
To keep meatloaf longer, store it the same as you would for the fridge and freeze. Frozen leftovers should be eaten within 2 to 3 months for the best flavor.
Reheating BBQ Meatloaf
Defrost any frozen leftovers in the fridge overnight. Then, add them to a baking dish with a tablespoon or two of water or broth to keep from drying out. Cook at 250℉ (120℃) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until heated to your satisfaction.
🍽️ More Meatloaf Recipes!
This is a personal preference. I find that I like the outcome of this recipe, leaving it uncovered. If you like more of a steamed result, cover the baking dish with foil while cooking. You might want to leave it uncovered for the second cooking period in order to thicken the sauce.
If you’re not eating gluten or are simply out of breadcrumbs, oats are a great substitute. Crushed cereal also works well. Try an unsweetened rice or corn option.
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- 2 lbs ground beef (ground chuck is preferred, or use a ground beef/ground pork combo)
- ½ cup white onion (or yellow onion, grated or finely diced)
- 1 ½ cups plain breadcrumbs
- 3 large eggs (beaten)
- 1 tablespoon meatloaf seasoning (see recipe, or use 1 packet store-bought seasoning mix)
- ⅓ cup ketchup (plus more for topping the meatloaf if desired)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, or lightly grease a 9x5 loaf pan if you have one.
- In a large mixing bowl add the ground beef, plain breadcrumbs, diced or grated onion, beaten eggs, meatloaf seasoning (*See note.), ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated, do not over-mix. (*See note)2 lbs ground beef, ½ cup white onion, 1 ½ cups plain breadcrumbs, 3 large eggs, 1 tablespoon meatloaf seasoning, ⅓ cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Take the ground beef mixture and transfer it to your prepared baking sheet or loaf pan. Form a loaf shape with the meatloaf mixture that is mounded at the top, approximately the same size as a 9x5 loaf pan if you are not using one.
- Place the meatloaf in the middle of the middle rack in the oven and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 50 minutes.
- Then, pull the meatloaf out of the oven and coat it with BBQ sauce (or a mixture of BBQ sauce and Liquid Smoke, if using). Return the meatloaf to the oven and allow it to bake for an additional 10-20 minutes. Remove your meatloaf from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 155°F (68°C).1 cup BBQ sauce, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- Remove your meatloaf from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 155°F (68°C). Drain off the excess grease, and allow your meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes.
- While resting, the meatloaf will continue to cook and will reach the USDA recommended temp of 160°F (71°C). Then, you may slice and serve your meatloaf.
- If you don't have meatloaf seasoning or you are missing some of the spices in my homemade meatloaf seasoning, you can make this basic seasoning in its place: 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked paprika works as well), ½ teaspoon black pepper, and ½ teaspoon of onion powder.
- Mixing meatloaf too much will cause it to become dry and dense. Once all the ingredients are dispersed throughout the meat, stop mixing. (Your hands are the best mixing tool.)
- Higher fat meat works best, but can make your meatloaf overflow with fat. Use a cooling rack under your shaped meatloaf in a rimmed baking sheet rather than loaf pan especially when opting for a higher fat percentage.
- The leaner the meat, the drier the meatloaf. Typically, I use a maximum fat percentage of 20% (80/20) as my preferred ratio.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!