Smoked Shotgun Shells

2 reviews

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

These smoked shotgun shells are a happy little appetizer that is so meaty and filling it could easily double as a main dish. Manicotti is stuffed with a spicy sausage mixture, wrapped in bacon, and cooked on the smoker for the best BBQ bite around.

Pile of smoked shotgun shells on a wooden cutting board with text overlay - Smoked Shotgun Shells.

Smoked Shotgun Shells

These shotgun shells are LOADED with all the good stuff. Manicotti shells are stuffed with a mix of Italian sausage, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese, then wrapped in bacon and smoked. To make a good thing even better, we topped these meat lovers-style shotgun shells with parmesan garlic butter and dunked them in warm marinara.

Pasta shell being stuffed with sausage.

Ingredients for Smoked Shotgun Shells

First up, you’ll need these four ingredients for your smoked shotgun shells:

My Hey Grill Hey Chicken Rub is a bright and bold chicken seasoning that combines lemon and herbs for a refreshing seasoning with just a hint of heat. You can purchase Chicken Rub from the Hey Grill Hey Store. You can also make a similar seasoning using my recipe for Lemon Herb Chicken Seasoning.

Here’s what you’ll need for the meat lovers filling:

  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup mini pepperonis
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

Last up, you’ll need the following for the garlic Parmesan butter:

  • 4 Tablespoons melted salted butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Stuffed pasta shell being wrapped in bacon.

How to Make Smoked Shotgun Shells

Here’s how to make smoked shotgun shells (meat lovers style!).

  1. Cook the manicotti. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the manicotti for 4-6 minutes to partially cook them (they will cook the rest of the way on the smoker).
  2. Make the filling. Mix the sausage, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese in a medium bowl until just barely mixed.
  3. Suff the noodles. Remove the manicotti from the water. Stuff each shell with a portion of the sausage filling.
  4. Wrap in bacon. Wrap the stuffed manicotti with a slice of bacon. Be sure to tuck the ends of the bacon in securely so they do not unravel on the smoker.
  5. Season. Sprinkle the outside of the manicotti with Hey Grill Hey Chicken Rub.
  6. Smoke. With your smoker preheated to 275 degrees F, place the shotgun shells on the grill grates of the smoker. Close the lid and smoke for around 1 1/2 hours or until the sausage reaches 170-175 degrees F. Once the smoked shotgun shells reach their target temperature, remove them from the grill.
  7. Baste. Combine the ingredients for the garlic parmesan butter in a small bowl. Baste each shotgun shell liberally with the butter.
  8. Enjoy. Cool the smoked shotgun shells for 5 minutes before serving them with warmed marinara sauce (for dipping).

Shotgun shells being seasoned on a baking rack.

How Long to Smoke Shotgun Shells

It takes approximately 1 1/2 hours to smoke shotgun shells.

This time may vary slightly depending on how consistently your smoker holds its temperature and the thickness of your bacon. Remove the shotgun shells with the sausage filling reads 170 degrees F and the bacon has fully rendered. I highly recommend investing in an instant-read thermometer to track the temperature of the smoked shotgun shells as they cook.

Smoked shotgun shells being basted with sauce.

Tips for Making Smoked Shotgun Shells

Once you’re ready to make these shotgun shells take a few minutes to read over these tips. Here are some tips for making these awesome smoked shotgun shells.

  • Partially cook your noodles before filling. 4-5 minutes is enough to help start the softening process but keep them firm enough that they’re still easy to fill.
  • Work on a flat cooling rack. These handy racks make assembling and transporting the stuffed shells a breeze.
  • Have fun with flavors. A meat lovers pizza inspired me for this recipe, but you can swap Italian sausage for ground beef or regular pork sausage, change the mozzarella for cheddar, or add in all sorts of flavor enhancers like jalapeños! It’s all about having fun and experimenting.

Pile of smoked shotgun shells on a wooden cutting board.

More Bacon Wrapped Recipes

I’m a firm believer that everything tastes better wrapped in bacon. If you’re on the bacon bandwagon with me, try out these other tasty bacon wrapped BBQ recipes from Hey Grill Hey. Each one is better than the last.

Smoked Shotgun Shells Recipe

This recipe was created for you, backyard griller! Here at Hey Grill Hey, we’re in the business of helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes here on my website (browse the Homepage for inspiration) on Instagram, YouTube, or our Facebook Page.

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you'll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Smoked Shotgun Shells

By: Susie Bulloch
5 from 2 votes
These smoked shotgun shells are a happy little appetizer that is so meaty and filling it could easily double as a main dish. Manicotti is stuffed with a spicy sausage mixture, wrapped in bacon, and cooked on the smoker for the best BBQ bite around.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 30 minutes
Servings6 people



  • 1 box manicotti shells
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Chicken Rub recipe link in notes section
  • 1 cup marinara sauce for dipping

Shotgun Shell Filling

  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage
  • ½ cup mini pepperonis
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

Garlic Parmesan Butter Base

  • 4 Tablespoons salted butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • Par cook the manicotti. Bring a large pot of salted water up to a boil. Add your manicotti shells to the boiling water and cook for about 4-6 minutes to par-cook (partially cook).
  • Preheat. Turn on the smoker and preheat your smoker to 275 degrees F using your favorite hardwood.
  • Make the filling. While the noodles cook, combine the hot Italian sausage, mini pepperonis, and mozzarella cheese in a medium bowl until just incorporated.
  • Stuff the shells. Remove the partially cooked noodles from the water to a cooling rack set atop a baking sheet lined with foil. Stuff each shell with a portion of the sausage mixture. Grab a couple of ounces of the sausage and roll it into a cylinder shape before sliding it inside the pasta shell. Press with your fingers to load the shells with the sausage.
  • Wrap and season. Wrap each stuffed shell with a slice of bacon, tucking the ends to prevent the bacon from unraveling while they cook. Set the wrapped shells back on the cooling rack. Season across the top with the Hey Grill Hey Chicken Rub.
  • Smoke. Place the pan of shotgun shells on the smoker and close the lid. Smoke for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature of the sausage reads 170-175 degrees F and the bacon has rendered. Remove the pan of shotgun shells from the smoker.
  • Serve. In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese. Baste liberally across the tops of your finished shotgun shells. Allow the finished product to cool for 5 minutes or so before transferring it to your serving platter and enjoying it with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.


Chicken Rub


Calories: 924kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 72g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 30g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 155mg | Sodium: 1649mg | Potassium: 628mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 650IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 194mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!



Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

Related Recipes

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

10 Reviews

  1. Bing says:

    These are fantastic!!! I make these darn near everytime I fire up the smoker. I do not parboil, just leave them sit overnight. Neighbors put them in toasted rolls. Thank you for the recipe.

  2. Gary Wagner says:

    Can these be made the day before then heated up. ?Thanks

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      Probably! I’d reheat on low in your oven.

    2. Ken says:

      Have you ever tried this with prosciutto instead of bacon? Any difference on cooking that you would recommend?

  3. Chris Cady says:

    This was great! Hit of the party! I did not parboil, but I brushed spaghetti sauce on manicotti and then wrapped the bacon. Left in fridge overnight, resulted in softening the manicotti. Delicious!!!

  4. Neil says:

    Any suggestion for making these for breakfast and using egg in the mixture? How might that work?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      It might be easiest to pre-cook some scrambled eggs to put into the filling mixture.

    2. Neil says:

      Just made these for appetizers. I cut the manicotti in half after par-cooking them. Only had 1 to split. This makes the shells more of a 2 bite appetizer! Turned out wonderfully!

  5. Jeff says:

    Haven’t cooked these yet but can’t wait. Made them yesterday and will cook today. I didn’t par cook the shells since I was cooking 24 hours later. I was wondering where you get 4 hours of cook time from? Looks more like 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

    1. Jeff Jeffers says:

      I didn’t cook these yet but Im Jeff and this is a fiver.