Indulge in the rich and soulful flavors of this classic Southern Meatloaf, where a delicious blend of smoky spices and tangy barbecue glaze create a comforting masterpiece that captures the essence of Southern hospitality on your plate!
This classic meatloaf is made with a delicate hint of hickory smoke flavor and topped with a thick, tangy sauce. Made with ground beef, bread crumbs, smoked paprika, and the perfect blend of seasonings. As featured on Allegro Marinade website!
The meatloaf topping makes it extra flavorful! It's a thick, tomato-based homemade BBQ glaze with a tangy zip and just a hint of hickory smoke - make a double batch if you like your meatloaf extra saucy.
Looking for a meatloaf with a twist? Give this Ritz Cracker Meatloaf a try. It's a little different but will win you over.
Why You'll Love It
If you're looking for the best meatloaf recipe, look no further! This turned out to be the best homemade meatloaf that I've ever made.
Another reason this meatloaf is so special is because of a secret ingredient that I discovered on a whim. Keep reading to find out what it is!
Looking for a different, unique side to serve with this meatloaf? Don't hesitate to make my Savory Squash Pie! It definitely goes with meatloaf!
Why This Recipe Works
Flavor! I call this southern meatloaf because of its big flavors. Adding a homemade sauce on meatloaf compliments it perfectly.
Comfort Food! Meatloaf just seems to be an amazing comfort food, too. Those delicious smells coming from the kitchen as the meatloaf bakes will make your mouth water and your tummy growl. Bump up that comfort zone by pairing it with cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread!
Always a Hit! Sometimes, you can smell it before you come through the front door. I've had people ask me, "what's that amazing smell?" Yes, it tastes just as amazing as it smells!
What Goes In It
I've added a perfect blend of herbs and spices, along with some sautéed onions to enhance the flavors.
fresh ground chuck - to ensure a juicy meatloaf, use a high-fat content such as 80/20
onion - onion adds moisture and flavor to the meatloaf
bread crumbs and eggs - to bind the meatloaf (hold it together)
Allegro Hickory Smoked Marinade - this is my secret ingredient for the incredible flavor!
tomato paste (divided) - for added flavor in the meatloaf and in the glaze
the perfect blend of seasonings - thyme, smoked paprika, pepper, garlic powder
ketchup - main ingredient for the glaze
- Ground meat - You can use different types of ground meat such as venison or pork or a mixture of beef and pork. You could also use ground turkey. Keep in mind that venison and turkey are leaner than beef so you may want to add a teaspoon of olive oil while blending the meatloaf together.
- I really want you to use the Allegro marinade for the delicious, smoky flavor. But, if you can't find it at the store, you can use Worcestershire sauce instead.
- Out of eggs? No problem, just leave them out. Without eggs, the meatloaf may be a little crumbly, but it will still taste fantastic. Another alternative is to use an egg substitute such as Egg Beaters (¼ cup is equal to 1 large egg).
- No bread crumbs? You can use crushed croutons, oats, or saltine crackers.
- Tomato paste - If you happen to be out of tomato paste, there are many great substitutes for tomato paste that will work well with this recipe.
How to Make It
This Southern meatloaf recipe is super easy to make!
(Step 1) In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, tomato paste, Allegro marinade, and seasonings.
(Step 2) Add the ground beef, bread crumbs, and sauteed onions to the egg mixture. Use your hands in a kneading fashion to gently blend the beef with the egg mixture.
(Step 3) Shape the mixture into a loaf, and place it into a casserole dish or loaf pan that's been sprayed with non-stick spray. Make the meatloaf glaze.
(Step 4) Spread the glaze on top of the meatloaf. Bake uncovered at 325F for about 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
Be sure to use a good quality, high-fat content ground beef such as chuck. Don't leave out any of the liquid (wet) ingredients! Saute the onions in olive oil, and add both (onions and olive oil) to the meat mixture.
When you're ready to start making the meatloaf, cut the raw meat into several chunks before adding it to the seasoning mix. This helps cut down on the mixing time while helping to distribute the seasonings and bread crumbs.
For extra sauce, make a double batch of the glaze. Spread half onto the meatloaf before cooking, and spread the other half on top after baking, or serve it on the side.
What to Eat With It
I always double the glaze for those who like their meatloaf more wet. For what to serve with meatloaf, try one of these side dishes:
- Slice and Bake Parmesan Potatoes
- Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
- Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
- Loaded Cauliflower Casserole
Now about that secret ingredient... Many of the best meatloaf recipes call for Worcestershire sauce. I was out of Worcestershire sauce the day I wanted to make meatloaf so I used the Allegro instead.
I already knew Allegro was a great marinade for chicken and steak, and I even add it to flavor green beans. So I thought "why not try it?" And now I know it adds a delicious flavor to my southern meatloaf recipe, too! It's my favorite sauce for meatloaf. This stuff is awesome and I highly recommend it!
What to do with Leftover Meatloaf
If you have any of this meatloaf leftover, there are many ways to serve it the next day. One way is to serve it as a meatloaf sandwich or poboy. Meatloaf is particularly crazy good on a yeast roll (hello Sister Shubert's!). You could also serve it on top of spaghetti or use it as a topping on your favorite pizza crust!
Frequently Asked Questions
Two tips to keep your meatloaf from falling apart. One is to use bread crumbs and eggs help to bind the meatloaf (hold it together). Bread crumbs are also important to help to lighten the texture; otherwise, your meatloaf would have the consistency of a hamburger patty. Second is to let the meatloaf rest at least 5 minutes after you remove it from the oven. Letting it rest before you slice it helps to keep the juices in and ensure a more tender texture.
You can this meatloaf before cooking to prevent it from drying out. You can also freeze it after baking. Let the meatloaf cool completely, then place it into a sealable, freezable container. Write the date on the container so you can remember when you froze it.
Place the frozen meatloaf in the refrigerator to thaw about 24 hours before you want to eat it. Reheat in the microwave or heat in a 350-degree oven, covered, until hot.
Store any leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I prefer to use BPA-free glass containers with locking lids. Check out this 18-piece set of glass food storage containers with locking lids from Bayco, available now on Amazon.
You'll want to choose a high fat ground beef, such as chuck. Or use half ground chuck and half ground pork. Next, don't overwork the meatloaf (be gentle!), and finally add moisture-rich ingredients such as onions, eggs, and tomato paste.
More Dinner Ideas
If you tried this recipe, please let me know by leaving a comment! I'd love to hear from you.
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- mixing bowl
- measuring cup(s)
- measuring spoons
- rimmed sheet pan
- 1 cup finely chopped onions (minced)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 3 ounces tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons Allegro Hickory Smoke Marinade see recipe note
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2.25 pounds ground beef, chuck
- ½ cup bread crumbs
BBQ GLAZE INGREDIENTS
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- dash pepper
- Preheat oven to 325F. Saute chopped onion in the olive oil until soft. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine eggs, 3 oz tomato paste, Allegro, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and smoked paprika. A whisk works well at thoroughly combining these ingredients.
- Add the ground beef, bread crumbs, and sauteed onions. Mix well but do not over mix. Suggestion: Use your hands, in a kneading fashion, to blend the beef with the egg mixture.
- Shape the mixture into a loaf, and place it into a casserole dish or loaf pan that's been sprayed with non-stick spray.
- Mix the topping ingredients then spread on top of the meatloaf (see Note 3 below). Bake uncovered at 325F for about 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
This recipe was originally published in 2019 and was updated in 2023.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy to my readers. I'm not a nutritionist and I don't guarantee the accuracy of this data. The data may differ according to the brands I used versus the brands you use. To calculate the data yourself using your brands, try using an online nutrition calculator or app.