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Traeger Smoked Shotgun Shells

Our easy Traeger Smoked Shotgun Shells take uncooked manicotti noodles, stuff them with a mixture of seasoned ground beef and cheese, wrapped in bacon, and then painted with a spicy-sweet glaze to finish the whole thing off. Smoked for an hour and then raise the temp a bit to crisp up that bacon, and you’ve got one of our favorite appetizers on the smoker!

Traeger Smoked Shotgun Shells

If you need an appetizer that’s going to be the star of your next cookout, look no further. All you need is one of these savory meat-stuffed pasta tubes, but don’t let that stop you. We suggest leaving lots of time between the appetizers and the main if Smoked Shotgun Shells are on the menu!

Use whatever type of meat you’d like. Sausage is a popular stuffing, but we decided to go with a spicy seasoned ground beef instead and copious amounts of shredded smoked Beecher’s cheese.

Mix it up with whatever you have around, though! You can’t really go wrong here, so as with all of our recipes, feel free to experiment and make them your own.

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Traeger Smoked Shotgun Shells

Smoked Shotgun Shells shopping list

Wondering if you have to hit the store? Here’s the list of items you’ll need to make this recipe. For specific amounts, please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Manicotti Shells
  • Ground Beef
  • Roasted Garlic Blend (optional)
  • Midnight Toker Rub (optional)
  • Beecher’s Smoked Flagship Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Dark Brown Sugar
  • Real Maple Syrup
  • Sriracha
  • Cayenne Pepper

More Bacon Recipes here!

Traeger Smoked Shotgun Shells

How to make Smoked Shotgun Shells

This is just the overview so you can see what you’re actually getting into here. When you are cooking, you’ll want to use the full recipe at the bottom of the page.



Put together the ground beef, seasonings, and the cheese.


Stuff, Wrap, & Wait

Stuff the ground beef mixture into the manicotti shells. Wrap each shell with one piece of bacon.

NOW – wait. After a couple of reports of shells not cooking completely, I recommend covering the wrapped shells and placing them in the fridge for 4-6 hours before smoking. If you’d rather smoke right away, boil the manicotti for 2-3 minutes prior to stuffing.


Preheat the pellet grill

Not too hot! You want it about 220° for the first stage of this.



Place the shotgun shells onto the grill and let them smoke for one hour. Crank up the heat to 350°.


Mix and Glaze

Mix up all the glaze ingredients, and when the bacon fat is rendered, and it is starting to firm up, paint the glaze onto the shells. Cook 10 more minutes, roll those bad boys over and paint the other side. Cook 10 more minutes and remove from the grill and enjoy!

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Traeger Smoked Shotgun Shells FAQ

How do you store leftovers?

In a baggie in the fridge is best for these!

What’s the best way to reheat leftovers?

In the oven is best. You could get away with the microwave if you absolutely have to, though.


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Traeger Smoked Shotgun Shells
Yield: 12 servings

Traeger Smoked Shotgun Shells

Traeger Smoked Shotgun Shells

These tasty treats are meat and cheese filled manicotti, wrapped in bacon, and finished off with a spicy-sweet coating to tie it all together.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes


  • 12 manicotti shells
  • 1 pound 80/20 ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Roasted Garlic Blend
  • 1 teaspoon Midnight Toker Rub
  • 1 cup shredded Beecher's Smoked Flagship Cheese
  • 12 slices bacon (NOT thick sliced, for the best results)


  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)


  1. Combine the ground beef, Roasted Garlic Blend, Midnight Toker Rub (see notes for substitution suggestions), and the shredded cheese. Mix together with your hands until everything is well combined.
  2. Stuff the mixture into your uncooked manicotti shells. Don't pack it in too tight. You might only have enough to fill 10-11 shells, and that's okay.
  3. Wrap each shell with a piece of bacon as best as you can. Place onto a tray and repeat until all the shells are wrapped.
  4. Next - cover the tray with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4-6 hours. This allows the shells to absorb some of the moisture from the meat and bacon and softed up a bit prior to cooking. If you'd rather not wait, boil the manicotti for 2-3 minutes before stuffing.
  5. Preheat your pellet grill to 220°.
  6. Place the bacon-wrapped shotgun shells onto the grates of your grill. Smoke for an hour, and then turn the heat up 350°.
  7. Once the grill comes up to temp and the bacon fat has mostly rendered and is starting to crisp, mix together the glaze ingredients and lightly paint on the bacon. Cook 10 minutes, gently roll the shells and paint the other side.
  8. Cook until the glaze is set and make sure the internal temperature of the meat reaches at least 160°.
  9. Remove and serve.


If you don't have the Roasted Garlic Rub or Midnight Toker yet, get ordering, but you can substitute in any garlic-heavy rub for this and it'll still be great!

The same goes for the Smoked Beecher's Flagship. If you aren't in the Pacific Northwest you might have a hard time finding that. That's okay! Use your favorite sharp cheddar or whatever cheese you're loving lately. Cheese + meat, you can't really go too wrong here.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 319mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 11g

Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate.

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Simon barry

Thursday 13th of July 2023

Is this temp in Celsius or Fahrenheit thanks

Nicole Johnson

Friday 14th of July 2023

Always Fahrehheit on this site. I'm trying to include that in all of my write-ups but there's still some older stuff that assumes everyone is American. Apologies! :D


Saturday 11th of February 2023

Would building them and putting them in the fridge overnight be too long before smoking?

Nicole Johnson

Sunday 12th of February 2023

Nope! That should be totally fine.


Friday 30th of December 2022

Misleading how step #1 says to start your smoker yet step #5 is place in fridge for 4-6 hours. Probably should fix that!

Nicole Johnson

Friday 30th of December 2022

Fair point! Adjusting that now. Thank you!


Sunday 27th of November 2022

If using oven ready shells, would you still parboil or let them sit for the 6 hours?

Nicole Johnson

Monday 28th of November 2022

I haven't tested with the oven-ready version, so I'm not sure! My guess is that you should be able to skip the rest and parboil, but that's just a guess. Let me know if you give it a try! I'll update the post with instructions.


Sunday 6th of November 2022

Can you make these in a regular oven or better yet an air fryer? No smoker available.

Nicole Johnson

Sunday 6th of November 2022

Yup! You sure can! Follow the same approximate times and temps as the smoker directions, and let me know how it goes!

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