Smoked shotgun shells are delicious pasta tubes stuffed with meat and cheese. Wrapped in bacon, seasoned with rub, and finished with your favorite BBQ sauce no one could pass up these amazing appetizers.
Why this works
- Delicious and tasty - smoked shotgun shells combine some of our favorite ingredients in one dish. Since it reminded me of my favorite jalapeno poppers I couldn't wait to try them when I saw them.
- Creative appetizer - this is a great way to use manicotti shells or fresh lasagna sheets for an impressive starter for your pulled pork.
Ingredients you will need
Here is a quick snapshot of the ingredients you'll need for this recipe. Scroll to the recipe card where you will find the exact measurements.
- Manicotti shells or Lasagna sheets- you can use either uncooked manicotti or cannelloni shells. I chose to use uncooked fresh lasagna sheets since those were easier to assemble. You can purchase them in the refrigerated section of the grocery store just like the other fresh pasta. It really depends on what you can find, so it's good to have options.
- Bacon - any bacon will work, but for thick-cut bacon, you will need more bacon to cover the shells. Any bacon that is on sale works well for this recipe. Plan to use 1 to 1-½ pieces of bacon for each smoked shotgun shell.
- Cheese - you can use what you love here so feel free to mix it up. Anything from chunked Velveeta to shredded cheddar will be delicious.
How to make this
Step 1: Prepare the meat filling
In a large mixing bowl combine the pork sausage, ground beef, and cheese. Mix together really well.
Cooking tip: If using uncooked manicotti or cannelloni shells you will find them a lot easier to fill by putting the meat mixture in a plastic bag with the corner cut off.
Step 2: Assemble and cook the shells
Cut or break the lasagna sheet in half. Place the meat mixture on the bottom half of the lasagna sheet. Roll until it resembles a tube with the seam side down. Roll in enough bacon to cover the tube.
Place each assembled shell on a baking sheet. When done sprinkle with your favorite BBQ rub.
Heat the smoker to 250-275 degrees, and place the shells on a rack. Cook until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees and the bacon is crispy. Brush with BBQ sauce during the last few minutes of cooking to glaze.
Feel free to experiment with the filling by adding your favorite cheeses, or chopped jalapeno to turn up the heat. Experiment with different types of sausage like sweet or hot to change the flavor of the smoked shotgun shells.
If you are worried about the pasta shells not cooking all the way you can make them ahead and then put them in the fridge which can soften the shells. They will cook through though as the fat from the bacon and the meat will get soaked into the pasta.
A minimum temperature of 250 degrees is what is considered optimal.
Serve smoked shotgun shells with some BBQ nachos for a great appetizer spread. This also makes a great main course with some potatoes or Brussel sprouts.
Storage & Reheating
Store for up to one week in an airtight container. Reheat in microwave. Can be frozen for up to three months, and thawed in the refrigerator prior to eating.
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Smoked Shotgun Shells
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound pork breakfast sausage
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- 1 package fresh lasagna sheets manicotti shells
- 1 pound bacon
- 1 teaspoon BBQ rub
- ½ cup BBQ sauce
- In a large mixing bowl combine the ground beef, pork breakfast sausage, and cheese.
- Fill a large plastic bag and clip the corner off to use as an easy way to stuff the pasta.
- If using lasagna sheets put some of the filling at the bottom of the sheet. Roll the sheet to create a tube finish with the seam side down.
- Wrap in bacon, and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with BBQ rub.
- Cook in a smoker at 250-275 degrees until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees and the bacon is crispy. Brush with BBQ sauce the last few minutes of cooking.
- Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container or bag for up to one week. Can be frozen after cooking for up to three months and then thawed in the refrigerator. Reheat in the oven.
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