Jack’d Up Smoked Meatloaf

April 28, 2017

Jack’d Up Smoked Meatloaf gets it’s name from the insane amount of Jack going on inside! This meatloaf is insanely moist because of the Jack Daniels in the meat, ridiculously addictive because of the pepper jack cheese oozing from the middle, and unbelievable bold because of the spicy Jack Daniels sauce smothered on top. Add the subtle hints of wood smoke to the mixture and you’ve got a meatloaf worth eating.

I love taking these old school classic recipes, and giving them a modern twist. I’m not really a traditionalist when it comes to BBQ (I’m from Utah after all, there isn’t much tradition to cling to!) I love using classic BBQ techniques and good old fashioned wood smoke to create new layers of flavor in exciting and updated ways. Meatloaf is about as old school as it gets, but I think the bold flavors I’ve added into the mix create a meatloaf like you’ve never had it before.

For this recipe, I use my homemade steak rub (grab that recipe HERE), but you can substitute for a beef or steak seasoning of your choice if you don’t want to make your own. The little pinch of cayenne in the homemade rub just adds a little kiss of heat inside the meatloaf itself and it is phenomenal!! That homemade touch really adds to the final Jack’d Up Smoked Meatloaf experience.


Jack'd up Smoked Meatloaf

PRO TIP: For smoked meatloaf, you really need a pan that will allow the smoke to penetrate all sides. I smoked mine in a shallow grill basket with holes on the bottom so the smoke could circulate all around the meatloaf. You can also use a cooling or roasting rack!

4.29 from 7 votes
Jack'd Up Smoked Meatloaf
Jack'd Up Smoked Meatloaf
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Barbecue, Comfort Food
Servings: 6 people
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 medium red onion grated
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Jack Daniels whiskey
  • 1 Tablespooon homemade steak rub (recipe linked in post) or your favorite steak rub
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 6 oz pepper jack cheese cut into strips
For the sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Jack Daniels whiskey
  • 1 Tablespoon homemade steak rub
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  1. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F for indirect smoking. This meatloaf is awesome with hickory or oak wood.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, red onion, garlic, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, Jack Daniels, and milk. Mix gently with your hands until just combined. Don't overwork the meat or your meatloaf will be tough and chewy, just gently mix.
  3. Spread half of your meatloaf mixture on the bottom of a grill basket. Layer on the pepper jack cheese, leaving about an inch of meatloaf on all sides. Top with the remaining meatloaf mixture and press the edges together to seal completely. Any exposed holes and the cheese will leak out while cooking.
  4. In a small bowl. combine the ingredients for the sauce and then pour over the top of the meatloaf, letting it run down the sides a little bit.
  5. Place the meatloaf on the smoker, close the lid, and smoke for 4 hours or until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F. Let the meatloaf rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
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63 thoughts on “Jack’d Up Smoked Meatloaf

  1. Sorry, time constrained parent here……could you swap the sauce for just the bottled Jack Daniels BBQ sauce or no. Sounds lazy but being a busy mom I’m always needing some kind of shortcuts! PS-I live in Tennessee LOL so maybe that’s shameful to take shortcuts pertaining to BBQ sauces.

    1. You can definitely do it on a gas or charcoal grill, just use two zone heat. So the burners are turned on on one side and left off on the other side. Place the meatloaf on the side with the unlit burners. Keep the lid closed and monitor the temperature. It will take just about an hour at 350 degrees, be sure to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer for doneness.

    1. Hey Doug! You can cook the meatloaf in the oven for about an hour at 350 degrees F. Just check the temperature with an internal meat thermometer to ensure it is cooked thoroughly.

  2. So I am making this for Mother’s Day tomorrow for my wife and mother in law. I have seen other sites where they recommend only two hours. I do worry at 4 it will get dry. I also am planning a bacon wrap around it. Is two hours sufficient?

    1. This is a pretty thick meatloaf, and it is stuffed with cheese. It took me the full 4 hours to get it to the correct internal temperature. You can shoot for two, but you should probably increase the temperature to at least 300 degrees F.

    1. Hey Deb! That is a great way to do it! Just leave the burners off under the meatloaf and keep them on under the wood chips in foil. Usually those foil packs burn out within 45 minutes, so just keep one on hand ready to go!

  3. I’m smoking this tonight as I have a night off from baseball with ALL 3 BOYS!! Stars have aligned! hah! Anyways, I’m going to introduce a bit of ground spicy Italian breakfast Sausage into the mix… thoughts?!

  4. Hi, how exactly would we do this, with a charcoal grill with hickory smoke chips.. I’m planning on getting this going within next few minutes! 🙂 we have regular charcoal and I have either a skillet with holes or a roasting rack, it’s smaller and will probably fit better in the grill.. Please advise, thanks!

    1. Hey Michelle- a roasting rack or he skillet would work great! Just plan for two zone heat, the coals on one side with the hickory chips above them and the meat on the other!

  5. Cooking this on an electric grill with Jack Daniels chips. Should I put water in the pan or just straight smoke it?

  6. Made this meatloaf and my gosh was it good. Shared the link on the My Masterbuilt Smoker group on Facebook. Lots of oohs and aahs and people cant wait to try it. Thanks.

  7. I made it and wrapped in it in laced bacon. Hint, put the sauce on then the bacon so it is on the meatloaf and not just the bacon.

  8. Would it taste as good without the jack in the meatloaf? I can use the jack daniels bbq sauce on the outside but can i get away without using it in the meat?

  9. I still have yet to smoke meatloaf. It looks absolutely amazing though. One day…hopefully soon! I saw another recipe recently that after it had smoked for 4 hours, they sliced it, basted it in more sauce, then hit it on a hot grill. Looked mouthwatering. Theirs didn’t have a cheese filling though….which I think I’d prefer. Thanks for the awesome recipe Susie!

  10. Just made the meatloaf for today’s dinner. Sorry to say, but this was nothing more than a two pound hamburger. We smoked on the grill and it took a little more than 4 hours. I’m not a fan of Jack Daniels and the flavor permeated everything. There are way too many red pepper flakes between the sauce and steak seasoning for my taste. This would have been much better with a little more bread and milk in the mix.

    1. Hey Jim- this is definitely a Jack Daniels infused meatloaf, so it makes sense that the flavor was there. There is also a strong pepper presence between the flakes and the pepper jack cheese. You could adapt the recipe with less of those ingredients to suit your tastes. I’m sorry you weren’t a fan!

  11. Many of my weekend inspirations come from your site! Been wanting to try this one for a couple of months now. I’m a Kentucky bourbon guy so we switched up with some Makers Mark. Also swapped the ground beef for ground pork, which I do in a lot of recipes. Very tender, no fat, perfect balance of heat and sweet for our family. Everyone loved it and asked me to keep this recipe. Keep up the good work and wish I had time to try more of your creations!

  12. Tried this tonight. Oh, my, goodness — it was so good. Make it with Beam Black, all I had. My wife said, ” I never thought I could love meat loaf” and she shoveled more onto her plate. Also added to a note on the Masterbuilt FB group. Really, really good. Thanks for posting.

  13. My kids got me my first official smoker for Christmas. yesterday I seasoned the grill and today I made your Jack’d up smoked meatloaf for my first smoked meal. .Outstanding!! I am in love with my smoker and in love with your recipe. Thank you so much for sharing.

  14. Loved it! Made it yesterday for friends over for The Daytona 500 and they all loved it as well. I was reluctant to the amount of JD in the sauce, but it works so well without being boozy. I did do two changes, where used 1 1/2 lbs ground beef and 1 lbs sweet Italian sausage and I used Heinz Chili Sauce rather than ketchup. So delicious and looking forward to doing it again. Thanks for sharing and the amazing pictures!

  15. Just tried this. My fiancee hasn’t stopped raving about it for the past hour. Lol. My charcoal grill, I wore out, so had to use gas on lowest setting and wood chips for the smoke. I had to use a cooling rack to cook on, so I placed a pan underneath to catch the dripping. I added a little extra bourbon so my sauce was runny. No biggie, I poured the sauce into a pan and smoke it too so it thickened in the pan. Some of my cheese seeped out into the catch pan, so I just added it to the top of the meatloaf then topped it with the thickened sauce. Then I used the drippings to make gravy, added a little beef flavoring, salt and cracked black pepper. Hug hit to serve with garlic mashed potatoes. My son and fiancee fell in love with this recipe and the gravy. I was told if I make meatloaf any other way, I’m fired. Lol

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