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Maple Plank Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

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[FTC Standard Disclosure] Chris and I traded copies of our books, so while I didn't pay for this book, I exchanged something of equal value, so I would not consider this a sponsored post. I do get a small percentage from sales of any Amazon Affiliate links. I received the set of Tabasco bbq sauces for free.
We recently made the plank smoked Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf recipe from The Four Fundamentals of Smoking by Chris Sussman. We made crispy tallow fried potatoes and skillet green beans and had a wonderful meal. The meatloaf was smoky, sweet, spicy, well seasoned, and delicious.

You might have noticed that my meatloaves and breakfast fatties (smoked stuffed breakfast sausage) are usually naked. Alexis even asked why I don't often do bacon-wrapping or the infamous bacon-weave. Am I anti-bacon? Heck no! 
It is simply a matter of preference. Like anything, bacon-wraps have their benefits and drawbacks, so it comes down to your personal inclinations. 
Pros of the Bacon-Wrap
Appearance – Bacon-wrapped food looks delicious. At first glance, it gets the mouth watering.Flavor booster – A bacon wrap turns the flavor up to 11. Juiciness – Wrapping food in bacon, especially ground meats, minimizes moisture loss.Self-basting – As the bacon fat renders, it bastes the food. Cons of the Bacon-WrapSmoke Penetration – A bacon-wrap is a barrier between the smoke and the food inside of the wrap. Crust bust – The bacon-wrap keeps the meat's exterior from forming a crust that it would otherwise. This means no Maillard reaction, a key flavor. Granted, the bacon gets it instead, but the interior meat will not.Food costs – With the cost of groceries shooting up and a pound of bacon getting in the $10 range, a bacon-wrap will bump up your food budget.For everything, there is a season, right? A time to wrap and a time to go naked. So let's get back to this cook.
The PrepAlexis asked, "Does it take a lot of ingredients?"
I replied like Jake from Allstate, "Well, it's a meatloaf, so….yeah."
That said, the prep was simple, just mixing up a lot of stuff with ground meat. The trickiest part would be wrapping the meatloaf. I find it easiest to drape the bacon over the loaf and then use a long-bladed spatula to tuck the ends under the loaf.
I picked up a new "mess in place" (mise en place) tray at Home Goods last week. If you grill a lot, you need at least one of these for carrying stuff in and out to your grill. 
To tuck the edges, I slightly rolled the loaf to the left and used the spatula to tuck all of the edges underneath in one swoop.
Eeeek! It's a bacon-mummy! 
I guess if mummies WERE made from bacon, Brendan Fraser would have been chasing them instead of the other way around. And instead of guns, he'd just have a pair of tongs and a skillet.

Then to move the whole thing and keep the bacon-wrapped, I used an oversized spatula to move it to the pre-soaked plank. I thought oversized spatulas were a gimmick until I got one, and now I use it all the time for moving spatchcocked chickens, pork butts, and briskets. This particular one is the Blacksmith Hawg Lifter [Amazon Affiliate link] from Oklahoma Joe's. I've had it for about 3 years, and if it broke tomorrow, I'd buy a new one. 
The Grill Set-UpI used one of our large Big Green Egg's for this cook. I used a raised-direct set-up where the grate was about 3-4 inches above the fire ring. Even though I soaked the maple plank, the extra distance helps ensure the board will heat and smolder rather than burst into flames. 
Starting with a clean grill gives you the best chance for success. So I used my Kick Ash Basket to "shake that ash". I transferred the used coal to a steam pan, added new lump charcoal, and put the used charcoal back on top. I like to start with the used coal on top because it lights easier with no popping.
To achieve the "raised direct" position, I used this Adjustable Rig with the grate set at the middle of the 5 possible positions.  You could use a simple homemade raised grate, a Kamado Joe Divide and Conquer, the BGE Eggspander, or most any multiple-tiered grate system to do this. 
Adjustable rig set in place. There is no heat diffuser below it.
The CookI got the Egg settled in at 350°f, put the planked meatloaf into the grill, and the cook went uneventfully. When cooking on a plank like this, it will heat up and start to smolder, but it should never catch fire. The efficient, limited airflow of a kamado grill or a drum smoker helps keep that from happening. 
Let's get this party started.
I used my durable and simple-to-use Thermoworks Chef Alarm to monitor the internal temperature and cooking time. The whole thing took right at 90 minutes.
The SauceI normally don't care for mass-produced bbq sauces and typically don't accept offers of free samples. But when the Tabasco® Brand offered me samples of their new line of BBQ sauces, my culinary curiosity got the best of me. I mean, it is Tabasco®, after all.  
Note, they just gave me free samples, this isn't a paid gig, and I can say anything I want. I even warned the PR person that I probably wouldn't like it. It was a pretty funny email exchange. I half-suspected they wouldn't send the product after I told them how I felt. 😆 
Original BBQ Sauce (0/5 flames on the heat scale)
Jalapeno Mesquite BBQ Sauce (1/5 flames)
Habenero Jerk BBQ Sauce (3/5 flames)
Honey BBQ Sauce (1/5 flames)
We used the Honey BBQ Sauce to glaze the meatloaf. Turns out, it was quite good!
Soooo….about that. We actually liked the Honey BBQ Sauce a good bit. It first hits you with a sweet (sugar, honey, pineapple juice concentrate), tangy (tamarind, vinegar), and smoky (chipotle, natural smoke) combo. It finishes off with a surprising bit of heat for the 1/5 heat level. 

I look forward to trying the others.The SidesMan shall not live by meatloaf alone, right? I made two quick sides. Tallow fried potatoes – Honey gold potatoes sauteed in beef tallow with onion, garlic, and red bell pepper. Seasoned it with salt and pepper. When almost done, I tossed in a dollop of roasted garlic mayo and flipped that a bit. Nice flavor boost.Skillet green beans – blanched green beans sauteed in butter with water chestnuts, yellow bell pepper, garlic, soy sauce, and pepper.
I still love my BGE Modular Nest from Mannix Pools and Grills in Winter Haven, FL. It lets me spread out. 
The potatoes are in a Lodge Pro-Logic skillet, and the beans in an 80-year-old #5 Griswold skillet.

The ResultsIt should come as no surprise; it was a fabulous meal. Everything about it was fantastic.
The bacon held tightly and even stayed on when the loaf was sliced. 
I glazed the slices with just a bit more of the Tabasco® Honey BBQ Sauce to give it that zip. This was a perfect plate.
Leftovers? If you know me at all, you know that I absolutely made a meatloaf sandwich. Sourdough, Smokehouse cheddar, fried onions, roasted garlic sauce, and more of the Honey BBQ Sauce. 
Spectacular.

By: Chris
Title: Maple Plank Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf
Sourced From: www.nibblemethis.com/2021/06/maple-plank-bacon-wrapped-meatloaf.html
Published Date: 06/02/21

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Pellet Grill Tips and Tricks

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If you're planning to use a pellet grill, you may be wondering how to prepare the meat. There are a few tips you should keep in mind, but the first step is to understand what you're smoking. The most important tip is to understand the composition of your meat. For instance, do you plan on smoky or dry meat? You also need to consider whether you'll be smoking white or dark meat?

If you've never used a pellet grill before, you should learn the basics and avoid sloppy cooking. Proper care is the key to making your grill last for many years. When it's time to replace the pellets, make sure you clean the grill thoroughly. Do not put the pellets on cement or 2X4s; they'll turn to cement. When they're smoky, they'll stick to the sides of the pellet rack and stick to the bottom.

You should also learn how to cook different types of food. While most pellet grills come with a digital display, you should read the owner's manual before using them. The temperature range for each type of food varies, so make sure you know your food well before you begin cooking. You should know that filet mignon beef requires 360 degrees Fahrenheit for three to 10 minutes, while pork belly needs 225-300°F for four hours. Before starting your cooking, it's important to research the ingredients. By doing so, you'll know how to use the right pellets for your specific recipe. Aside from ensuring that the temperature is appropriate, you'll also know how much wood pellets you need to use.

In addition to these tips, you should also know how to season your pellet grill. By properly seasoning your grill, you'll prevent food from sticking and ensuring that it cooks evenly. You should also make sure that the pellets are clean as possible. By doing this, you'll be able to prevent any flare-ups and uneven cooking. If you are a beginner, this may be the ideal option for you.

One of the most important pellet grill tips is to use a specialized water pan. It can be placed over the racks in the smoker. You can place the pans in the freezer to store the water and avoid the meat from drying out. Then, cover the entire grill with foil to prevent the heat from escaping. A good pellet smoker has a water vapor chamber, which is ideal for slow-cooking brisket.

When using a pellet grill, make sure you purchase hardwood pellets. Unlike home-heating pellets, hardwood pellets should be purchased specifically for use on a pellet grill. While not all types of foods are suited to smoke, most of them will do well with smoke added to them. Besides, if you want to smoke brisket for an extended period of time, you should buy a hardwood-pellet smoker with a water pan.


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How Do I Get More Smoke From My Traeger?

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If you're wondering how to get more smoke from your Traeger, there are several options available to you. One of the easiest ways to increase the amount of smoke coming out of your smoker is to lower the temperature. If you cook at too high a temperature, you'll be cooking at too low a temperature. As a result, your meat will cook unevenly and you won't get the deep flavor and aroma of smoked meat you've been looking for.

The first option is to use low smoking temperatures during the first hour of cooking. This will ensure that your meat gets most of the nitrogen it needs, which is essential for a great smoke ring. You can also reduce the amount of fat on your meat and the temperature of the smoker itself. By doing so, you'll have more control over the amount of smoke your meat produces, which is important for achieving the perfect smoke ring.

You can also cook longer at a lower temperature to enhance the smoke in your food. In doing so, you will give your meat more time to absorb the flavors of the smoke. You should also cover the drip tray with aluminum foil to make cleaning easier. Another option is to add wood chips to the smoker. Finally, try adding more hardwood pellets. But remember that the longer you cook, the more smoke you'll get.

When preparing your next smoked meat, try using a Pellet Grill. This method will give you more smoke than you'd get from a charcoal grill. While wood pellets add a great flavor to your food, you can use other types of pellets, such as hickory and oak, for an even more authentic smoke flavor. If you want to smoke a whole pig, you can use alder, hickory, or even a wood blend.

Depending on the size of your food, you may have to smoke it for a longer period of time. A few minutes might do for salmon, while a large brisket might take several hours. The more smoke you get, the better, and the more flavorful your food will be. But, you should keep in mind that pellets can be expensive, so you should check if they will work for your specific needs.

If you have a Traeger smoker, you can choose to add a wood pellet to the fire. You can also use a shop-vac to clean the firepot, auger entry, and fans of the smoker. After cleaning the unit, turn it on and check the amount of smoke from the grill. It will emit a small amount of smoke by itself, but you can also add more if you want to.


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Are Propane Grills Safe?

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The National Fire Protection Association has tips on grill safety. Make sure that the food you cook does not touch the heat source, or you risk cross contamination. You can prevent this by using disposable gloves to handle raw meat. You should wash your hands thoroughly before handling other ingredients or food. Before you start cooking, be sure to remove the gloves and wash your hands with soap and water. When you have finished grilling, clean the grates. After cleaning the grates, you should discard them.

Proper placement is critical. Make sure that the grill is not too close to structures. Ensure that you have a clear area around it. When using a gas grill, the hose should not be left out. The debris from the grill can fall onto the hose, causing a leak. You should also keep children away from the grill. Keeping kids out of reach is essential. Ideally, you should place the grill far enough from people and structures to keep children away.

Propane tanks should be stored in a dry, shady area. Do not store the cylinder in an enclosed garage or indoor. Ensure that there are no cracks or splits. You should also check the hose for cracks, and check for any evidence of critters or insects. If you find any of these signs, you should replace it. However, if you want to use gas grills outdoors, you should check with a local retailer or propane provider for the best advice.

Propane tanks should be kept upright while being transported. Never store propane tanks on their sides, as the valves may be open when you open them. If you find that your propane tank has a leak, the gas could spill onto the grill. This can be dangerous to you and your family. If you have a gas grill, always use one tank and never store an empty one. This is due to the fact that the fire risk is higher in a tank that is not connected to the main source of propane.

Propane tanks should not be used in confined spaces. The gas tanks are designed to be placed outside where children cannot easily reach them. They can be a flammable fire hazard. Having a propane tank indoors is not a good idea. It can be dangerous to your family. If it gets wet, it will explode into flames. So, it is important to have a safe space for your grill.

You can also avoid fire by grilling in a designated area. A barbecue grill should be placed on a level surface, which will prevent a grease fire. When cooking, it is important to keep the flames away from the fire by putting on a breathable cover. This will protect you and your guests from burns. If you use a charcoal grill, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid a grease spill.


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