Bacon-Wrapped Chipotle Meat Loaf On The Grill
Everything changes when you cook meat loaf on the grill. It develops a crust all over, stays tender and juicy all the way through, and takes on that signature grilled flavor. Equal parts beef, pork, and veal is the classic meat combination. Over the years I’ve also used all lamb, all beef, all pork, and a mix of beef and pork.
Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours, largely unattended
1 ⁄ 2 cup bread crumbs (preferably fresh)
1 ⁄ 2 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons canned chipotle chiles mashed with some of the adobo, or to taste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 pounds ground meat (see the headnote)
1 ⁄ 2 cup minced onion
1 ⁄ 2 cup minced carrot
Salt and pepper
3 or 4 slices bacon
1. Start the coals or heat a gas grill for medium-high indirect cooking. That means if you’re using a charcoal grill, push the coals to one side; for gas, turn on the burners only on one half of the grill. Either way, the surface of the grill that doesn’t have any heat underneath it should be large enough to fit the meatloaf, and the temperature inside the grill (when the lid is closed) should be anywhere between 400 degrees and 500 degrees. If using charcoal, put a drip pan under the indirect side of the grill; for gas, empty, clean, and replace the fat trap.
2. Line a baking sheet with a piece of tin foil. Put the bread crumbs and milk in a large bowl; let sit until the crumbs have absorbed the milk, about 5 minutes. Stir in the egg, mashed chipotles, and garlic. Add the meat, onion, carrot, and some salt and pepper and mix gently with your hands until just combined.
3. Transfer the meat to the center of the prepared pan and shape into a loaf shorter and narrower than the drip pan, 1 1 ⁄ 2 to 2 inches high. Top with the bacon, placing the strips so they run the length of the loaf. (You can prepare the loaf up to several hours in advance; cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to grill; cook time will be 10 to 15 minutes longer.)
4. Slide the foil sheet with the meat loaf onto the indirect side of the grill; if using charcoal and a drip pan, make sure the drippings will land in the pan. If you’re using it, insert a probe thermometer (like this one) into the center of the loaf, and set it for 160°F; make sure to run the probe cable away from the fire. Close the lid and cook until your probe alarm sounds, or an instant-read thermometer (like this one) inserted into the center of the loaf registers 160°F, 1 to 2 hours. About halfway through, use two spatulas to turn the loaf; move or rotate it if needed for even cooking. Start checking the temperature at 1 hour.
5. Transfer to a platter or cutting board and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.