Preheat the oven on broil. Cut the red pepper in half and remove seeds. Then cut the pepper in half again, and toss in olive oil. Make sure that the peppers are coated well on all sides. Lay them in the center of a nonstick baking pan and place in the oven on a middle rack. The peppers can also be roasted directly on your BBQ grill if you prefer.
Set a timer for 10-12 minutes, and flip them halfway through the cooking process. You are looking for wrinkled skins with a good amount of char and blackening on the outside. Remove the peppers from the oven, and place them in a sealable bag to sweat for 10 minutes. Allowing the peppers to sweat makes it much easier to remove the roasted skins. Remove the skins and dice the roasted peppers ¼”. Set aside for later in the recipe.
Step 3: Form the Meatloaf Mixture for the Smoker
Preheat the smoker to 225F. Lightly beat the eggs and milk together in a small bowl. Mix in the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, BBQ rub, and Worcheshire sauce. The BBQ rub that I prefer is Holy Cow BBQ Rub by Meat Church and is a great all-purpose BBQ rub that really highlights the flavors of the ground beef and pork.
Transfer the ground beef and pork to a large mixing bowl. Dice the onions and roasted peppers ¼” and add to the bowl. Add the minced garlic, bread crumbs, and egg/milk mixture to the bowl. Use clean hands to mix the meatloaf ingredients until just mixed. Do not over mix, over mixing will cause the meatloaf to have a tough and dense texture.
Line a loaf pan with plastic cling wrap. Fill the loaf pan with the meatloaf mixture. Try not to overwork the meatloaf while gently forming it into the pan. Place the meatloaf in the fridge for 10 minutes. This will cool down the meat and make it easier to handle when removing it from the loaf pan. Remove from the refrigerator, and place the pan meat side down on the counter. Carefully remove the pan from the meatloaf mixture. Remove the cling wrap to expose the formed meatloaf.
Spray the cooling rack with cooking spray, and place it on a nonstick baking sheet. Place the meatloaf on the rack. Lightly season the top of the meatloaf with additional BBQ rub.
Step 4: Smoke the Meatloaf
I am using a Traeger Pellet grill for this recipe and prefer to use pecan pellets for the cook. My Traeger has a super smoke feature that fills the chamber with more clean smoke during the cook. Super smoke is only available when cooking between 160F to 225F. So I like to take advantage of this feature and start the cook at 225F and then raise the temperature after 1 hour. If you do not have this feature, maintain the temperature at 280F throughout the cook.
Transfer the meatloaf to the smoker, and set a timer for 2 hours. Raise the temperature of the smoker to 280F after 1 hour. Insert a temperature probe into the meatloaf to monitor the internal temperature for the remainder of the cook. The internal temperature is more crucial than a set specific time. The cooking time remaining on the meatloaf is approximately 1 hour, but this is only a guideline.
The most critical determining factor indicating when the meatloaf is done is the internal temperature. The meatloaf is ready to be removed from the smoker, once the internal temperature reaches 160F. This is the safe minimum temperature to consume ground beef. This temperature will also ensure that the center of the meatloaf is fully cooked with no mushy texture. The probe I have inserted into this meatloaf is in the top corner, but it is angled down toward the center of the meatloaf.
Once the internal temperature reaches 150F, glaze the meatloaf by brushing it with your favorite BBQ sauce, There should be approximately 10-15 minutes remaining in the cook. This will allow enough time for the glaze to caramelize and set on the meatloaf. Glazing the meatloaf will help keep it moist and add additional flavor.
Step 5: Serve and Enjoy
Remove the meatloaf from the smoker, once the internal temperature reaches 160F. Do not slice the meatloaf immediately, after removing it from the smoker. Give it time to rest for 10 minutes. This will allow those delicious juices to lock in and redistribute evenly throughout the meatloaf. Transfer the meatloaf from the cooking rack to a cutting board and tent the loaf with foil allowing it to rest and stay warm.
Slice the meatloaf and serve with your favorite starch and vegetable. I really enjoy some creamy mashed potatoes and asparagus with mine.