Smoked shotgun shells are a delicious barbecue that combines creamy, meaty, and savory flavors. My smoked shotgun shells recipe starts with parboiled manicotti noodles. These noodles are then stuffed with delicious ingredients and smoked at medium heat on a pellet smoker.
As an experienced barbecue chef, I learned this tasty recipe in a cooking class and added my own special twist. This pasta and meat mix is one of my family’s favorite smoked appetizers. Here’s how I prepare smoked shotgun shells.
Shotgun shells, also called bullet shells, are tasty delicacies that are prepared with beef and cheese stuffed inside a pasta tube wrapped in bacon. The shells are slathered with sauce, smoked on a smoker, and served. The outcome tastes amazing. Imagine juicy steak, flavorful sauce, and creamy cheese all in one. Moreover, you can enjoy smoked shotgun shells with other delicious sides or eat them alone.
I love how easy it is to make these tasty shells. Stuffing the ground beef into the manicotti pasta is probably the most challenging step. But it’ll get easier with practice.
Here are the tools you’ll need to make delicious shotgun shells:
First, mix the ground beef, shredded cheese, and diced jalapenos, and add a dollop of barbecue rub. I use Happy Belly’s Smoked BBQ rub, and the spicy flavor is simply delicious.
Next, parboil the uncooked manicotti shells pasta for 5 minutes so it softens a bit. Ensure you don’t boil the pasta for too long as it would come out mushy. After the manicotti is slightly boiled, fill the tubes with the beef and shredded cheese mixture.
In my experience, the easiest way to fill the manicotti pasta with the ground beef mixture is with a piping bag. You can also use your hands to stuff the meat mixture into the tubes.
When the manicotti shells are all filled, wrap two slices of bacon around the shells. Regular pork bacon is my favorite, but turkey bacon also tastes great. You simply need to wrap each one in two slices of bacon. Once the stuffed shells are properly wrapped in bacon, brush the brisket rub on all the meat pieces.
Now, preheat the smoker to 250°F. I used my Traeger pellet smoker for this recipe. Lay the wrapped shells on a wire rack, then place them in the pellet grill once it has heated up. You can also place the shells directly on the grill grates. Remember to close the lid of the grill.
Allow the shells to smoke for over an hour at 250 degrees, then raise the temperature to 350 degrees for a crispy exterior. Cook the pasta at this temperature for 10 minutes, then pull them out of the smoker and slather BBQ sauce once again.
Afterward, cook the wrapped shells until the internal temperature reads 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you occasionally watch the shotgun shells while they cook at this temperature so they don’t burn.
Lastly, stack the smoked shotgun shells on a plate and let them rest for about 10 minutes. Once the crunchy pasta and meat combo have rested, serve and enjoy!
Here are some tips to help you make these tasty shotgun shells.
If you don’t own a smoker, you’re in luck! Fortunately, you can prepare this delicious meal in an oven or air fryer.
First, preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake the shotgun shells on a baking sheet for 60 minutes on the middle rack, then take them out of the oven, glaze them with barbecue sauce, and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Afterward, insert a meat thermometer into the dish.
If the internal temperature reads 165 degrees, take the pasta out of the oven. If it doesn’t, allow the smoked shotgun shell to cook longer. Lastly, remove the shells once they’re done and allow them to rest before serving.
Set your fryer to 400°F. Then, glaze your shotgun shells with barbecue rub and cook them in the fryer for roughly 20 minutes. Remember to line the fryer with parchment paper before cooking.
Cook the bacon-wrapped shotgun shells till the internal temperature reads 165 degrees, or until the shells feel crisp on the outside and juicy inside. When the shotgun shells are done, glaze them with barbecue sauce once more and let them cool for 10 minutes before eating.
Looking for a simple way to serve these smoked shotgun shells? I enjoy serving them at get-togethers and parties, and my family occasionally eats them for dinner. I particularly enjoy this food with side dishes like:
Your delicious smoked shotgun shells can be kept for three to four days in the fridge. Ensure you keep them in an airtight container before placing them in a refrigerator cooling at 40 degrees or lower.
If you want them to last longer, freeze them in a freezer-safe container. They should last for up to four months in the freezer.
Bring out the shotgun shells from the fridge and place them on a baking dish. Slather barbeque sauce on the shells and cover them with foil. Put the dish in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees and reheat for 15–20 minutes.
If you stored the shotgun shells in the freezer, first remove them and place them in the fridge to thaw for 8 to 10 hours. After this, repeat the steps we’ve already discussed.
Depending on your flavor preference, you’ll need different kinds of wood pellets. Mesquite or hickory pellets work best for a traditional BBQ flavor.
Alternatively, use cherry or oak pellets for a more subtle, smoky flavor. Apple and pecan are also excellent options if you’re looking for pellets with a sweeter flavor.
These smoked shotgun shells are incredibly tasty and simple to prepare. Moreover, you can experiment with different ingredients.
You’ll always get tasty results, whether you stuff the pasta with sausages instead of ground beef or substitute mozzarella with cheddar cheese. Remember, you can make these ahead of time and refrigerate them so they’ll be ready to smoke on the grill when your guests arrive!