Okay guys, this recipe is too good not to share. I’ve been looking around for meatloaf recipes that caught my eye and decided to take a spin on the traditional and include barbecue sauce. Some recipes had too many ingredients, some had questionable reviews, and then I stumbled upon Iowa Girl Eats’ Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves. (Can you tell how much I love that blog? She always has the best recipes!) The photos made me drool a little bit and I had all of the ingredients on hand, so I recipe to whip up a batch for today.
These Mini Barbecue Meatloaves are insanely good and made for the juiciest meatloaf I’ve ever had. I stayed true to the original recipe except that I used ground turkey instead of beef and cooked the meatloaf in muffin tins. I had seen this method floating around the internet and thought it looked like a great idea – individual portions of meatloaf that take half the cook time. I think that’s also part of what lead to the meatloaf being so juicy, because the juices had nowhere to escape to so the turkey just soaked it all up.
Also, a note on barbecue sauce: My favorite bbq sauce has been Sweet Baby Ray’s for as long as I can remember, but I noticed recently that the first ingredient listed is high fructose corn syrup which made me kind of sad. I still enjoy Sweet Baby Ray’s, but if you’re looking for a slightly healthier option, I recommend Stubb’s. Stubb’s uses all-natural ingredients and has a lower sugar and sodium content than most other bottled barbecue sauces. My favorite flavor is Sweet Heat – I love the combination of spicy and sweet.
- 1 onion, diced (I used a Vidalia)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp + 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, divided
- salt and pepper, + 1/4 tsp chili powder
- optional: 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium frying pan over low heat and add diced onion. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every so often, until onions are nicely browned and starting to caramelize. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes before removing from heat. Let cool slightly before forming the meatloaf.
- Heat oven to 425ºF and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. *
- In a mixing bowl, combine cooled cooked onions, ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, 2 Tbsp of the bbq sauce, and spices. Use a fork or your hands to mix it all up until combined.
- Divide the meatloaf mixture into 4 equal-sized portions. Press each portion into your greased muffin tin (so if you used a 6-slot muffin tin, you’ll only be using 4 of those slots). If using cheese, press 1 Tbsp of cheese down into the middle of each portion of meatloaf. Top each portion off with 1 Tbsp of bbq sauce.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until meatloaves are cooked throughout and no longer pink in the center. Mine took closer to 25 minutes. (Don’t worry if there’s a good amount of juice at the bottom of the muffin tin – as I was explaining earlier, the juice has no place to escape to so it sits in the tin with the meatloaf.) Let cool slightly before serving and enjoy!
*I recommend using a 6-slot muffin tin that makes 6 larges muffins over a 12-muffin tin, because the portions are a perfect size, but you can use a smaller tin if you need to. I would cook for muffins for slightly less time, closer to 15 – 20 minutes, and check on them to make sure they’re not getting overcooked if you use a small muffin tin.