Best BBQ Meatloaf | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Best BBQ Meatloaf

I love a good meatloaf and Best BBQ Meatloaf is a winner!  Flavorful and kid friendly, a moist meatloaf recipe you are going to love! This is NOT your Mama's dried out meatloaf of the past! If your family loves meatloaf like mine does, you've got to give this tasty BBQ Meatloaf a try!  And even if you think you don't like meatloaf, you have to give this recipe a try. It's so good, it just might change your mind!

Best BBQ Meatloaf | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

This recipe inspiration for Best BBQ Meatloaf comes from the Certified Angus Beef ® brand website. I always look for Certified Angus Beef ® brand ground beef when I shop because I know I'm getting quality ground beef with no fillers and that's what I start this meatloaf with. They recommend using a 85% lean mixture in this recipe, but I like to bump it up a bit leaner and go for 90% lean. Using lean ground beef makes this BBQ Meatloaf a healthy ground beef recipe with all the flavor of the original!

This meatloaf recipe does use BBQ sauce in it. If you're like my husband and not a BBQ fan, you might prefer a more traditional meatloaf recipe like my Easy Homestyle Meatloaf.

Why does my meatloaf always fall apart?

Meatloaf generally has two important ingredients to help "bind" the loaf together and keep it from falling apart. The first ingredient is bread crumbs or something like bread crumbs.

When I saw the Certified Angus Beef (r) brand version used saltine crackers as a binder in their recipe I cheered!  I've been using crushed saltine crackers in my meatloaf recipes for a while now...and I love it! If you haven't made a meatloaf recipe with crackers yet, you have to give it a try! It gives the meatloaf a great texture without drying it out.

To make the work of crushing the saltines a bit easier, I put them in a food processor and process them into a fine crumb. Making sure you soak them in a liquid is key. In this recipe, buttermilk is used. If you don't have buttermilk, any kind of milk will work.

The second binder in meatloaf is eggs. You'll want to make sure your eggs are beaten before adding them to the meat mixture. Make sure the loaf if neither too dry or too wet. Adjust with more crumbs or milk as needed to make a loaf that holds together, but doesn't seem dry.

Best BBQ Meatloaf | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

How do you make the best meatloaf? 

  • Don't work the meat mixture too much.  Use your hands to combine the ingredients just until they are combined, then form into a loaf!
  • Bake on a boiler pan! Lift the top and line the bottom with foil to help with easy clean up. Put the slotted top back on and spray with cooking spray, then shape your meatloaf right on top! Any drippings will fall through the slats onto the foil and your meatloaf won't be sitting in drippings! 
  • Make sure your binder (bread, bread crumbs, saltine crumbs, etc.) are thoroughly moistened with whatever liquid is called for in the recipe BEFORE combining with the rest of the ingredients. 
  • Let the meatloaf rest for 10-15 minutes, loosely tented in foil, before attempting to cut into it. This allows the juices to redistribute, helping to keep the meatloaf moist. It also helps keep it from falling apart as you slice! 

Best BBQ Meatloaf | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

How can you tell if the meatloaf is done?

Generally, a meatloaf made with 2 pounds of lean ground beef, baked at 350 degrees F, will take about an hour to an hour and ten minutes to cook all the way through. But, the best way to check to if the meatloaf is done is to use an instant read thermometer inserted into the middle of the meatloaf. It should read 160 degrees F when it's done.  You can use this USDA chart to reference safe minimum cooking temperatures for ground beef

What can I serve to go with meatloaf? 

Meatloaf, Best Meatloaf, BBQ Meatloaf
Main Course
Yield: 6-8 servings

Best BBQ Meatloaf

prep time: 10 Mcook time: 1 H & 10 Mtotal time: 1 H & 20 M
Lean ground beef, buttermilk, BBQ sauce, and crushed saltine crackers make this Best BBQ Meatloaf tasty and tender!


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (I recommend Certified Angus Beef® brand)
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 24 saltine crackers
  • 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


How to cook Best BBQ Meatloaf

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in a large frying pan. Add onion and garlic; simmer until onions are transparent, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a small mixing bowl combine barbecue sauce and mustard. Add half sauce mixture to onions.
  2. Put crackers in a ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin until coarse. (I used a food processor) In a large bowl cover cracker crumbs with buttermilk and let soak 5 minutes; mix in eggs and mash with a fork to oatmeal consistency. Add beef, onion mixture, cracker mixture, parsley, salt and pepper. Press into a 9 x 5 loaf on a broiler pan, lined with foil, and sprayed with cooking spray or onto a sheet pan with sides that has been covered in foil
  3. Bake for 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 160°F degrees. Let rest 10-15 minutes loosely covered in foil. Transfer to a cutting board or platter, top with remaining sauce, slice and serve.


Nutritional Information is an estimate
Fat (grams)
Sat. Fat (grams)
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Fiber (grams)
Net carbs
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Cholesterol (grams)
Created using The Recipes Generator

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Best BBQ Meatloaf | Renee's Kitchen Adventures - easy recipe for BBQ meatloaf made with ground beef. Great choice for weeknight dinners or Sunday suppers! Baked in the oven for a meal the whole family will enjoy! Makes great meatloaf sandwiches the next day!

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