Meatloaf, who doesn’t like that?! Well I know I do, ever since I first made it on my Weber grill, it has become one of my favorites. Not only because you end up with enough leftovers for more meals, but also because of the possibilities of how you can mix up the actual meatloaf recipe – which are endless!
This time I was in an Italian mood, and I knew I had to transfer my all time favorite Italian meatballs into an Italian meatloaf. It was easy, and the taste… wow. Let me just say that you’re going to love it!
Finding Time and Battling the Elements!
Like many of us, I’ve been absolutely slammed lately! So, it’s been really hard to find the time to make my Italian meatloaf. Finally, last Sunday, I had a few hours and decided to knock it out.
As usual, Murphy’s Law was in full effect. See, it’s tough sometimes to find a patch of good weather in this little country of mine, and that day the weather decided to play games with me. Strong winds, dark clouds, a few drops, and then finally a tiny bit of sunshine peeked through. No big problem you’d probably say, but that wind! Man, I even had problems lighting the coals…. but after two attempts and trying to find the best place in the garden where there was the least amount of wind for my Weber kettle, it worked!
Preparing the Meatloaf
For this recipe I wanted to use a mix of lean ground beef with a bit of bacon to add some fat content. Because my butcher doesn’t sell bacon and beef mixed in one., I ground up the bacon myself and add it to the ground beef, problem solved!
He does have mixed beef/pork, but I don’t like it as much as I do with the bacon mixed in. That reminds me, I definitely need to make my own bacon again!! Is that an idea for the next episode of Smokin’ with the Dutchess? It seems a perfect idea to me!
Nothing beats this bacon, I tell you that! Sorry, bacon always gets me sidetracked.
Back to the meatloaf!
When you make meatloaf, you know upfront that you will have more than enough leftovers for other days. Unless you have a big family! In my case, I ended up with enough meat for three meals. And I already knew what would be my first one! Italian meatloaf with pasta and a hot hot hot tomato sauce! you can find this sauce recipe on my website, so don’t forget to take a look! If you love hot sauces, you’ll love this one for sure!
Let’s get started!
- 1 lbs ground beef
- 1 roasted red bell pepper
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 1 egg
- 1 scallion
- 2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs
- 1 tablespoon red pesto (heaped)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste (heaped)
- About 10 black or green olives
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed
Cut (finely) the bell pepper, capers, scallion and olives and mix these with the beef, cheese, egg , pesto, tomato paste, garlic and panko. It’s difficult to say how much panko you’ll need, the meat has to be firm so it will keep its shape, but you don’t want it too dry.
Form this all into a big ball that you flatten on the top and put it on a disposable aluminum tray in which you made a few holes on the side. This way the fat can drain away (don’t forget to put some aluminum foil underneath the meatloaf next to the hot coals).
For smoking, I used a few pieces of cherry wood, soaked in water first for about 20 minutes.
Smoke the meatloaf using the indirect cooking method. Make sure to keep the temperature low (I also added a tray with water to the barbeque). After half an hour, make crosswise incisions in the meatloaf and baste it with your favorite barbeque sauce.
This time I used “sensuous slathering” from Dinosaur. To be honest, it wasn’t my favorite, but I hadn’t tried this one before and the expiration date was approaching. In the end, the name of the sauce sounded better than the taste, but it was okay.
Put the meatloaf back on the grill and close the lid. Keep it there until the internal temperature reaches 160F.
And this was the result: A beauty!!
I cut some thick slices and let it cool. Then I put them separately in the freezer, for later use. But I can show you a sneak preview of a recipe with this meatloaf that I will publish on my website tomorrow!
Looks good huh??!! It was a delicious combination, and this meatloaf I will definitely make more often! A great taste and most certainly something different from the usual meatloaves I made before! Net result – this one’s a keeper!
As Always ~ Bon Appetit! And be sure to check out the other BBQ Recipes in the Smokin’ with the Dutchess series!
Folks, we have a real treat in store for you. Perry P. Perkins from Burnin’ Love BBQ has written an excellent post on cooking on a La Caja China aptly named La Caja China: 101.
La Caja China [Spanish la ka’ha chee’nah] –noun - A metal-lined roasting box in a wood frame with wheels. Charcoal is fired on a removable grate, over a solid ash-pan on top of the box, and the heat emanates through the metal lid into the enclosed space below, roasting the meat, which rests in pans or on a rack.
Hop on over to Perry’s La Caja China article and give it a read. If you’ve cooked on a La Caja China cooker or want to know more about how to get started, leave a comment and Perry will get back to you. Oh – and keep an eye out in his La Caja China article for a challenge he’s posted to anyone who thinks they can stump him re: what can and cannot be cooked on one of these bad boys.
About the Author
Food blogger and Burnin’ Love BBQ founder, Perry P. Perkins comes from a long line of professional chefs. As a third generation hash-slinger, he focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine.
Perry has written for hundreds of magazines, and his inspirational stories have been included in twelve Chicken Soup anthologies.
Perry blathers on foodie topics at www.burninloveblog.com, and you can follow him on Facebook. If you are interested in purchasing any model of La Caja China, accessories, or have any questions, please contact Perry via email.