These delicious smoked shotgun shells are loaded with a mixture of ground beef, hot Italian sausage, onions, jalapenos, sharp cheddar cheese, a blend of seasonings, barbecue sauce, all stuffed into manicotti shells, wrapped in bacon, basted in more barbecue sauce and smoked to crispy perfection.
Shotgun shells? That sounds dangerous, doesn’t it? Well, this recipe is dangerous – dangerously delicious! This is a new recipe that I only started making last summer after I found a version of it online. The flavors sounded amazing, and I knew it was just the kind of thing that my friends and family would love. After a couple of cookouts featuring these stuffed shells, I knew I was right. I had zero leftovers, and I can’t see that changing anytime soon. These delicious shells are a great meal or appetizer, and with so much flavor packed into them, every bite is super satisfying.
Smoked Shotgun Shells
This recipe starts with a mixture of ground beef and hot Italian sausage. To that, I add onions, jalapenos, cheddar and cream cheeses, spicy seasonings, and barbecue sauce. After that, it’s all stuffed into manicotti shells, then wrapped in bacon, coated in more barbecue sauce, and smoked until the bacon is crispy and the entire dish is infused with delicious smoked flavor. If you’re a fan of outdoor cooking, especially smoking, you’re going to love this recipe.
Why You’ll Love These Smoked Shotgun Shells
- They’re a delicious appetizer for parties, game days, tailgating, family gatherings, or even a unique family dinner.
- They’re absolutely delicious and a fun foodie conversation starter.
- Even though they take a little time, they’re so worth it.
Smoked Shotgun Shells Ingredients
It only takes a few basic ingredients to make this delicious recipe. You can easily find everything you need at your local grocery store. The actual measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Ground beef
- Hot Italian sausage
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Cream cheese
- Slap Ya Mama seasoning
- Garlic powder
- Black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Manicotti shells
- Barbecue sauce
How to Make Smoked Shotgun Shells
This recipe couldn’t be easier. It’s mostly a matter of mixing and then waiting for the shells to smoke to perfection. Anyone can make them, even beginners.
Step 1: Make the Filling
Mix all ingredients except the bacon and extra barbecue sauce in a large bowl.
Step 2: Make the Shotgun Shells
Gently stuff the manicotti shells from both ends, making sure there are no air pockets. Then, wrap bacon around each shell. Brush additional barbecue sauce on both sides of the shells and place them on baking sheet.
Step 3: Smoke
Place the wrapped shells of the grill grates. Smoke the stuffed shells at 250 degrees in a preheated smoker for 60 minutes. Then, flip the shells, add more barbecue sauce if necessary, and continue smoking for another 60 minutes or until the bacon is crispy.
- Be very gentle when stuffing the manicotti so you don’t break them.
- To ensure your manicotti is completely stuffed, you can use something like a chopstick, or the end of a wooden spoon, to press the mixture further into the shell, pushing it in from the open ends of the pasta shells on either side.
- Use your favorite wood to smoke these shells. Any will work well.
- For a mild version, use mild Italian sausage and omit the jalapeno and red pepper flakes.
- For something a little different, try using chorizo in place of ground beef and Italian sausage.
- Use your favorite barbecue sauce flavor for this recipe.
What are shotgun shells?
Shotgun shells are a smoked appetizer made with manicotti shells that have been stuffed with a cheese and sausage mixture, wrapped in slices of bacon, and then coated in barbecue sauce and smoked.
Can I make these smoked shotgun shells in advance?
You sure can. They reheat very well. That being said, I recommend making them no sooner than the night before you plan to serve them for maximum flavor kick.
Should I parboil the shells before filling?
No. There’s no need to parboil them, as the smoking process and the moisture from the filling will cook them to perfection. In addition, uncooked manicotti shells are easier to stuff than slightly soft ones.
What temp do you cook shotgun shells?
Cooking times vary, but generally, they’re smoked at temperatures ranging from 225 degrees to 250 degrees.
Can you make shotgun shells without a smoker?
Absolutely. Although they’re traditionally smoked, you can make them in the oven or even in the air fryer. To bake them, follow the temperature and time guidelines in the smoked recipe, but keep an eye on the bacon as times can vary. Air fry them at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
How to Store and Reheat Smoked Shotgun Shells
Store these stuffed shells in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the fridge. For longer storage, you can freeze them for up to 3 months in an airtight, freezer-safe container.
To reheat the shells, place them in a baking dish along with the sauce, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Try This Delicious Smoked Shotgun Shells Recipe Today
These smoked shotgun shells are absolutely delicious and so easy to make. The hardest part is waiting for them to finish smoking! Whether you’re serving them at a backyard barbecue or just as a fun, protein-packed family meal, everyone will love these shells every time you set them out. Give these a try, and I know they’ll become your new favorite!
More Delicious Appetizer Recipes You’ll Enjoy
Pig Shots (Oven Baked) – This delicious pig shot recipe is a great appetizer packed with flavor from the thick crispy bacon, smoked sausage, cream cheese mixture, jalapeños, and honey barbecue glaze that are oven baked.
BBQ Smoked Sausage Bites – A quick and easy appetizer recipe that only takes two ingredients and are a must make for parties, game day, tailgating, or a midday snack.
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs – These teriyaki chicken kabobs are made with marinated chicken breasts, fresh pineapple, and three different bell peppers, then grilled to perfection.
And, here are some delicious Chili Dog Sliders, from Deliciously Seasoned, that you will enjoy as well.
Smoked Shotgun Shells
- (2) 8 ounce boxes manicotti shells
- 1½ pound ground beef
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage
- I medium onion finely diced
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
- 6 ounce cream cheese
- 1 jalapeno, inely diced
- 2 teaspoons Slap Ya Mama seasoning
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup barbecue sauce
- (2) 16 ounce packages bacon (might need more)
- Additional barbecue sauce for coating.
- Preheat the smoker to 250°.
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, except bacon and extra BBQ sauce. *The meat and sausage are not cooked first.
- Gently stuff uncooked manicotti shells from both ends making sure there are no air pockets.
- Wrap slices of bacon around each shell (I covered the ends. Might need two pieces of bacon).
- Brush additional barbecue sauce over both sides and place on a baking sheet while the remaining shells are being basted in BBQ sauce.
- Smoke for 60 minutes, then flip shells over, add more barbecue sauce, and continue smoking for another 60 minutes or until the bacon is nice and crispy.
- Remove from the smoker and enjoy.
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