This Smoked Meatloaf Burgers On The Traeger Grill, recipe combines comfort food with nostalgia.
Ever since I was ski-slumming in the late 90's the everything bagel has held a sweet spot in my heart.
Back then, the bagel shop was one of the few options available on the way to the mountain which was also my place of work.
These days, I seldom make an early morning or even mid-day bagel run. So when I get my hands on some fresh-baked bagels, I want to pay respect to those fond memories from a time gone by.
I often get asked to make meatloaf at home.
Growing up, meatloaf to me was something I never understood and quite gross.
When I started taking outdoor cooking more seriously, it made sense that it was time to see if I could make meatloaf more edible than I'd remembered.
Boy am I glad I took a chance on trying it again.
Good meatloaf starts with good ingredients
There's a Montana butcher shop about a mile from my house where I've shopped frequently.
I've been shopping there for almost 20 years and with few exceptions, the offerings are the same.
They have really good beef, pork, chicken, and brats. The in-house beef jerky is amazing, but they don't tend to drift from the regular offerings.
On a recent visit, "The Meat Store" as I like to call it, they had about 60 packages of meatloaf mix. The combination of ground pork and beef is perfect for this dish.
I wish this was the kind of place where I could go in there with a cup of coffee and a pocket full of cash and make small talk with the owner about cuts of beef for about a half-hour, but it's just not that kind of place.
When I ask the owner if the mix of pork and beef was seasoned or not, he gave me an uncharacteristically big grin. With about as much small talk as he could muster, he said it was un-seasoned. He went on to say that the 50-50% pork-beef mixture had been ground three times on a finer grind setting to make a really nice meatloaf.
I was sold and added a couple of pounds to the day's order.
Just like burgers, Meatloaf is a natural for cooking on the Traeger Grill. I have found that if the mixture is of good consistency, not too crumbly or wet that it holds together really well cooking directly on the grill grate. This is a perfect opportunity for me to make smoked meatloaf burgers on the Traeger Grill.
What temperature do you cook hamburgers on a Traeger grill?
The best temperature to cook burgers on the Traeger grill is 400F. I find the meat gets a delicious crust at that temperature while retaining moisture and catching a hint of smoky flavor.
But for this meatloaf burger recipe, I use two temperatures. Initially, we will smoke the meatloaf at a lower temperature, to add flavor getting the meat to set, and then raise the temperature to develop a delicious crust.
My meatloaf mixture is simple.
I finely dice a medium sweet onion and sweat it in butter until translucent. It goes into the meat mix with a tablespoon each of black pepper, diced fresh garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, and a couple of beaten eggs. One secret ingredient I also add is about ¼ cup of gochujang sauce for zest and flavor.
For this recipe, I include a couple of tablespoons of Everything But The Bagel seasoning to the mixture as well and form it into a log between four and five inches around.
I find forming the loaf by hand but on top of parchment paper makes it much easier to work with. This method also allows me to smoke the meat mixture for a bit and remove the parchment paper once the meat sets up a bit.
Set the Traeger Grill to 225F with the super smoke setting enabled if you have it. Just prior to smoking, I sprinkle a generous amount of the Everything But The Bagel seasoning all over the meatloaf.
After about an hour and a half of smoking, you will notice the meat takes on a nice red color from the smoke. It also begins to release some oils and juices. I enjoy the crust or bark on meatloaf so I remove the parchment paper so all sides are exposed to heat and smoke.
Because the meat is a mixture of both beef and pork, it is important to make sure the internal temperature reaches at least 160F.
When the meatloaf is well sauced, it gets an additional sprinkle of the Everything but the Bagel seasoning on the exterior. This is a good time to raise the heat of your smoker to 400F.
Raising the temperature of the Traeger will allow the coating to set while the internal temperature continues to climb. I like to pull the meat at an internal temperature of about 145F and allow it to rest. The carryover will continue to cook the meat and if rested for about 20 minutes it should eclipse 160F and be in the safe zone for serving.
It's hard to allow something which has smoked for a few hours to rest. But with this recipe, I am cutting a round resembling a burger from the meatloaf and I want to make sure all of the juices have had a chance to re-distribute a bit before slicing.
I like to toast an everything bagel before plating and garnish with some mayonnaise and Cabot cheddar cheese.
There is something so satisfying about turning this meatloaf into a burger. The smoky and spicy sauce has a richness you get to taste with each bite. The crispiness of the toasted bagel and seasonings both on the burger and the bagel add different pops of flavor that add so much dimension. I encourage you to try and make this Everything But The Bagel Burger On The Traeger Grill. It won't disappoint.
Traeger Bagel Burger Recipe
- 1 medium sweet onion finely diced
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 eggs beaten
- ½ cup gochujang sauce divided
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tablespoons Everything but the bagel seasoning divided
- 8 Everything bagels sliced
- ¼ cup gochujang sauce
- ¼ cup Red Duck smoked ketchup or unflavored ketchup
- Finely dice a medium sweet onion and sweat it in butter with the garlic until the onion becomes translucent
- Set aside and allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes
- Combine the meat mixture with the pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, gochujang sauce, and butter-onion mixture
- add one tablespoon of the everything but the bagel seasoning and the beaten eggs to the meat and spice mix
- Using your hands, combine all the ingredients until well incorporated
- Allow the meat to rest for 30 minutes
- Preheat your Traeger grill to 225F on the Super Smoke setting if you have that feature
- Lay down a double sheet of parchment paper
- Form the meat mixture into a loaf on the parchment paper
- Sprinkle the remaining Everything But The Bagel seasoning all over the meatloaf
- Place the meatloaf and parchment paper on the Traeger grill
- Cook for 45 minutes then carefully remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the meatloaf
- Continue to cook the meatloaf until it reaches an internal temperature of 120F
- Remove the meatloaf and raise the heat on the Traeger grill to 400F
- Use the meatloaf sauce to coat the meatloaf
- Sprinkle additional Everything But The Bagel seasoning all over the meatloaf
- Return the meatloaf to the Traeger Grill and cook to an internal temperature of 145F
- Allow the meat to rest covered for 30 minutes until it reaches 160F
- While the meat is resting toast your bagels on the Traeger grill (optional)
- Slice the meat into approximately 8 slices
- Place a slice of meatloaf on the everything bagel to form your sandwich
- Garnish with mayonnaise and Cabot cheddar cheese if desired
Considering that you have the Traeger grill already hot and fired up, you should make these crispy no-fry potatoes as a side dish. Those yummy potatoes and other Traeger recipes can be found in this post.