Smoked Shotgun Shells

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I’m constantly on the lookout for new, inventive barbecue foods to put on the smoker for parties and get-togethers, so when I saw these Smoked Shotgun Shells flying around social media, I knew I had to give them a try.

The name was inspired by its similarity to a shotgun shell.

Manicotti pasta is stuffed with ground beef and cheese, then wrapped in bacon (because everything is better with bacon), then smoked. Barbecue sauce is smeared over the top as a final touch, and you’re left with a simple yet wonderful barbecue snack!

Can you make these without a smoker?

Smoked Shotgun Shells

Yes! While this is a recipe for smoked shotgun shells, there is no reason why you couldn’t cook them in the oven instead, just following the time and temperature requirements in the recipe below.

You’ll lose part of the smoky flavor, but since you’re using barbecue sauce and rub, they will still taste great.

You could also cook them in an air fryer, but I haven’t tried it, so you’ll have to experiment with cooking times.

The key to making sure the noodles are fully cooked

Smoked Shotgun Shells

In previous recipes, I’ve heard concerns about the pasta remaining firm at the conclusion of the cooking time.

To produce precisely cooked pasta, I chill the packed shells in the fridge for approximately 6 hours before smoking them. The moisture from the meat softens the pasta, allowing it to cook faster while on the smoker.

If you’re short on time, consider lightly boiling the shells before filling them.

How to Make Smoked Shotgun Shells

These are really rather easy to create. The most difficult element of the dish, in my opinion, is inserting the ground beef into the manicotti noodles without breaking them.

Some recipes utilize breakfast sausage or ground sausage, but I chose to use ground beef and season it myself so that I could control the taste profile.

1. The filling

Simply combine ground beef, Monterey jack cheese, and a pinch of your preferred barbecue seasoning in a mixing dish.

I used the PS Seasoning Texas BBQ Rodeo Rub for this recipe, which is a brisket-specific rub. Here are some more fantastic rub recipes that you may make at home.

However, feel free to experiment with other fillings! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Add diced jalapeo to the meat mixture
  • Use sausage meat instead of ground beef
  • Use pepper jack or string cheese
  • Use beef or turkey bacon to wrap

We also have a recipe for Jalapeo Popper Shotgun Shells that includes breakfast sausage to amp up the taste.

2. Stuff and wrap

Once the meat and cheese mixture has been well combined, insert it into dry, uncooked manicotti shells.

I discovered that stuffing them in little chunks at a time was the most efficient method.

After you’ve packed them all, just wrap each one with two pieces of bacon. I used thick-cut bacon, but I don’t believe it makes a difference, so use whatever bacon you have on hand.

When all of them are wrapped, add a little more of the barbecue rub on top of each one.

3. Let them sit

I was afraid that the manicotti might overcook on the smoker, so I put them in the fridge for approximately 6 hours before smoking them.

This allows the fluid in the meat and bacon to infiltrate the pasta, preventing crispy pasta in the middle of your shotgun shell.

If you’re cooking for a crowd, you can prepare them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days before cooking.

4. Fire Up the Smoker

When you’re ready to smoke your shotgun rounds, set your smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

I used Camp Chef Charwood pellets to smoke them on my Camp Chef Woodwind 24 smoker. They are made from a combination of charcoal and cherry wood.

When your grill is hot, set the shotgun shells on a jerky tray or wire rack and cook them. It is also OK to place them straight on the grates.

You’ll smoke them for approximately 90 minutes, then raise the temperature in your smoker to 350F to crisp up the bacon. Allow them to simmer for another 10 minutes at 350°F before grabbing some barbecue sauce and a basting brush.

For this dish, I used PS Seasoning Bourbon Barrel whiskey BBQ sauce. It’s a tart sauce made with barrel-aged bourbon and molasses. Here are some BBQ Sauces You Can create at Home if you prefer to create your own.

After they’ve been well covered in the sauce, return them to the grill for another 10 minutes to let the sauce to set and firm up. Your bacon should be nicely crispy at this point.

After stacking them on a good butcher board, these shotgun rounds are ready to enjoy!

Looking for more great appetizers with bacon?

  • Smoked Armadillo Eggs wrapped in bacon
  • Smoked Pig Shots
  • Bacon wrapped Jalapeno poppers
  • Smoked Texas Twinkies
  • Smoked baked beans with bacon


What temperature do you smoke shotgun shells?

Preheat your smoker to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. For this recipe, I prefer a medium smoke wood, such as hickory or pecan. In this video, we utilized a Traeger Timberline XL with Meat Church pellets, which are a combination of oak and hickory. Place the shotgun shells on a baking rack and into the smoker.

How long does shotgun shells take to smoke?

2 hours, or until the sausage reaches a temperature of 170-175 degrees F. Remove the smoking shotgun shells from the grill after they have reached the desired temperature. Baste.Place the shotgun shells on the grill grates of your smoker while it is warmed to 275 degrees F. Close the cover and smoke for around 1 12 hours.

Can you reheat smoked shotgun shells?

To reheat smoked shotgun shells, put them on an oven-safe dish and cook them in the oven for approximately 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. You may also use the microwave or an air fryer to heat them.

Can you freeze smoked shotgun shells?

Yes, you may prepare and freeze filled shells ahead of time.

You may also opt to partly cook your shells before freezing and then complete cooking them when they thaw, or to fully cook them and then just reheat.

Is it safe to shoot 50 year old shotgun shells?

Check the brass heads for rust or corrosion as well; if you find any, it indicates that the ammunition was inadequately kept. If it doesn’t seem to be safe to shoot, you shouldn’t. If you purchased the old ammo in its original box, you should check it as well.

Can you fire an empty shotgun shell?

Although blank cartridges do not contain a bullet, precautions are nevertheless necessary since deaths and serious injuries have occurred when blank cartridges have been shot at very close ranges.

How many handmade shells does it take to destroy a shotgun trap?

It is possible to break it with 60 5.56 Rifle Ammo or Handmade Shells. The blueprint costs 125 scrap.

Do shotgun shells go bad?

The common standard is 10 years, however ammunition may live much longer if properly maintained. Aside from extending the life of your shells, the key is to recognize the warning signals that your ammo has reached the end of its useful life.

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