Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hot and Smoky Barbecue Meat Loaf

Sorry I haven’t posted for in the last two weeks but between various writing gigs and other projects, the blog has taken a bit of back seat. Moving forward I will be posting mostly on the weekends. I’ll catch up with a bunch of recipes this weekend, but if you’re following me regularly, check in on weekends for new recipes. I’m also going to try to find a way to get you email alerts, I promise! Stay tuned.

It’s been raining so much in California this past week that jokes about building Noah’s ark are taking on a new meaning. Being hunkered down at home under gloomy skies has made me crave some old-fashioned comfort food, and there’s nothing like a sturdy meat loaf to fit the bill. Except this recipe is technically a turkey loaf and it’s a long way from your grandmother’s bland meat loaf.

The recipe comes from Flavors by Pamela Morgan. Like a lot  of CDs where I’ll really only love one or two songs, many of my cookbooks have only 3 or 4 recipes I make again and again. Not so with Flavors, there are at least a half a dozen dishes I have pretty much memorized, and I continue to go back to this book and try new ones. I make this recipe at least two times a year because not only is it a great change of pace—zesty and hearty, it freezes well. We get four meals out of one recipe, which is a great way to go when you’re busy!

You can make this recipe with ground meat (the original calls for it), but it’s just as good with turkey and better for you. You can also make it as spicy as your palette can (or can’t) take. When we first made this recipe, we misread it and used two cans of chipotles. We practically had to call the fire department. We reread it the next day and realized the error of our ways. The recipe calls for two chipotles, we use three, which for us is a very doable amount of heat. If you don’t like hot, you could try eliminating the chipotles, I bet it would still be very tasty.

I serve the turkey loaf with a refreshing spinach, orange and red onion salad or the creamy slaw recipe from Flavors. The “meat” loaf goes great with garlic mashed potatoes, corn bread, or Texas Toast.
Hot and Smoky Barbecue Meat Loaf
2 cups yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup chicken stock
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ cup plus 1/3 cup store-bought smokey BBQ sauce, plus ¼ cup for drizzling over servings on plates 
½ cup evaporated skim milk
2 large eggs
4 tsp. soy sauce
4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2-3 canned chipotles en adobo, finely chopped
¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 ¾ lb. ground turkey

Heat a skillet over medium heat and combine oil, chicken stock, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano and thyme. Cook until all of the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add ½ cup BBQ sauce and the evaporated milk. Stir scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cool to room temperature.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and chipotles. Add the oats and the beaten egg mixture to the cooled vegetables in the skill and mix together. Put the ground turkey in a large bowl. Poor vegetable, oat and egg mixture over the ground turkey in a large bowl and mix together lightly but thoroughly. Spoon into a 9-by-5-3-inch loaf pan, mounding the meat mixture slightly. Spread the remaining 1/3 cup BBQ sauce evenly over the top of the loaf.
Bake the meat loaf until the top is slight browned, about 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes. Slice and serve immediately.

Tips and Tidbits
To make a humble meat loaf look like a dish that could be on FoodTV, put some BBQ sauce in a squeeze bottle and drizzle it over the top before serving.


  1. oh boy - I am looking for something to bring to a super bowl party and this is it! I'll post how it turns out!

  2. Can't wait to hear how it's "received" so to speak. It's a good guy dish!

  3. This turned out great and was a big hit amidst the usual Superbowl fare...and it is spicy! It needs a good cold beer...if you are a wine drinker, I'd suggest using 2 chipotles instead of 3... I made it with turkey and substituted the oatmeal for matzo meal, because that's what I had around...although I think the oatmeal is a better bet...I used Annie's Smoky Maple bbq was really really tasty.