Nothing says “mom” and “comfort food” quite like a warm, juicy meatloaf. The first bite sends you on a time warp back to those days when you came home from school starving and ready to devour an entire cow or at least a hot serving of sweet glazed meat. Well, this certainly is not your mom’s meatloaf but we guarantee that it’s worth the try. It is a succulent blend of meats and spices that has a kick that just may make your mom’s meatloaf jealous.
First prepare your equipment by lining a rimmed baking sheet with foil and putting a wire cooling rack on top of it. Spray the rack generously with a nonstick cooking spray. Too much spray is almost always better than too little, especially when it comes to the clean-up of those impossible sticky bits! Tear off a good-sized piece of plastic wrap and lay it on your work surface.
Next put 1 pound of lean ground beef, 1 pound of ground pork or chicken and 1 pound of andouille sausage (make sure to remove it from the casing), 2 large eggs and 1 cup of crushed potato chips in a large bowl. (We recommend you use Zapp’s brand potato chips but you can also use your favorite potato chips or saltines. Another good idea would be to try different flavors of chips – e.g. barbecue or sour cream and onion or jalapeno)
In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. Dice up 1 large onion, 1 red bell pepper, ½ green bell pepper, 1 stalk celery and mince 3 garlic cloves. Anything that starts with the “Holy Trinity” – a.k.a. diced bell peppers, celery and onion – is on the right path to tasty success! It seems like a lot of vegetables but it will be completely worth it. They impart so much flavor and give a little bit of needed crunch and texture throughout the meatloaf.
Here’s a handy cutting tip. Onions can be tricky to dice but you can make it easier on yourself by slicing the onion in half, cutting through both the stem and the root part of the onion. Cut off one of the ends and then make little slices going the opposite direction without cutting all the way through the onion. (see below) Then you can just make perpendicular slices and you will have perfect little dices.
For garlic, we have one word for you. Rasp. Not as in 'raspy voice' but as in 'a cook’s best friend'. The rasp is kind of like a tiny grater. Peel your garlic and then take the rasp and just grate the garlic into the bowl with the vegetables. It will change your life and how you mince garlic forever.
Add those vegetables to the pan once the oil is hot and sauté until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Here’s what the vegetables will look like once they’ve cooked down a little bit.
Stir in 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 to 2 tablespoons of Louisiana-style hot sauce (being the heat lovers that we Traegerans are, we love to go for the 2 tablespoons), ½ cup milk, ½ cup ketchup and 1 tablespoon of Traeger Cajun Shake. Once it’s all just combined, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool. Pour the sauce and vegetables over the meat mixture and mix the whole lot thoroughly. There’s no better way than to get in there with your hands and mix it good. (cue “Whip It” music)
Turn the meat out onto the plastic wrap and using the plastic wrap as an aid, shape the meat into a compact loaf roughly 10 inches long and 4 inches high. Carefully transfer the meatloaf from the plastic wrap to the greased wire cooling rack.
Now the fun really begins! It’s time to start up your Traeger Grill. Turn it to Smoke and leave the lid open until the fire is established and you see white smoke coming from the grill. (about 4 to 5 minutes) Put the baking sheet with the meatloaf onto the grill grate and smoke the meatloaf with the grill closed for about 45 minutes.
Check out that delicious smoke!
Then increase the heat to 300 degrees F and continue to cook the meatloaf until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Now, the recipe says it should take about 1 hour and 15 minutes more but it may take a little longer so don’t panic if it’s not up to 160 degrees after 2 hours. Just keep your eye on it and keep cooking it.
If you like irresistible glaze-goodness you can brush the top of the meatloaf with your favorite barbecue sauce for the last 15 minutes of cooking. We love using a sauce that has a little kick in it to compliment the spices. Who can say no to that?!
Finally, it’s time to dig in! Let the meatloaf cool for 15 minutes and then let the feast begin. This would also make a killer meatloaf sandwich! Leftovers have never tasted so good!
Here's a printer-friendly version of the recipe:
smoked-cajun-meatloaf.pdf (79.49 kb)