This Dutch Oven Meatloaf tops the list when it comes to the best comfort food you’ll ever eat! The flavor-packed meat is topped with a simple glaze and crispy bacon to create one of the most delicious Dutch oven camping recipes you’ll make in the great outdoors!
Prep To Make This Recipe
You’ll need to chop a bit of onion and garlic for this recipe … that’s it. The prep is really quick!
Camp Cooking Tip: I like using some sort of liner pan in my oven when I make Dutch oven meatloaf recipes. Some people use cast iron loaf pans, others use disposable foil liners … I prefer parchment paper liners. You can buy them pre-cut or make your own.
You’ll want to make sure they are large enough to cover the bottom and go up the sides of the oven. How to line a Dutch oven with parchment paper & make your own for pennies has detailed information to help you.
To make this as one of our easy campfire recipes, you’ll need to get your fire going. Use a nice hardwood that produces good coals for cooking. Alternatively you can use charcoal briquettes.
Camp Cooking Tip: Recipes with long cooking times will require you to use more than one batch of coals. Make sure you are starting your second batch early enough to have them ready before the first batch burns out. I like to start the second batch about 20 minutes in to the cooking process.
If you want to make this as one of our camp stove recipes, you’ll need to use a Dutch oven dome and heat diffuser plate to trap the heat along the outside of the pot and transfer it over the top of the oven for a nice, even baking temperature. Get your stove ready for cooking on a level surface.
Steps To Make The Perfect Meatloaf
Step 1. Prepare your ingredients as directed.
Step 2. Prepare your heat source for baking at an oven temperature of 350 (25 total coals = 17 on top of the Dutch oven lid / 8 under bottom of oven) if you are using a standard-depth 12-inch Dutch oven. If you are using a different oven size, check our Dutch oven temperature chart to see how many hot coals you’ll need. Don’t forget, you’ll need two batches of coals to complete the cooking process.
Camp Cooking Tip: Do NOT use a deep Dutch oven when baking, they are designed for liquid recipes like soups and stews that can be mixed throughout the cooking process. They have higher walls which means the lid is further away from food sitting on the bottom of the oven. For this recipe, the bottom of the meatloaf will burn before the top is fully cooked. If you do use a deep oven for this recipe, you’ll need more coals. Monitor the meatloaf and move more coals to the lid to build-up the heat above the loaf to cook it evenly, as necessary.
Camp Cooking Tip: Your meatloaf will have a smaller diameter but will be thicker if you use a standard depth 10-inch Dutch oven, so be prepared to extend the cooking time.
Step 3. Make the glaze. Some people throw 1 tablespoon barbeque sauce over the top of a loaf and call it good. My homemade simple bbq sauce is worth the extra effort. Just mix ketchup, brown sugar and mustard in a bowl and set it aside.
Step 4. Mix the loaf ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Gently mix in each ingredient in this order: combine ground beef with ground pork mild Italian sausage, salt, black pepper, onion and garlic. Then mix in breadcrumbs. Followed by mixing in the eggs. Then mix in the Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce. Mix with your hands, until thoroughly blended. Do not over mix.
Camp Cooking Tip: Gluten Free: You can substitute G.F. oatmeal for the Italian breadcrumbs if you want to eliminate gluten from this recipe. You’ll want to add some additional spices if you do that. Consider these: teaspoon onion powder, dash of cayenne pepper and a few teaspoons garlic powder.
Camp Cooking Tip: Lower Fat: One of my favorite ways to add quick flavor to camp recipes is to use ground Italian sausage. It has spices already added to it and the fat content is high so it makes its own juices. If you want to reduce the fat, substitute the sausage with lean ground beef and ground turkey. But, you’ll also need to add things to replace the flavor and meatloaf juices you’ll be missing. Consider the following ingredients: celery, shredded carrots, Lipton soup mix or packages noodle soup mix, sour cream and a few teaspoons steak sauce.
Step 5. Form the loaf, place mixture on liner and top with bacon. While it’s still in the bowl, form the mixture into a round loaf that will fit in the oven, about 7 to 8 inches in diameter works well. Carefully lift it out of the bowl and place ground beef mixture in the center of your parchment liner on a table. Add bacon strips in a hashtag (or tic-tac-toe) pattern.
Camp Cooking Tip: If you want a “ring”, use your fingers to make a hole in the center of the loaf. You can crumple a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper to place inside of the mealoaf ring to hold the shape for cooking.
Step 6. Place in oven, add glaze and bake. Use the exposed parchment paper corners as “handles” to lower the loaf into the preheated oven. Pour the glaze mixture over the top, cover with lid. Place coals for baking at 350 until the meatloaf internal temperature reaches 165, about 1 hour.
Camp Cooking Tip: Avoid setting a coal in the center below the oven. If there is a “center coal” the center of the meatloaf will burn because it will be constantly over the heat. Rotate the lid and oven 1/4 turns in opposite directions every 15 minutes or so for even heating.
Camp Cooking Tip: If the bacon is not crisp but the meatloaf reaches the proper temperature, you’ll want to create a “broiler effect” by removing the coals from the bottom of the oven and placing all of them on top to concentrate the heat.
Step 7. Rest, slice & serve. Remove all of the coals from the oven and let rest 10 minutes. Lift the loaf out of the oven with the parchment paper handles, slice and serve.
When you make great recipes like Mom’s Meatloaf, you may want to add some classic comfort food side dishes to serve with winter camping recipes.
This Dutch Oven Cornbread has a hint of heat from jalapeno peppers.
This Dutch Oven Mac And Cheese is rich and creamy. Can you think of anything better as a paring? It’s a match made in heaven!
Grill carrot halves and toss in a tangy sauce like we did with our simple Glazed Carrots recipe.
My Grilled Potato Wedges are like “faux French fries”. You take potato quarters, toss them with some oil, rosemary, cumin and chipotle chile powder then grill till tender and crispy.
I like throwing frozen mixed vegetables in a large cast iron skillet to warm them up and serve them with a little butter, salt and pepper when I want to make really simple sides for my camping dinner recipes.
How To Use Last Night’s Leftovers
When served with side dishes, a 2 lb meatloaf is the right amount to feed about 8 people. When I make a great meatloaf recipe, my family does NOT enjoy good times if I don’t have enough left over to make cold sandwiches the next day. LOL
For breakfast, slice thin pieces of this delicious meatloaf and pan fry it in a little butter to create a crispy texture. Top with a fried egg and serve with a slice of toast on the side.
For lunch, make a cold meatloaf sandwich by cutting thin slices of the loaf and topping with a thin onion slice, then, slather bread slices with a bit of mayo, mustard or barbeque sauce.
If you like this, you should also try these one pot camping meals.
This Dutch Oven Steak is a budget friendly option for dinner. A simple marinade makes flank steak flavorful, juicy and tender. The potatoes are cooked in the same pot.
We have several chili recipes because we love eating it on camp trips. This is my brother-in-law’s Dutch Oven Chili version that was a secret family recipe until he FINALLY shared it with the world right here!
Print This Cast Iron Dutch Oven Meatloaf Camping Recipe
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork mild Italian sausage
- 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
- 4 slices regular cut bacon strips (not thick cut )
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1. Special Equipment: Make your own Dutch oven parchment paper liner (or use a pre-cut liner). This post has detailed instructions to make your own: How to line a Dutch oven with parchment paper. https://www.campingforfoodies.com/how-to-use-dutch-oven-liners/
2. Pre-heat a standard-depth 12-inch Dutch oven to bake at to 350 degrees F. (25 total coals = 17 on top of the Dutch oven lid / 8 under the bottom of oven.) For RV and conventional ovens, see Note 5 below.
3. Combine glaze ingredients in a small bowl and set aside: ketchup, brown sugar and mustard.
4. In a large bowl combine the meatloaf ingredients starting with the ground beef, ground pork mild Italian sausage, salt, black pepper, onion, garlic. Then mix in breadcrumbs. Followed by mixing in the eggs. Then mixing in the Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce.
5. Mix with your hands, until thoroughly blended. Do not over mix. Mold the meat mixture into a round, about 7 to 8 inches in diameter.
6. Layer bacon slices over the top of the meatloaf in a tic-tac-toe or hashtag pattern. Sort of like making a lattice top on a pie.
7. Place meatloaf mixture in the center of the parchment paper and use the exposed paper corners as "handles" to lower the loaf into the preheated oven.
8. Place the loaf of meat into the center of the oven, then pour the glaze mixture over the top.
9. Cover with lid and place coals for baking at 350 F degrees until the meat loaf is done. Use a meat thermometer to verify the internal temperature reaches 165 F degrees. Every 15 minutes or so, rotate the lid and oven 1/4 turns in opposite directions throughout the baking process for even heating.
10. Remove the Dutch oven from the coals and let rest for 10 minutes then lift out using the parchment paper handles, slice and serve.
NOTE 1: You can use campfire coals or charcoal briquettes. If you use a propane camp stove, use a Dutch oven dome and heat diffuser plate. If you use an RV oven or conventional oven, just pre-heat the oven with a 12-inch oven-safe baking dish.
NOTE 2: You will need TWO sets of coals because of the length of the baking time. If you are using charcoal, start the second batch of coals about 20 minutes in to the cooking process so they are ready as the first set is burning out.
NOTE 3: Deep Dutch ovens are designed to be used for cooking soups and stews, I don't recommend one for this recipe because the coals sitting on top of the oven the lid are too far away from the food. The bottom of the meatloaf will burn before the top is fully cooked. And, it will be almost impossible to cook the bacon. If you decide to use a deep Dutch oven you will need more coals and you'll have to monitor the meatloaf through the baking process and move more coals to the lid to build up the heat above the meatloaf.
NOTE 4: If you use a 10-inch Dutch oven, your meatloaf will be thicker so you'll need to allow for a bit more cooking time.
NOTE 5: If you use an RV oven or conventional oven, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and use an oven-safe baking dish that is approximately 12 inches in diameter. A parchment paper liner is not necessary because you will just lift the entire dish out of the oven to slice and serve.
NOTE 6: For the bottom coal placement under the oven, avoid setting a coal in the center. If there is a "center coal" the meatloaf will burn because even if you are rotating the lid and the oven in opposite directions during the cooking process, that center part of the oven is constantly over that center coal.
NOTE 7: If the meatloaf reaches the proper temperature but the bacon is not crisp, the only way to finish cooking the bacon without drying out the meat loaf is to create a "broiler effect". Remove the coals from the bottom of the oven and place all of them on top to concentrate the heat. Allow plenty of time, it might take about 10-15 minutes, be patient, you want to make sure the bacon is fully cooked and has a nice crispy texture.
NOTE 8: When baking Dutch oven recipes with ground meats, use an instant-read thermometer to quickly check the temperature of the food. Replace the lid quickly to minimize heat loss if you need to continue cooking.
Here are a few more useful links:
Dutch Oven Temperature Chart https://www.campingforfoodies.com/dutch-oven-temperature-chart/
Camping For Foodies Recipes List https://www.campingforfoodies.com/camping-recipes-list/
Our Products https://www.campingforfoodies.com/shop/
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 499Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 185mgSodium: 942mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 39g
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