Unlock New Levels Of Flavor And Put Your Meatloaf On The Grill

Meatloaf is arguably one of the most classic American dishes and belongs right alongside foods like burgers, fried chicken, and apple pie. It's easy to make: Smush up some ground meat with eggs, bread crumbs, and seasonings, then bake it. It's an entree we've all eaten before. However, while it's indisputably a classic, the same old meatloaf flavor can get a little old. True, there are ways around that, like changing your meatloaf topping to something other than plain old ketchup, but a baked meatloaf is still going to be a baked meatloaf.

What if there were other ways to cook your meatloaf that could rocket-boost its flavor? As it turns out, there are. Smoking your meatloaf is always an option (and it's a good one), but it goes even further than that. You can even grill it — and all this method requires is a little bit more effort and a knowledge of how to use the classic two-zone grill method.

The two-zone method lets you get a nice, even cook

The two-zone method may sound complicated, but it's pretty simple. Use one side of the grill as you typically would, with direct high heat, while leaving the other comparatively "cold," allowing it to serve as an indirect heating source more akin to an oven. This means you can apply direct heat for an outer sear without losing the ability to cook a thicker cut of meat (e.g., meatloaf) all the way through, ensuring you don't wind up with something akin to a Pittsburgh-style steak.

This isn't the only time this cooking method helps you get a perfect cook on your meat; it's also useful for cooking tri-tip steak, for example. Use a drip pan under the hot side to prevent less desirable outcomes, such as meat fat drippings causing things to catch on fire. Finally, you can (and should) use wood chips in your fire to impart those great smoky flavors into your meatloaf. Hickory is a fantastic choice due to how it pairs with beef.

When grilling meatloaf, timing is going to vary

From there, you want to start your meatloaf on the hot side of the grill. Shoot for approximately 3 to 4 minutes on each side to get a nice, even exterior bark like you'd want on any grilled meat. This doesn't just taste great; it also brings a fantastic texture to the meatloaf and makes it much easier to move and flip. This is important since the next part involves moving it to the cooler side to let it cook the rest of the way.

Unlike on the hot side, there is no simple time you can expect here; the thickness of the meat cylinder will determine how long your meatloaf takes to cook. You'll have to keep taking the meat's temperature until it hits 160 degrees Fahrenheit internally. Then, let it rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the loaf.

If you follow those simple steps, you'll bring a whole new dimension to your meatloaf game. Sure, it's a little more work — but the result is worth it.