Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf – the Neelys Recipe

Greetings, fellow food lovers! Get ready for a mouthwatering experience with this delicious Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf recipe from the Neelys. This meatloaf is the perfect twist on a classic dish that will leave you wanting more.

As a chef myself, I’m always looking for unique and flavorful dishes, and this Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf hits all the right notes. It’s made with lean ground turkey, which is rich in protein and lower in fat than beef or pork. Plus, it’s loaded with bold flavors like garlic cloves, red bell pepper, and red onion – all of which add complexity to the dish.

If you’re a fan of barbecue sauce and Worcestershire sauce, then this recipe is definitely for you. These two sauces combine to offer a succulent taste that everyone will love. In addition to the sauces, the mixture includes an egg, soy sauce, barbecue seasoning, mustard, parsley, cumin, salt and pepper.

The Neelys are known for their famous barbecue recipes which they serve up in their restaurant plus have showcased on Food Network. Their talents shine bright in this turkey meatloaf recipe. I guarantee that this dish will become your new family favorite in no time once you’ve tried it out.

So dust off your apron and fire up your oven – let’s get started!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf - the Neelys
Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf – the Neelys

Are you tired of the same old boring meatloaf recipe? Look no further than this Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf by the Neelys. This classic dish is reinvented with lean ground turkey, making it a healthier option without sacrificing flavor.

One of the things I love about this recipe is how easy it is to make – with just a few ingredients, you can have a delicious and hearty meal on the table in no time. And let’s not forget about that sauce! The combination of Worcestershire sauce and barbecue sauce gives this meatloaf a sweet and tangy flavor that will have your taste buds singing.

Plus, this recipe is incredibly versatile. You can easily swap out ingredients or add your own twist to make it your own. Feeling spicy? Add some jalapeños to the mix. Want a veggie-packed meal? Throw in some chopped zucchini or mushrooms.

But best of all, this Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf is perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re serving it up for a family dinner or bringing it to a potluck, everyone will be asking for seconds (and maybe even thirds!). Trust me, once you try this recipe, it will become a staple in your home cooking routine.

Ingredient List

 You won't believe how easy it is to make this delicious meatloaf!
You won’t believe how easy it is to make this delicious meatloaf!

Let’s take a look at the ingredients you need to make this mouthwatering barbecue turkey meatloaf. Don’t worry, you probably have most of them in your kitchen already!

For the meatloaf:

  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

For the seasoning blend:

  • 1 tablespoon Neely’s barbecue seasoning (recipe follows)
  • 1 teaspoon crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)

For the Neely’s barbecue seasoning blend:

  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

The Recipe How-To

 Get your grill on with our barbecue-inspired turkey meatloaf.
Get your grill on with our barbecue-inspired turkey meatloaf.

Preheat the Oven to 350 Degrees

Before you begin preparing your Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf, it’s essential to preheat your oven to the required temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The preheating process will ensure that your turkey meatloaf cooks evenly and is appropriately cooked at the end -no one likes undercooked meatloaf.

Get all Ingredients Ready

Having all ingredients measured up and prepared ahead of time will save you time and reduce stress while preparing a meal. Make sure to lay out all the ingredients in front of you for easy access. In a large bowl, mix together the lean ground turkey, 1 large egg lightly beaten, 1/2 red onion, diced, 2 garlic cloves, minced, and 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped.

Add in Sauces and Seasoning

To enhance flavor in your barbecue turkey meatloaf, add in sauces and seasoning such as Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, BBQ seasoning, and the mix of Crab Boil recommended by Gina Neely. Add 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 cup of BBQ Sauce, 1 teaspoon of crab boil seasoning, recommended Old bay (3 bay leaves, 3 whole cloves, 1 teaspoon mustard seed, 4 sprigs parsley or cilantro,) and creole or Cajun seasoning. Mix everything thoroughly with a wooden spoon or gloves; ensure everything is evenly distributed throughout.

Form the Meatloaf

Once you have all the ingredients mixed well create a rectangular-shaped loaf about two pounds through your hands to keep it consistent, then transfer it onto a non-stick baking sheet or loaf pan. Congratulation! You successfully formed your turkey meatloaf.

Bake until Ready

Place your baking sheet loaded with uncooked meatloaf into a preheated oven on the middle rack for at least an hour or until cooked through entirely. Keep basting with additional BBQ sauce every twenty minutes during cooking ensuring that none accumulates on top. You’ll know it’s ready when a meat probe reaches an internal temperature of around 160–165 degrees Fahrenheit -you can also tell by doing a terrific ”tappy” test (a tapping sound).

Slice The Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf

Once it is fully cooked, remove from oven and let it rest for a couple of minutes to cool off so that it won’t fall apart when sliced. Dipping your knife into hot water will make this process more comfortable. Slice your Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf about half inch thick serving portions- if there are any leftovers, store them for another day!

Substitutions and Variations

The beauty of cooking is that there’s always room for creativity. Try swapping out certain ingredients or adding extras to make this turkey meatloaf recipe uniquely yours. Here are a few substitution and variation ideas to get you started:

– Meat: If you prefer, you can use ground beef, pork, or even chicken in place of the lean ground turkey.

– Vegetables: Don’t have red bell pepper or red onion on hand? No problem! You can replace them with yellow or green peppers, white onion, scallions or shallots. Get creative and add some diced carrots, celery, or shredded zucchini for extra nutrition and flavor.

– Spice it up: Add some heat to your meatloaf by mixing in some diced jalapenos, chili powder, smoked paprika or cayenne pepper. You can also experiment with different kinds of barbecue sauce or add extra Worcestershire sauce to give it a tangy kick.

– Gluten-free: For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free breadcrumbs or skip them altogether. Instead of soy sauce, try tamari sauce which is gluten-free and equally delicious.

– Vegetarian: Swap the meat with veggie crumble like Impossible meat for vegetarian version.

The possibilities are endless with this recipe. Don’t be afraid to experiment – you might just end up with a new family favorite!

Serving and Pairing

When it comes to serving and pairing, this Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a variety of sides. The meatloaf itself is flavorful and moist, with a perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavors from the barbecue sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

If you’re looking for some ideas for sides that would go great with this dish, then there are many options to consider. You can go for classic comfort food sides like mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables or mac and cheese. These will complement the rich flavors of the meatloaf quite well.

If you want to get a little more creative with your pairing, you can always try a stir fry or roasted vegetable medley. These lighter options will provide contrast to the richness of the meatloaf while still providing tons of flavor.

For those who prefer a low-carb option, try pairing it with a salad or roasted vegetables to keep your meal healthy and light.

No matter what you choose, it’s hard to go wrong with such a delicious meatloaf recipe. Trust me; everyone at the table will be impressed by this savory dish!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

As a busy chef, I understand the need for convenient meal preparation. Thankfully, this barbecue turkey meatloaf recipe is perfect for make-ahead meals. Once cooked, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to four days. Simply wrap it tightly in foil or plastic wrap before storing it.

For those who would like to prepare ahead of time, you can make and shape the meatloaf as directed in the recipe up to two days before serving. Chill the meat mixture separately from any sauce until ready to bake.

When reheating the turkey meatloaf, make sure that it is in an oven-safe container and cover with foil. Pre-heat your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and reheat for approximately 15 minutes or until warm. Be careful not to dry out the meatloaf by overcooking it.

Alternatively, you can reheat individual slices in the microwave if desired. Simply place a slice in a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for 30 seconds or until heated through.

With these make-ahead, storing and reheating tips, you’ll be able to enjoy this delicious barbecue turkey meatloaf any day of the week!

Tips for Perfect Results

To achieve the best results for your Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf, here are some tips to keep in mind. First of all, be careful not to over-mix the ingredients. Over-mixing can create a dense meatloaf. Use a light hand when mixing the ingredients and only mix until everything is just combined.

Secondly, it’s important to let the meatloaf rest before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it more tender and flavorful. Letting the meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes after taking it out of the oven will give you the best results.

If you find that your meatloaf is too dry, add some more barbecue sauce or Worcestershire sauce to it next time. Alternatively, you can also add some diced vegetables like mushrooms or grated zucchini to increase moisture content.

Another tip is that if you want your meatloaf to have a bit of a crispier exterior, try brushing some extra barbecue sauce on top during the last 5-10 minutes of baking time. This will caramelize and add flavor to the surface of the meatloaf.

Lastly, if you’re using a glass baking dish, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit from what’s indicated in the recipe to avoid over-browning or burning.

By following these simple tips and tricks, you’ll be able to make a juicy and flavorful Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf every time!


Now that you know how to make this delicious barbecue turkey meatloaf, it’s important to address some of the most frequently asked questions to ensure that you get the best results possible. From ingredient substitutions to cooking times, I’ve gathered some of the most common queries and crafted responses that will help you make this recipe with ease. Keep reading to find out more.

Why does my turkey meatloaf fall apart?

When making meatloaf, it’s important to include binding agents such as eggs and breadcrumbs in the recipe to prevent it from falling apart. These ingredients play a crucial role in holding the meat mixture together during cooking. Without them, your meatloaf is likely to crumble and not hold its shape. This simple step is essential to achieving a delicious and successful meatloaf.

Why do some people put milk in meatloaf?

A common practice in making meatloaf is to incorporate milk into the mixture as it has the ability to absorb the bread crumbs and provide essential moisture to the dish. However, in case you prefer not to use milk, alternatives such as low sodium beef or chicken stock, water, or non-dairy substitutes can be used instead.

What is BBQ meatloaf made of?

Get ready for a mouth-watering classic! This meatloaf recipe is made with traditional ingredients like ground beef, onion, garlic powder, pepper, and barbeque sauce. To spice it up a bit, you can add some Worcestershire sauce or sliced jalapeños. It’s no wonder this dish is a family favorite!

Why do you put water in meatloaf?

For a perfectly moist and tender meatloaf, a recommended ratio of two pounds of meat to two pounds of water is used by many restaurants. This ratio may seem simplistic, but it works wonders in keeping the meat from becoming too dense and dry. To achieve this, it is suggested to add the water at two different points while cooking.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you’re a fan of barbecue and meatloaf, then this recipe is definitely worth trying. The combination of lean ground turkey, flavorful seasonings, and tangy barbecue sauce make for a delicious and healthy alternative to traditional meatloaf. Plus, the Neelys’ recipe is easy to follow and can be adapted to fit your taste preferences and dietary needs.

So whether you’re cooking for yourself or a crowd, give this recipe a try and savor the flavor of barbecue turkey meatloaf. Trust me; you won’t be disappointed!

Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf - the Neelys

Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf – the Neelys Recipe

Use Recipe #284917 and Recipe #314388, or substitute your favorite seasoning and sauce.
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 327.1 kcal


  • 1 tablespoon bbq seasoning ($notetemplate1$)
  • 1 teaspoon crab boil seasoning (recommended — Old Bay)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce, reserving 1/2 cup for the top (Neely’s BBQ Sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 lbs lean ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, mix BBQ seasoning, crab boil seasoning, soy sauce, beaten egg, 1 cup of the BBQ sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
  • In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Add onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper and garlic. Saute until tender. Remove from heat and add to wet mix.
  • Pour mixture into bowl with the ground turkey. Add bread crumbs and mix all together with your hands.
  • Transfer the meat mixture to a cookie sheet or baking pan. Using your hands, shape the meat into an oblong or rectangular shape. *Cook’s Note: Alternately, you can pat the meat into a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and pour 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce on the top of the loaf.
  • Bake for 35 minutes. Remove and add the reserved 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce to the top and continue to bake for 20 more minutes.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 233gCalories: 327.1kcalCarbohydrates: 24.6gProtein: 25.2gFat: 13.7gSaturated Fat: 3.4gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 1044.5mgFiber: 2.1gSugar: 5g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Meat, Poultry
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