Smoked Shotgun Shells in 5 Easy Steps (Bacon Wrapped Pasta Stuffed With Sausage)

Smoked shotgun shells have taken the BBQ community by storm.

When I saw the recipe I just had to give them a go. How can you go meat and cheese stuffed in pasta and then wrapped in bacon?

They are now my number one requested appetizers at cookouts and parties.

Everyone from kids to adults loved them.

All you need to do is stuff manicotti pasta with ground pork/ beef and cheese and wrapped them in bacon. Throw them on the smoker and give them a quick brush of BBQ sauce and you have an EPIC BBQ appetizers.

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Shotgun Shells – What Are They?

Don’t let the name dismay you.

The only worry you’ll have is deciding what meat mixture you want to use.

They get their name from the shape.

Jumbo manicotti or cannelloni shells are stuffed with ground sausage, a cheese mixture and then smoked.

But not before you have wrapped it with a piece of bacon.

They perfect appetizer.

smoked-shotgun-shells-pit-boss

Why Do I Love Smoking Shells?

You know how they say the simplest things in life are the best.

These smoked shells are simple but delicious! It is just pasta stuffed with meat and wrapped in bacon!

The slow cooking time ensures the meat is to cooked to perfection

The pasta is also a sponge for all the delicious smoke flavor.

The bacon will also have time to render down and caramelize.

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Our Method For Smoked Shotgun Shells

shotgun-shells-smoked-cooling-on-rack

What You Need for Smoked Shotgun Shells

1 box of uncooked manicotti pasta uncooked
1lb Jimmy Dean style sausage hot or regular
1lb beef mince
1 block softened cream cheese
2 diced jalapeño
1.5 cups shredded cheese of choice cheddar or pepper jack
1-2 tablespoons of favorite rub
1-2 packages of bacon

what-you-need-for-shotgun-shells-recipe

Homemade Spice Rub

Don’t want to use a pre made rub? You can try the one below

  • 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried greek oregano
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tsp cumin powder
  • 1 Tsp white pepper

Equipment you Need for Smoked Shotgun Shells

  • Pellet grill or charcoal smoker
  • Choice of wood pellets
  • Mixing bowl
  • Sharp knife
  • Wire rack
  • Airtight container
  • Thermometer probe
  • Basting brush
sausage-for-smoked-shotgun-shells-recipe

How to Make The Filling for The Shells

Get creative with your stuffing mixture!

What type of meat is your favorite?

I have chosen 50/50 beef and pork sausage meat.

Buy lean beef mince as the pork and bacon fat will be enough.

I have also opted to add some tang and acidity with pickled jalapeños.

You could even add caramelized onions or beans.

– Put the meat, cheese & jalapeños together in a bowl.

– Used your hands to mix through until formed and evenly dispersed.

– Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you mix the spices.

Tip: For a healthier alternative use ground turkey meat.

bacon-shotgun-shells

Why Are We Using Different Meats?

2 are always better than 1!

Using 2 different types of meat will give your shotgun shells a diverse flavor.

It will also impact the texture and balance the fat content.

Be aware that using 2 fatty types of meat might cause these amazing appetizers to be too oily.

So pick a lean sausage mixture.

Get creative but be aware of the fat content.

We are already using cheese and bacon!

shotgun-shells-food

Preparing the Spice Mix

Preparing the spice mix is simple.

– Mix all the above rations in a mixing bowl like you did the meat.

The familiar story for this recipe is to use the flavors you want to.

I have chosen cajun as it goes well with the ground beef mixture.

While complimenting the Italian seasoning in the sausage mixture.

– Mix the spices in with your meat mixture.

– Wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to stuff the Manicotti tubes.

chilli-for-smoked-shotgun-shells

How to Make the Shotgun Shell

Get ready for the fun part!

– Set up a clean station on your worktop.

– Stuff the Manicotti with your meat and cheese mixture.

– Carefully wrap the bacon around each one, covering completely.

Tip: Dry and wrap the bacon in a way that also covers the sides.

This will stop any of the meat mixtures from falling out when smoking.

smoked-shotgun-shell-recipe

Do I Need to Rest Them Before Smoking?

Rest the shotgun shells in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 6 hours.

This is a crucial part of the process.

It does 3 things;

– Draws moisture from the pasta shells which helps them cook and crisp up.

– Helps with the bacon sticking to the shotgun shells.

– Lets the meat and cheese mixture develop flavor with the spices.

shotgun-shells-smoker-cooling-on-rack

What if I Don’t Have a Smoker?

Smoking the bacon-wrapped shells with indirect heat is the best technique.

However, if you don’t have a smoker don’t worry! You can still easily cook them in the oven.

They won’t come out as smokey but you can replicate that flavor with BBQ sauce or liquid smoke.

shotgun-shell-appetizer

What Wood Chips Should I Use?

We are using apple wood.

But use whatever favorite wood pellets you have!

Hickory?

Cherry wood?

The choice is yours.

shotgun-shell-recipe

What Temperature Should I Set the Smoker?

Set your pellet smoker temp to a medium 250°F for the first stage of cooking.

We will then be ramping up the heat to 300°F for the last 10 mins.

This is when we will be adding the barbecue sauce and crisping up the bacon.

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How Long Is the Smoking Process?

Your shotgun shells will take around 90 minutes in total.

How Do I Know My Shotgun Shells Are Ready to Eat?

Measure the internal temperature with a probe.

They should read 165°F before consumption.

The bacon should be crispy with the BBQ sauce turned into a glaze.

Poke through gently with a fork to make sure the Manicotti has cooked.

It will be firm but tender.

shotgun-shells-smoker-recipe

How Do I Store the Leftovers?

Store the leftover shotgun shells in an airtight container in the fridge.

These will last 3 days and can be reheated in a microwave.

Cajun Seasoned Smoked Shotgun Shells Wrapped in Bacon

I hope you love one of my favorite appetizers.

They should be as fun to make as they are tasty.

Remember you can personalize the stuffing mixture to what you enjoy.

Happy cooking!

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Step 1: Make the Stuffing (10 Minutes)

– Follow the above directions using your stuffing ingredients.

– Mix thoroughly.

– Refrigerate until ready.

shotgun-shells-on-the-smoker

Step 2: Mix the Spices & Apply Them to the Stuffing (5 Minutes)

– Mix the spices as directed above.

– Mix into your stuffing mix.

– Refrigerate until ready to fill up the pasta.

Step 3: Make the Shotgun Shells (20 Minutes)

– Stuff the pasta into shotgun shells.

– Wrap the bacon around your stuffed pasta. Followed by a good rub of your favorite seasoning.

– Store in a clean airtight container.

prepping-bbq-shotgun-shells

Step 4: Rest the Shotgun Shells (6 Hours)

– Rest the shells in the fridge for 6 hours.

shotgun-shell-appetizer

Step 5: Smoke & Enjoy the Shotgun Shells (90 Minutes)

– Load the pellets, prime, set the grill temperature to 250°F, and wait until up to temp.

– Put the shotgun shells directly on the grill gates or a wire rack.

– Smoke for 60 minutes.

– Brush BBQ sauce on each of the shells.

shotgun-shells-smoked-cooling-on-rack

Smoked Shotgun Shells

Smoked shotgun shells are just pasta tubes stuffed with declious beef/pork usage, and cheese and wrapped up in crispy bacon.
All you need to do is throw them on the smoker and give them a glaze with BBQ sauce and your good to go.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time4 hrs
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, lunch, main, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Barbecue, bbq, dinner, grill, lunch
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 320kcal
Author: Charlie
Cost: 15

Equipment

  • Pellet grill or charcoal smoker
  • Choice of wood pellets
  • Mixing bowl
  • Sharp knife
  • Wire rack
  • Airtight container
  • Thermometer probe
  • Basting brush

Ingredients

  • 1 box uncooked manicotti pasta uncooked
  • 1 lb Jimmy Dean style sausage hot or regular
  • 1 lb beef mince
  • 1 block softened cream cheese
  • 2 diced jalapeño
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheese of choice cheddar or pepper jack
  • 1-2 tablespoon of favorite rub
  • 1-2 packages of bacon

Homemade Spice Rub

  • 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried greek oregano
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tsp cumin powder
  • 1 Tsp white pepper

Instructions

Step 1: Make the Stuffing (10 Minutes)

  • – Follow the above directions using your stuffing ingredients.
  • – Mix thoroughly.
  • – Refrigerate until ready.

Step 2: Mix the Spices & Apply Them to the Stuffing (5 Minutes)

  • – Mix the spices as directed above.
  • – Mix into your stuffing mix.
  • – Refrigerate until ready to fill up the pasta.

Step 3: Make the Shotgun Shells (20 Minutes)

  • – Stuff the pasta into shotgun shells.
  • – Wrap the bacon around your stuffed pasta. Followed by a good rub of your favorite seasoning.
  • – Store in a clean airtight container.

Step 4: Rest the Shotgun Shells (6 Hours)

  • – Rest the shells in the fridge for 6 hours.

Step 5: Smoke & Enjoy the Shotgun Shells (90 Minutes)

  • – Load the pellets, prime, set the grill temperature to 250°F, and wait until up to temp.
  • – Put the shotgun shells directly on the grill gates or a wire rack.
  • – Smoke for 60 minutes.
  • – Brush BBQ sauce on each of the shells.

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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