Smoked Venison Meatloaf Recipe
By Michael Pendley
Everyone needs a little comfort food from time to time, and meatloaf definitely fits the bill. This recipe gives this home-grown classic a hunter’s twist by using ground venison and by baking it in a cast-iron loaf pan on the smoker. If you don’t have a cast iron loaf pan, you can simply form the meat mixture into a loaf by hand and smoke it in a disposable aluminum grill pan.
Since ground venison can be a bit on the dry side by itself, my family and I grind it with bacon to give the meatloaf a little better texture. We also add a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, both for flavor and moisture. The binders for the meatloaf are seasoned breadcrumbs, beaten eggs and a little grated parmesan cheese.
If you have your venison processed and don’t have access to a grinder, simply chop some raw bacon into a fine dice and blend it into your ground venison by hand.
1½ pounds of ground venison
8 ounces of bacon
1 cup of Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 14-ounce can of fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup of milk
¼-cup of grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
½-teaspoon of ground sage
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
Start by grinding or blending the bacon and venison together in a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients except the BBQ sauce and, using either your hands or a large spoon, blend well.
Form the mixture into a loaf shape or pack the mixture into an oiled cast-iron loaf pan. Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees using hickory, pecan or fruitwood.
Place the meatloaf pan in the smoker and cook for 30 minutes, then brush a thin layer of BBQ sauce over the top of the meatloaf. Continue cooking for another one and a half to two hours, brushing with more sauce every 30 minutes.
Serve over a bed of mashed potatoes alongside your favorite roasted vegetables.
Try Out More Recipes with NSSF’s Game Meat Cooking Series
Where hunter and classically trained chef Georgia Pellegrini shares recipes from her book, “Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time.”