A Game Day Recipe from MeatChurch

Smoked Shotgun Shells

Smoked Shotgun Shells make a fantastic appetizer or tailgating treat! We have made these with many different fillings and this Summer settled on this recipe that my family and guests loved. It's a very hearty version and it is filled mostly with meat and a little cheese and hatch chilies for a Southwestern flavor profile which we think you will love. However, as I always say, feel free to make the recipe you own with fillings that your family will enjoy.

It's key to allow the meat mixture to rest in the pasta tubes in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. We have tested the difference between 1 to 3 hours and the results are not as good.

Instructional Video


  • 2 boxes manicotti shells
  • 2 packages, regular bacon
  • 1 lb 90\10 ground beef
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage links (5-6 sausages)
  • 8 oz, farm cut shredded cheese
  • Meat Church Honey Hog
  • 1, C Sweet BBQ Sauce. We use Meat Mitch Naked

    Optional ingredients:

  • 4 roasted hatch chilles, diced (sub jalapeño, etc)

Prepare the Shotgun Shells

Remove the Italian sausage from the casings. Mix the the Italian sausage, ground beef & shredded cheese in a large mixing bowl. If you are adding the hatch chilies or other peppers, mix those in as well.

Stuff the manicotti tubes completely with the mixture.

This filling will make approximately 24 shells, with 4 shells left over.

Wrap each shell in one piece of bacon covering the shell as much as possible.

Season all sides of the shells with Meat Church Honey Hog.

Place the shells on a sheet pan and rest in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Anything less with result in a tough and chewy bite after these are cooked.

Prepare the Smoker

Prepare your smoker at a temperature of 300 degrees. I recommend a medium smoke wood for this cook such as hickory or pecan. We used a Traeger Timberline XL with Meat Church pellets which is a blend of oak and hickory.

Smoke the Shotgun Shells

Place the shotgun shells on a baking rack and place then into the smoker.

Smoke for 1 hour. At this point the ground meat will be above 165 internal temp and the shell will be tender.

After 1 hour, brush on the BBQ sauce.

Return to the smoker and allow the sauce to tack up for 10 - 15 minutes.

Remove from the smoker, slice and enjoy!

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