Pepper Shot: Spicy Smoked Shotgun Shells

Pepper Shot: Spicy Smoked Shotgun Shells

Enchilada Style
pinit View Gallery 2 photos

Pepper Shot: Spicy Smoked Shotgun Shells

Prep Time 4 hrs Cook Time 90 mins Total Time 5 hrs 30 mins Difficulty: Beginner Servings: 6 Best Season: Summer

What you need


  1. Make the filling

    In a large bowl, add the ground beef and ground chorizo. Add in two(2) 1 oz packets of Old El Paso taco seasoning. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded pepper jack cheese. (Put the other 1/4 to the side for garnishing later.) Add 1/4 cup of Old El Paso enchilada sauce. (Place the remaining enchilada sauce in a bowl and throw it in the fridge. You'll need it later.) Mix to combine thoroughly and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes.

    Note: If you want to spice up your filling, you can toss in some green chiles or diced jalapenos.

  2. Prep your manicotti

    The best way to make this recipe is to prep the shotgun shells 4-6 hours ahead of time and allow the moisture from the filling to soften the manicotti before you place them on the smoker. If you don't, you'll end up with crunchy pasta that's simply not a good bite. If you don't have time to let them sit in the fridge, I recommend par cooking your manicotti for 2-3 minutes in salted boiling water. You don't want them to be fully cooked. Cook them just long enough that they are semi-pliable. Take them out of the boiling water and place them on a wire rack to drain and cool for 10 minutes before filling. 

  3. Fill the pasta

    You can stuff your manicotti by hand but I find using a piping bag is faster, easier, and much less messy. You can use a gallon zip-top bag and cut the corner off or go for disposable piping bags like these. They're cheap and very versatile. Any good cook should have some handy at all times. Be sure to fully fill your pasta with the meat mixture. The fewer gaps in the filling, the less chance of your manicotti drying out and getting crunchy during the smoke session. 

  4. Wrap your shells

    I've tried this with a variety of bacon and I've found that a standard cut works best. Using thick-cut bacon makes it difficult to get the entire shell covered. Additionally, it helps if you set the bacon out for 10-15 minutes prior to wrapping. It makes the bacon more pliable and easier to stretch if needed. Cold bacon has a tendency to snap in half when you pull on it. I like to use bacon that's hickory smoked because this version of shotgun shells forgoes the traditional sweet BBQ flavor profile. Something salty works better, in my opinion, but you use what you like. 

  5. Fire up your smoker

    This will be a low-temp smoke with a short period of high heat at the end of the cook. We're using the Traeger Pro 34 for this cook and I went with Bear Mountain Hickory wood pellets because I feel as if they put out more good smoke than a lot of other brands and they cost almost half as much. Set your smoker to 225°and while you wait for it to get to temp, run inside and take your shells out of the fridge. 

  6. Smoke 'Em

    Place your pepper shots on the bottom grate and smoke for one hour, turning them over after the first thirty minutes. 

  7. Crisp and baste

    After an hour, your filling should be cooked all the way through. You can always temp them with a good insta-read pen like the ThermoPro TP19. You want the internal temperature to be no less than 160°-165°. Next, crank your smoker up to 350°and close the lid. Let the pepper shots cook for 10 minutes then flip for another 5-10 minutes or until the bacon reaches your desired crispiness. 

  8. Sauce

    What you do in this step really depends on how you plan on serving your pepper shots. If you want to serve them as appetizers or snack-style, you can go ahead and brush baste them with the reserved enchilada sauce. Hit them with the sauce, flip and repeat. Let them smoke for 5-7 more minutes. Unlike BBQ sauce, the enchilada sauce will not set and become sticky. Once it's cooked in, they're good to remove and you can serve immediately. 

    If you're looking for something with a bit more sauce or you're serving the pepper shots as the main course, you can toss them in an aluminum pan and pour the reserved enchilada sauce over top of the shells. Sprinkle on the jalapenos and the remainder of your shredded pepper jack and return to the smoker for 5 more minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted. 


    That's it! Enjoy this spicy twist on shotgun shells. Feel free to try different types of filling to find the perfect version that works just for you. 
Keywords: shotgun shells, pasta, pellet smoker, bbg
Recipe Card powered by WP Delicious

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment

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