BBQ Turkey Meatloaf
Updated: May 31
This is not your grandma's meatloaf...it isn't even a loaf!...but it definitely is the best meatloaf of any kind you'll ever taste.
Meatloaf might be from another era, but it remains a favorite comfort food. This recipe updates the classic with dark meat turkey instead of the heavier, traditional beef version. A flavorful sauté of onions, carrots, and apples flavors, lightens, and moistens the meatloaf, as well as helps to stretch the number of people the two pounds of turkey can feed. If all that isn't compelling, just look at the photos to see how visually stunning the confetti-like appearance is. Lots of fresh thyme and a light glaze of a quick homemade barbecue sauce make this dish a hit (though store-bought BBQ sauce works well, too). The best part is its shape! No loaf pans in sight, no meat logs to be found. Served this wish mashed potatoes, a green vegetable, and a big smile of satisfcation!
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; peeler; dry measuring cups; measuring spoons; small saucepan; sauté pan; wooden spoon; large mixing bowl; sheet pan or loaf pan; pastry brush; offset spatula
Quick BBQ Sauce Ingredients:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1 cup ketchup
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 apple, peeled and finely diced (Fuji or Gala are great options)
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds ground turkey
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup quick barbecue sauce or bottled sauce 1/3 cup apricot jam
1. Prepare the quick barbecue sauce: in a small saucepan, combine everything but the ketchup and mix well over medium heat. Once well combined, add the ketchup and cook over low heat for 10-15 minuses until the ketchup darkens and thickens. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 375°F and position a rack in the middle. 2. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the diced onion, carrot, and apple, and toss well to coat in the oil. Add the chopped fresh thyme and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion and apple have softened. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
4. In small microwave-safe bowl or in a small saucepan, warm the apricot jam until loose and thinned. Combine with the barbecue sauce and set aside.
ILOC tip: combining a little apricot jam with the BBQ sauce gives the glaze a sheen and the finished dish that truly lacquered, professional look. Apricot jam gives an assist to many a cook and pastry chef!
5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper. Fold in the sautéed vegetables.
6. Lightly grease a sheet pan or casserole with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Using your hands moistened with olive oil or cold water, form the meat mixture into an oval and place in the pan.
"You can shape the meat mixture into individual portions, making 6-8 ovals, instead of one big oval. Just shorten the cooking time by 10-15 minutes. It's all about technique, not torture!"
7. Using a chef's or paring knife, score the top of the meatloaf in a cross-hatch pattern for decorative purposes. Brush the top with barbecue-apricot sauce.
8. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes, or until the turkey is cooked and the loaf is firm.
Remove from the oven and let the loaf rest for 5 minutes before slicing into ½-inch thick pieces.
Makes 6-8 servings.