Southern Meatloaf Recipe

Meatloaf has been around for a long time and it's a fan favorite of many! This dish is a wonderful, simple meal to make for the whole family. Some people serve their meatloaf with gravy, while others prefer to dip it in ketchup, but there are many other ways to jazz up meatloaf and make it unique. This meatloaf recipe provides a southern twist on a classic by slathering a coat of barbecue sauce right on the top. This sauce adds a nice bit of flavor, and you can keep a little extra on the side for your dunking pleasure.

Recipe developer Eric Ngo of Frenchie the Toast came up with this fun recipe. When asked why he likes the southern twist, he came up with a great answer. "I like the sweet barbecue sauce, paprika, and green peppers that give it more flavor versus the classic ketchup glaze," Ngo raves. "I like how easy it is to prepare. If you're looking for a quick meal that you can prepare ahead of time, this meatloaf recipe is a convenient one!"

Gather the ingredients for southern meatloaf

The first thing you will need to do is make a shopping list and head to the store. Pick up ground beef, bread crumbs or saltine crackers, a small onion, bell pepper, egg, paprika, salt, dried thyme, black pepper, ketchup, milk, and barbecue sauce. And just like that, you're ready to get started!

Let the milk and breadcrumbs soak

Add the milk and breadcrumbs (or saltine crackers if you opted to use those instead) to a bowl and let everything soak for five minutes, so the breadcrumbs have a chance to absorb the milk. In another bowl, mix the ingredients to make the meatloaf. Simply add ground beef, softened bread crumbs, onions, green bell peppers, egg, paprika, salt, black pepper, dried thyme, parsley, and paprika. Use a spatula and mix everything for about one minute, or until it's fully incorporated. The ingredients in the bowl should already be resembling meatloaf!

Preheat the oven and add meat to the mold

Since you will need to use an oven for this recipe, preheat yours to 350 F. Now, spoon the meat mixture to a mold, making sure it comes to the edge of the mold so there's no space between. If you only have a large mold and want to make a smaller meatloaf, just use some foil to fill the empty space. "You actually don't need a mold to make meatloaf," Ngo says. "The role of the bread crumbs and egg act as binding ingredients to hold the meatloaf together. You can simply shape the meatloaf by hand while making sure it is compact and it will retain its shape." 

Bake the meatloaf and add barbecue sauce

Make sure your oven has finished preheating, and if it has, then pop the meatloaf in. Bake the meatloaf for about 45 minutes. Then, remove the meatloaf and brush the top with barbecue sauce. "No particular BBQ sauce, I used a standard Heinz classic BBQ sauce," Ngo notes. 

Pop it back into the oven for another 15 minutes. "If you have a meat thermometer, we are looking for an internal temperature of 160 F. Make sure not to overbake as your meatloaf will be dry," Ngo shares. 

Let the meatloaf cool, then you're ready to serve

Once you remove the meatloaf from the oven, let it cool for at least five minutes before you slice it up and dig in. This would be plenty filling on its own, but Ngo suggests that "mac n cheese, green beans, [and] mashed potatoes" would be great side options. We think it would be great with an ice cold drink as well. "It is best eaten right away as it will get dryer over time. You can keep leftovers for another day," he adds. Move aside, ketchup — it's barbecue sauce's time to shine on meatloaf!

Southern Meatloaf Recipe
5 from 94 ratings
This southern meatloaf recipe has a barbecue sauce topping — instead of ketchup — providing the perfect hit of sweet flavor.
Prep Time
Cook Time
southern meatloaf on cutting board
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs or crushed saltine crackers
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce
  1. Add the milk and bread crumbs to a bowl and let them soak for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, add the ground beef, softened bread crumbs, onions, green bell peppers, egg, paprika, salt, black pepper, dried thyme, parsley, and ketchup, and stir with a spatula for 1 minute or until fully mixed.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  4. Add the meat to a mold, making sure it comes up to the edge of the mold. (If you only have a large mold and wish to make a smaller meatloaf use aluminum foil to fill empty space)
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Brush the top of the baked meatloaf with barbecue sauce and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  7. Cool down for 5 minutes before cutting, then serve the meatloaf.
Calories per Serving 848
Total Fat 49.3 g
Saturated Fat 18.4 g
Trans Fat 2.7 g
Cholesterol 242.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 54.2 g
Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
Total Sugars 35.3 g
Sodium 1,384.8 mg
Protein 45.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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