Smoked Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

Smoked Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

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I remember the first time I tasted a smoked bacon cheeseburger meatloaf. It was during a summer barbecue at my aunt’s house. The smell of smoked meat filled the air, mingling with the laughter of family and friends. The centerpiece of that meal was a meatloaf unlike any I had ever had before. It was juicy, smoky, and bursting with the flavors of crispy bacon and sharp cheddar. Since then, it has become a family favorite, and I’ve perfected my own version that I’m excited to share with you today.

This smoked bacon cheeseburger meatloaf combines all the best elements of a cheeseburger into one delicious dish. The secret lies in using high-quality ingredients and taking the time to layer the flavors. The crispy bacon adds a wonderful crunch, while the sharp cheddar provides a rich, tangy kick. I love adding finely chopped mushrooms and sweet onions to the mix, giving it an extra depth of flavor.

One of the things I appreciate most about this recipe is its versatility. You can cook it on a Big Green Egg for that perfect smoky flavor, or in the oven if you prefer. Both methods yield a delicious meatloaf, but the smoky version is a real treat. Sometimes, I like to experiment with the toppings, adding a bit of barbecue sauce or even a spicy pepper jack cheese for a bit of heat.

Another variation I enjoy is substituting the cracker crumbs with crushed corn flakes for a slightly sweeter and crunchier texture. This tweak adds a delightful contrast to the savory beef and bacon. No matter how you decide to customize it, this smoked bacon cheeseburger meatloaf is sure to be a hit at your next family gathering or weeknight dinner.

Making Smoked Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

Ingredients

  • 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ minced sweet onion
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • 1½ pounds lean ground beef or ground chuck
  • dried parsley (to taste)
  • 5 finely chopped white mushrooms
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ cup cracker crumbs (or crushed corn flakes or bread crumbs)

Directions

  1. Crisp the bacon in a large skillet, then drain on paper towels. Once cool, crumble and set aside.
  2. Using the bacon fat in the skillet, sauté the onion and mushrooms. Season with parsley and black pepper, cooking until they become tender. Let them cool slightly.
  3. If you have a large stand mixer, use it for easier mixing. Otherwise, use a large bowl to stir by hand. In the mixer bowl, combine the beef, egg, and half and half on low speed. Mix in the onion and mushroom mixture, ¾ cup of cheddar, and most of the bacon bits (reserve some cheese and bacon bits for topping). Stir in the cracker crumbs and garlic salt. Add more black pepper and parsley if desired. Mix until fully combined.
  4. Place the meatloaf mixture onto a grill pan if grilling or a nonstick foil-lined baking sheet if baking in the oven. Shape into a large oblong oval or square loaf.
  5. For Cooking on Big Green Egg: Prepare and preheat the Egg to around 235°F. Cook the meatloaf for about 2 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese and bacon bits, close the lid until the cheese melts. Remove from the grill, transfer to a serving dish, and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
  6. For Cooking in the Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the meatloaf for an hour, then check for doneness. Drain any fat, sprinkle with the reserved cheese and bacon bits, and bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese melts. Transfer to a serving dish, let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

FAQs:

Can I use a different type of meat for this meatloaf recipe?

Yes, you can substitute the lean ground beef or ground chuck with ground turkey or chicken. However, keep in mind that the texture and flavor may vary slightly. Additionally, you might need to adjust the cooking time to ensure the meatloaf is cooked thoroughly.

What can I use as a substitute for cracker crumbs in the meatloaf?

If you don’t have cracker crumbs, you can use crushed corn flakes, bread crumbs, or even oats. Each alternative will slightly change the texture and flavor of the meatloaf, but they all work well as binding agents.

How can I tell when the meatloaf is fully cooked?

To ensure the meatloaf is fully cooked, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The meatloaf should reach an internal temperature of 160°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, make sure there is no pink in the center of the meatloaf, and the juices run clear.

Is it necessary to use sharp cheddar cheese, or can I use a different type?

While sharp cheddar cheese adds a robust flavor to the meatloaf, you can use other types of cheese, such as mozzarella, Swiss, or Monterey Jack. Each type of cheese will bring its unique flavor to the dish, so choose according to your preference.

Can I prepare the meatloaf mixture in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the meatloaf mixture in advance. After mixing all the ingredients, shape the loaf and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours before cooking. This can help save time on the day you plan to cook it.

What should I do if the meatloaf is too dry?

If the meatloaf turns out too dry, it could be due to overcooking or not enough moisture in the mixture. To add moisture, you can mix in a little more half and half or an extra egg. Additionally, be sure to monitor the cooking time closely to avoid overcooking.

Smoked Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

Smoked Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

This smoked bacon cheeseburger meatloaf recipe combines the best of burgers and meatloaf, with smoky bacon, cheddar cheese, and a savory beef blend.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
...

Ingredients
  

  • 8 slices of bacon
  • pounds of lean ground beef or ground chuck
  • ½ minced sweet onion
  • 5 finely chopped white mushrooms
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup of half and half
  • ½ cup of cracker crumbs or crushed corn flakes or bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic salt
  • dried parsley to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a large skillet, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Once cool, crumble and set aside.
  • In the same skillet with the bacon fat, sauté the onion and mushrooms. Season with parsley and black pepper, cooking until tender. Allow to cool slightly.
  • If using a large stand mixer, mixing is easier; otherwise, use a large bowl to stir by hand. In the mixer bowl, combine beef, egg, and half and half on low power. Add the onion and mushroom mixture, ¾ cup of cheddar, and most of the bacon bits (save some cheese and bacon bits for the topping). Mix in the cracker crumbs and garlic salt. Add extra black pepper and parsley if desired. Mix until well combined.
  • Transfer the meatloaf mixture onto a grill pan for grilling or a nonstick foil-lined baking sheet for oven baking. Shape the mixture into a large oblong oval/square loaf.

For Cooking on Big Green Egg:

  • Prep and preheat the Egg to around 235°F. Cook the meatloaf for about 2 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese and bacon bits, close the lid until the cheese melts. Remove from the grill, place on a serving dish, and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

For Cooking in the Oven:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the meatloaf for an hour, then check for doneness. Drain any fat, sprinkle with reserved cheese and bacon bits, and bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese melts. Place on a serving dish, let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Keyword bacon, Meatloaf

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