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Smoked Italian Beef Meatloaf

This recipe for Smoked Italian Beef Meatloaf is a delicious twist on a classic comfort food. It combines the rich flavors of ground beef, a blend of Italian herbs, giardiniera, and red bell pepper, topped with a melty Italian cheese blend. The meatloaf is cooked on a pellet grill, adding a hint of smoke that enhances its flavor. A unique sauce made with au jus, Italian herbs, and a touch of red wine, provides the perfect complement to the meatloaf, making it a dish that stands out in both flavor and presentation.

Smoked Italian Beef Meatloaf

Traeger Smoked Italian Beef Meatloaf

This meatloaf recipe is a must-try, especially if you like Italian Beef Sandwiches. It has all of the flavor components of that Chicago staple, and the inclusion of giardiniera and red bell pepper adds so much flavor to the final result.

I like eating this in a sandwich, like its namesake, but it would be delicious served on top of a pile of mashed potatoes or alongside some crispy French fries too.

When preparing the meatloaf, it’s essential to mix the ingredients gently to ensure they are evenly distributed without overworking the meat, which can make the loaf tough. Cooking it on a pellet grill at 350°F allows for a slow, even cook, giving the meatloaf a perfect texture and smokiness. Use a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches the safe internal temperature of 160°F.

Feel free to customize the recipe to suit your taste. You can omit the giardiniera or substitute with a mix of other pickled vegetables, or you can use a different cheese blend to switch it up a bit. This recipe can also be adapted for a conventional oven if you don’t have a pellet smoker or if the weather isn’t very friendly right now for cooking outdoors.

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Why you’ll love this dish…

  • Fun Twist – This recipe is perfect for the meatloaf lovers in your life that wants a fun twist on a classic recipe!
  • Versatile – You can swap out ingredients to suit your family’s tastes and preferences.
  • Make-Ahead Magic – This is the perfect dish to make ahead and have hearty homemade lunches all week!

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Smoked Italian Beef Meatloaf

Italian Beef Meatloaf shopping list

Wondering if you have to hit the store? Here’s the list of items you’ll need to make this recipe. For specific amounts, please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Half and Half
  • Eggs
  • Minced Giardiniera
  • Minced Red Bell Pepper
  • Italian Herbs
  • Minced Garlic
  • Salt
  • Onion Powder
  • Beef Bouillon
  • Ground Beef (85/15)
  • Shredded Italian Blend Cheese
  • Prepared Au Jus
  • Italian Herbs (for sauce)
  • Red Wine

75+ of my favorite Traeger Recipes

Smoked Italian Beef Meatloaf

How to make Italian Beef Meatloaf

This is just the overview so you can see what you’re actually getting into here. When you are cooking, you’ll want to use the full recipe at the bottom of the page.



Set pellet grill to 350°F.



Combine breadcrumbs, half and half, eggs, giardiniera, red bell pepper, herbs, garlic, salt, onion powder, and beef bouillon in a bowl. Then mix in ground beef.


Prepare Dish

Spray a casserole dish and form the meatloaf in it.



Place in the grill and cook until internal temperature reaches 150°F.


Add Toppings

Top with cheese and au jus, then cook until 160°F.


Rest and Serve

Let rest before slicing and serving.

Try our Smoked Pizza Meatloaf too!

Smoked Italian Beef Meatloaf

Italian Beef Meatloaf FAQ

Can this recipe be made in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the meatloaf mixture a day ahead and keep it refrigerated. Just bring it to room temperature before cooking.

What’s the best way to store and reheat the leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through.

Can I use a different type of meat?

Absolutely! Try using a mix of ground pork or turkey for a different flavor.

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Smoked Italian Beef Meatloaf

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Smoked Italian Beef Meatloaf
Yield: 8 servings

Smoked Italian Beef Meatloaf

Smoked Italian Beef Meatloaf

All the flavors of your favorite Italian Beef Sandwich in meatloaf form! This fun twist on a typical meatloaf is enhanced by the wood-fired flavor of a pellet grill!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes



  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c minced giardiniera
  • 1/2 c minced red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Italian herbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon beef bouillon
  • 2 pounds 85/15 ground beef
  • 2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese


  • 2 cups prepared Au Jus
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herbs
  • 1 teaspoon red wine


  1. Preheat your pellet grill to 350°F.
  2. Mix the breadcrumbs, half and half, eggs, giardiniera, red bell pepper, Italian herbs, garlic, salt, onion powder, and beef bouillon in a large bowl. Stir until everything is evenly distributed throughout.
  3. Mix in the ground beef until the breadcrumb mixture is incorporated with the beef.
  4. Prep a 3-quart casserole dish with cooking spray and place the meat mixture into the dish.
  5. Form a loaf and leave some room around all sides of the dish.
  6. Place into the grill.
  7. Combine the au jus ingredients on the stovetop in a pan and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Let the meatloaf cook until the internal temperature reaches 150°F.
  9. Put the cheese on top of the meatloaf and pour about an inch of au jus into the pan with the meatloaf.
  10. Let cook until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.
  11. Remove from the grill and let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.


  • I like serving this inside toasted hoagie rolls or buns and extra au jus for dipping.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 335Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 1103mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 17g

Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate. If you are tracking these things for medical purposes please consult an outside, trusted source. Thanks!

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Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson, a self-taught expert in grilling and outdoor cooking, launched Or Whatever You Do in 2010. Her blog, renowned for its comprehensive and creative outdoor cooking recipes, has garnered a vast audience of millions. Nicole's hands-on experience and passion for grilling shine through her work. Her husband, Jeremiah Johnson, also plays a pivotal role in recipe development, adding his culinary flair to the mix. Together, they form a dynamic duo, offering a rich and varied outdoor cooking experience to their followers.

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