Best BBQ Meatloaf | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Best BBQ Meatloaf

I love a good meatloaf recipe and this recipe for 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! This beefy meatloaf is flavored with BBQ sauce for just the right tang. 
Even if you think you don't like meatloaf, you have to give this easy BBQ meatloaf recipe a try. It's so good, it just might change your mind!

Best BBQ Meatloaf | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

This recipe inspiration for this meatloaf with BBQ sauce 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. 

In our house, we love meatloaf. Midwesterners love their meat and potatoes dinners, and meatloaf with mashed potatoes is classic Midwest comfort food. I've made all sorts of meatloaf recipes in my days. My husband loves this  Easy Homestyle Meatloaf. My son is a big fan of Turkey Meatloaf. And I've recently been converted into a fan of this Lipton Onion Soup Meatloaf! This meatloaf with barbeque sauce is my mother's favorite meatloaf recipe I make.

To clear up any possible confusion, this is a recipe for meatloaf that has BBQ sauce in it, it's not made on the BBQ. This meatloaf is made in your oven. 

Best BBQ Meatloaf | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

How do you make the best BBQ 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 the meatloaf binder (bread, bread crumbs, saltine crumbs, etc.) is thoroughly moistened with whatever liquid is called for in the recipe BEFORE combining with the rest of the ingredients. 
  • Once the meatloaf is done (160 degrees F internal temperature), 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! 
  • Use your favorite BBQ sauce in this meatloaf recipe. Whether you are a fan of  sweet Honey BBQ sauce or Tangy BBQ sauce, use what you love best!

Best BBQ Meatloaf | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

What do I need to make this BBQ Meatloaf?

  • Lean ground beef (85/15 or leaner) 
  • butter
  • onion
  • garlic
  • BBQ sauce of your choice! (you use it in the meatloaf and for the BBQ glaze)
  • Dijon mustard
  • saltine crackers
  • buttermilk (or milk)
  • eggs
  • parsley 
  • salt and pepper

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

Why does my meatloaf always fall apart?

What keeps a meatloaf from falling apart? One word, binders. Meatloaf generally has two important ingredients to help "bind" the loaf together and keep it from falling apart, a bread component (fresh bread, breadcrumbs, crackers, etc.) and egg(s). 

This particular barbeque meatloaf recipe uses crackers as a dry binder.  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 and flavor 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 to keeping your meatloaf from drying out. 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. Once mixed, check to make sure the loaf is 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.
If you follow these steps, your recipe should result in a meatloaf that doesn't fall apart. 

What can I serve with BBQ meatloaf? 

Can I substitute ground turkey for beef in this BBQ meatloaf recipe?

Yes! You can substitute ground turkey for the lean beef in this BBQ meatloaf recipe but you may need to adjust the dry binder (saltine crackers) and the liquid (buttermilk or milk) to get a loaf that isn't too wet or dry. Ground turkey tends to be a bit wetter than lean ground beef. 

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

Best BBQ Meatloaf

Prep time: 10 MinCook 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


  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

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Nutritional Information provided is an estimate.

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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!

More Meatloaf Recipes you'll love!

*This post updated on 10/27/2021. Original post date 8/22/2017

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