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Smoked “Meatloaf”

Smoked “Meatloaf”

Alex Fredrickson
Plant based meat is near and dear to my heart as Beyond Meat’s initial product formulations were based on two University of Missouri food science professors (Fu-hung Hsieh and Harold Huff) research on plant protein replacing meat protein. That is the same department where I got my Ph.D. (although in a much different field of wine chemistry)! We have had plant based alternatives to meat like tofu and tempeh for thousands of years but the rise in mimicking meat began in the 1970’s and slowly grew until exploding in the past decade or so. Now you can fine plant based meat in almost every grocery here in Portland, OR.
Although the market is still in its infancy it is sustainable meat source (that will only see improvements as the science and technology improves), it can potentially use 99% less water and land than regular meat. Also there is up to a 90% reduction in greenhouse gasses and water pollution. Although plant based meat is marketed as a healthy alternative, it still has a fairly high caloric density but does have lower saturated fat and no cholesterol.
With all the research going on in alternative meat the products are only going to get more realistic in terms of flavor and functionality as well. I developed this recipe because the plant based alternative ground beef comes together great in the loaf and seems smokier and more flavorful than the ground beef one (in my opinion).
One adjustment for this recipe was increasing the amount of binders (egg and breadcrumbs) than a typical recipe has, as the plant based meat I was using had a slightly higher moisture content than regular ground beef. The key to this recipe is getting a lot of smoke in the loaf and using a high quality, local bbq sauce like Podnah’s Pit or Felton and Mary’s. Use lots of BBQ sauce on the slice and you’ll be in love!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 6


  • Wood chips for smoking
  • Aluminum pan (at least 8 x 6” pan)


  • 24 oz (680 g) of plant based ground meat
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 ribs of celery finely chopped (⅓ cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed (2 tsp)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  • If using a grill (gas or charcoal), soak wood chips in water or beer for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight.
  • Preheat the smoker to 275°F or grill on high for 15 minutes then set up for indirect heat.
  • Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. The mixture should be moldable but still soft/sticky. You can test this by grabbing a handful and forming a ball in your hand. If too soft add more breadcrumbs, one Tbsp at a time.
  • Taste for salt, pepper, and bbq sauce by microwaving 1 teaspoon for 15-30 seconds. Then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Grease the aluminum pan (at least 8 x 6” in size), add mixture, and form a loaf.
  • Add wood chips to smoker or place in foil packet on the direct heat of the grill (gas or coals).
  • Add meatloaf and cook with indirect heat for about one hour. The internal temperature of the meatloaf should be 160°F.
  • Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes then slice and serve with your favorite bbq sauce.
Keyword vegetarian