This is one of the new fall dishes that I really love. The combination of lean venison, with the fattier bacon works out just right. The meatloaf goes great with some smoked gouda grits and braised greens. The meatloaf will make slightly more than 1 loaf pan, so you might be able to make some additional meatloaf muffins for the kids if that’s your kind of thing. Also, you’ll have more BBQ sauce & rub than needed, but I find that they’re great to have hanging around and don’t really last that long.

Venison Meatloaf

YIELD: 8 Portions

¼ cup vegetable oil

½ yellow onion, diced

4 stalks celery, diced

½ teaspoon kosher salt

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 ½ pounds ground venison

1 pound bacon

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon allspice, ground

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon aleppo pepper (or other dried chili flakes)

1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons cold water

½ cup liquid whole eggs

½ cup pretzel crumbs (pretzels ground in a food processor)

non-stick cooking spray

lingonberry BBQ sauce for serving


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


Heat the oil in a pan. Add the celery and onion. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Grind the raw bacon in a food processor, being careful not to make it into a paste.

In a medium bowl, add the venison, bacon, sautéed vegetables and spices. Mix gently by hand. Add the Worcestershire sauce, water and eggs, and mix until incorporated. Mix in the pretzel crumbs.

Wrap mixture and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add meatloaf into pan until almost full. Cover with foil and back 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue cooking until a temperature of 155 degrees F is reached.

Cool for 30 minutes in the pan. Remove meatloaf and slice into 8 pieces.

Serve with Lingonberry BBQ sauce.

Lingonberry Barbecue Sauce

¼   cup black coffee

¼   cup white vinegar

¼   cup cider vinegar

½  cup ketchup (Heinz)

1 ¼  teaspoon Texas rub (see below)

¾ cup lingonberry preserves (whole berry cranberry sauce would be acceptable)

Place all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a simmer, continuing to cook on low heat 30 minutes.

Texas Rub

This will make more than you need for the BBQ sauce, but it’s great to have on hand for meat & seafood.

1 tablespoons smoked paprika

1 tablespoons sea salt

½ tablespoon black pepper, ground

½ tablespoon granulated garlic

½ tablespoon onion powder

½ tablespoon cumin, ground

½ tablespoon light brown sugar, packed

½ tablespoon chile powder

2 teaspoons mustard powder

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper


Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Blend thoroughly, and reserve.

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