Hi Everyone, welcome to Djalali Cooks. I am so happy you’re here today! This meal has been on my mind for a few weeks now and now I know why. This meatloaf is the best meatloaf I have ever had. Every time I have been to a barbecue joint that has meatloaf on the menu, I always think, “Yeah, right. Meatloaf. I am here for the ribs, or the pulled pork. Not something I can make easily at home.” Well, shame on me because it’s taken me 40+ years to realize that smoked meatloaf is something unto itself; separate from the rest. A revelation.
To tame that sweet, spicy, smoky meatloaf, we have Cauliflower Mashies. So savory and delicious, you won’t even wish you had mashed potatoes. Let’s get started!
This meatloaf is a combination of 80/20 ground beef and sweet Italian sausage. Ultimately we want to end up with about 36-37 ounces of meat. So you can adjust the ratios as you like but I went with 28 ounces of ground beef and 9 ounces of the Italian sausage (3 sausages). What that might look like for you is 1.5 pounds ground beef and 2 Italian sausages.
In addition to the meat, we have eggs, onion, breadcrumbs and milk. The sausage will add some seasoning. We will add Guajillo Chile powder and Kosher Salt. I am using a spicy barbecue sauce for the glazing, so I wanted to use a chile powder that is less spicy and more tangy, smoky, with just a little kick.
Before you get started on the prep, get the grill going. Use a fruity wood like apple or cherry. We used cherry wood chips. Get the smoker temp up to 275 degrees.
I am going to sauté my diced onions in bacon fat to impart a smoky, bacon flavor. I just want them to get translucent, with a tiny bit of browning. So I set them at medium while I measured out and prepped the rest of the ingredients. Give the onions a stir every once in a while to keep them from browning too much.
Remove the sausage from its casing by just squeezing it out of the ends into the same bowl as the ground beef. The onions should be lightly golden and translucent, so toss those in the bowl. Then proceed with adding the rest of the ingredients.
After the ingredients are all in, it’s time to get messy. Get in there with your hands and really mix it up. You want everything to be very well incorporated.
Our grill can hold a half a sheet pan, but both of these little meatloaves can fit on a quarter sheet pan. You don’t want to cook these in a loaf tin because the more surface area of the meat exposed to the smoke, the smokier the flavor. And the more surface to glaze!
So, line a loaf pan with parchment and take half of the meat mix and press it into the loaf pan. Then flip it over on a parchment lined sheet pan. Do this for both loaves. They can go side-by-side with a little space between them.
Stick your probe thermometer in and set the temp for 160 degrees. Remember we want to start the glazing 15 minutes before the internal temp hits 160, so be on the lookout for when the temp hits 145 degrees. It will be about 15 minutes for the internal temp to rise to 160 from 145 degrees. This cook took us about one hour, ten minutes. Let’s put these on and get to the glaze.
Use your favorite barbecue sauce for this glaze, or get creative and whip something up! I am really in love with this Sriracha Roasted Garlic barbecue sauce from Trader Joe’s. It’s very spicy, so I am cutting it with some sweeter, honey barbecue sauce. We are particular to Sweet Baby Ray’s. So I just added Sweet Baby Ray’s, a little at a time, just to taste. No measuring here.
It doesn’t matter what sauce you use, but it does need to be warm. Warm sauce will be easier to spread to get a an even glaze, and more importantly, it won’t introduce a colder temperature to the meat. You can warm it in a saucepan or in the microwave. Before we glaze though, let’s get the Cauliflower Mashies going.
Cut the head of cauliflower into quarters and remove the large stem from each quarter. Then cut away the florets. Cut the cauliflower florets into roughly the same size so they will steam evenly. Use whatever steaming method you have available to you. I have a two tier bamboo steamer so I will split the chopped up cauliflower between two baskets lined with parchment rounds.
I set the stacked baskets on a saucepan of boiling water, and set a timer for 10 minutes. At that point I rotated the top to bottom, bottom to top and set the the timer for 8 minutes. It’s ready when the cauliflower it’s fork tender.
I left my garlic raw, but if you want a less strong garlic flavor, sauté the garlic in some olive oil just until it becomes fragrant. Don’t let it brown.
In a food processor, process half the cauliflower on high until it’s well mashed. Then add a little cauliflower at a time until you have processed the whole batch to a mashed potato consistency.
Then add in the cream cheese, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Blend until creamy. If the mixture isn’t getting as creamy as you want, drizzle in a little olive oil while processing. Transfer to a bowl and cover, set aside.
Back to the Glaze!
When the internal temperature reaches around 145 degrees, or you have about 15 minutes left on the cook, pour and brush an even glaze layer on each meatloaf. Close the lid and glaze again in 10 minutes. When the internal temp hits 160 degrees, pull the loaves.
Unwrap the Cauliflower Mashies and give them a good stir to fluff them back up and let’s see how that meatloaf looks!
Smoked Meatloaf and Cauliflower Mashies!
This recipe satisfied my craving for meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and it exceeded all of my expectations. Seriously, the Cauliflower Mashies…I daresay, I enjoyed them more than I ever enjoy mashed potatoes; all the flavor and then some, but without the heaviness. Plus, cauliflower is SO good for you!
I am so happy the Smoked Meatloaf and Cauliflower Mashy leftovers are still in the fridge! This meal is definitely on regular rotation from now on in the Djalali house. I do hope you give this Smoked Meatloaf and Cauliflower Mashies a try, it’s so perfect! Just think of the leftover meatloaf sandwiches! Ah, so good!
If I were to draw a line between all the posts this week, starting with the Chicken Noodle Soup Sunday Supper, the whole week has really been about comfort food. Unintentional, but fitting I suppose, given the darkness of Winter, our return home from Tybee on Saturday and the collective exhaustion we all feel from times we are living in. It’s kind of amazing how food and cooking can transform any old moment into a joyful one and that’s comforting. So think of that next time you prepare a meal!
I hope today’s post gives you some inspiration for your next meat and potatoes craving! Give me a follow on Instagram, Pinterest and facebook, tell your friends and share/pin the recipes! Take care and be well everyone, I will see you here tomorrow for Pizza and a Movie!
Smoked Meatloaf and Cauliflower Mashies
Comfort food at its finest. Smoked Meatloaf and Cauliflower Mashies takes classic meat and potatoes to a whole new level. Sweet glaze over a spicy mix of Italian sausage and ground beef, smoked to juicy perfection pairs beautifully with savory and rich Cauliflower Mashies.
- 1.5 lbs. 80/20 Ground Beef
- 2 Sweet Italian sausages
- 1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
- 1 tbsp. Bacon Fat (or butter)
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 2 tsp. Guajillo Chile Powder (or regular chili powder)
- 1 cup Breadcrumbs
- 1 cup Milk
- BBQ sauce of your choice, warmed
- Cherry or Apple wood Chips
- Cauliflower Mashies
- 1 Head of Cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 Clove Garlic, minced (if you don't want to use the garlic raw, sauté in olive oil until fragrant)
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
- 1 tbsp. Cream Cheese
- ½ tsp. Kosher Salt
- ⅛ tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Sliced Scallions and Chopped Parsley for garnish, if desired
Using Cherry or Apple wood chips, preheat the smoker to 275 degrees.
Heat a tablespoon of bacon fat in a skillet and sauté the diced onions until translucent and lightly browned.
In a large bowl, hand-mix the ground beef, Italian sausage, bread crumbs, milk, Guajillo Chile powder, Kosher salt and sautéed onions.
Prepare a half sheet tray (or quarter sheet tray) with a piece of parchment and a loaf pan with another piece of parchment.
Press half of the meatloaf mixture into the loaf pan and flip it out onto the half sheet tray. continue with the other half of the meatloaf mixture to create two side-by-side loaves.
Stick one of the loaves with a probe thermometer and set the temperature for 160 degrees.
When the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, or when there is about 15 minutes left to cook, glaze the loaves with the warm barbecue sauce. Close the lid and glaze once more 10 minutes later. Meatloaves are done when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
Steam the cauliflower pieces for 15-20 minutes. Check it after 10 minutes to gauge doneness. The cauliflower should be fork tender.
In a food processor, process half the steamed cauliflower until the texture resembles dry mashed potatoes.
Add a little more cauliflower at a time until all the cauliflower is processed to a creamy consistency.
Add the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, Kosher salt and pepper.
Process until smooth and creamy. If it's not as creamy as you want, drizzle in a little olive oil and process until smooth.
Judi HumeJanuary 28, 2021 at 8:56 am
I hope you’ll think about writing a cookbook, Kelly! Every one of your recipes is so appealing!
Kelly DjalaliJanuary 28, 2021 at 9:01 am
Thank you, Judi! Alex keeps saying the same thing. I think I need more practice! Haha! I appreciate your thoughts, thank you so much. xo Kelly
TerryJanuary 28, 2021 at 11:03 am
Never have I ever heard of smoked meat loaf.. this looks amazingly delicious I will definitely make this I think this weekend . We love cauliflower mash, just delicious Yumm ♥️Mom
Kelly DjalaliJanuary 28, 2021 at 11:06 am
It’s really amazing, Mom. I know you will really like it. Super easy on the Traeger too. xo Kelly
ChristineJanuary 28, 2021 at 8:49 pm
We don’t have a grill or a smoker.
Could this recipe be adapted to a conventional oven?
The glaze looks yummy!
Kelly DjalaliJanuary 28, 2021 at 10:13 pm
Hi Christine, I haven’t tried this in a conventional oven, but you could could certainly try. Go Low and slow, with the temperature at 275 degrees for about 1 hour, 10 minutes. Check the internal temp after 45-50 minutes and if it’s at 145, start glazing. Do two glazes, 10 minutes apart and pull the loaves when they hit an internal temperature of 160 degrees. You won’t get the same smoke flavor, but you can augment by using a smoky-flavored glaze. You can also add chipotle powder to the seasoning to get a smoky flavor. I hope that helps, and definitely let me know how it goes for you! Thanks so much for your question, xo Kelly