Mini meatloaves with a thick homemade BBQ style sauce that bake up in a fraction of the time of a traditional meatloaf.  And if the word ‘meatloaf’ makes you cringe…call them extra large baked meatballs.

mini meatloaves with bbq sauce

What makes these meatloaves so flavorful is the addition of sautéed onions, dried thyme (my favorite herb), and a bbq style sauce that binds it all together.  Using 1 1/2 pounds of meat always gives me 4 nicely shaped mini meatloaves.  I used 93% lean ground beef but you could use whatever cut you prefer, even turkey but they might need more sauce.

extra large baked meatballs with bbq sauce

We don’t eat a lot of red meat I’d say, so tossing in a mini meatloaf night is a nice change of pace.  Of course we love a good burger off the grill, or traditional meat spaghetti sauce, but usually it’s chicken that gets the most attention round here.  Step aside chicky!

Summertime usually means serving more simple meals/sandwiches like my #1 Sloppy Joes or THIS or THIS recipe vs. heating up the oven.  That’s why making mini meatloaves is not only smart because they cut down on oven time but you’ll have leftovers you can make into an awesome panini with melty cheese (I recommend pepper jack) and sautéed onions.  I love recreating leftovers (or what I call double duty dinners)!

Leftover Paninis: Saute onions and mushrooms with a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic powder until softened. (I also like adding a drop or two of liquid smoke.)  Thinly slice two pieces of meatloaf and set aside. Spread butter on one side of good panini bread and assemble with meatloaf, onion and mushroom mixture, a slice of pepper jack cheese and cook in panini press until heated through and desired crispiness.  Serve with extra bbq sauce for dipping!

Mini Meatloaves with
Homemade BBQ Style Sauce


  • 1 1/2 lb. 93% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup garlic herb breadcrumbs (or any variety)
  • 1 egg
  • Glaze
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 TB brown sugar
  • 1 TB barbecue sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Saute chopped onions 2-3 minutes in a small skillet with non-stick spray or a little butter. Add minced garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and worcestershire sauce. Saute on low an additional 2-3 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs and onion mixture.
  4. Using your hands gently combine it all together but avoid over mixing.
  5. Form into 4 mini meatloaves and place on cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes then coat the tops of each meatloaf with the sauce allowing some to drip off the sides. Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes or until meatloaf is cooked throughout.
  7. Allow the meatloaves to rest 5 minutes before slicing.
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Beef Double Duty Dinner