Traeger Shotgun Shells – Recipe and Cooking Guide

Hey Smokers, and welcome to my post where we will run through my recipe and cooking guide for Traeger Traeger Shotgun Shells – Recipe and Cooking Guide. As you may or may not know, this site is all about cooking on my Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Smoker and seeing where we can take things – and today, rather than a specific cut of meat, I am looking at a tasty little treat known as smoked shotgun shells.

Traeger Shotgun Shells - Header

Now, the idea for this one actually came from my 12yo son who came at me with a video he saw online of a guy making shotgun shells and pretty much demanded that I try them. An apologies to whoever it was that made the video as he closed it down without me seeing who it was meaning I can’t tag them sadly.

Before we start however, this post is actually more of a what not to do, rather than an all conquering tale of how wonderful they were. I mean they still tasted great, but there were some glaring areas of improvement that I will run through below…

This of course also means I will just have to try them again too… haha

Traeger Shotgun Shells: What You’ll Need

Ok, so below is what I used to cook me some smoked shotgun shells on the Traeger pellet smoker:


  • 12 large manicotti shells (a.k.a cannelloni shells)
  • 1 lb ground beef or sausage (beef for me)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 12 slices of bacon
  • Your favorite BBQ rub
  • BBQ sauce

Optional Ingredients:

  • Diced jalapeños (for added heat)
  • Chopped onions
  • Minced garlic
  • Bell peppers

I added the garlic here but nothing else…


  • Pellet smoker
  • Baking tray
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cooking spray
Traeger Shotgun Shells - cooked shells

The Cooking Process

This is what I did and when…

1. Preparation:

The first step here is to make the shells…

  1. Prepare the Filling:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, shredded cheddar cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese. – Plus the garlic in my case
  2. Stuff the Shells:
    • Carefully stuff each shells with the meat and cheese mixture. Make sure they are fully filled but not overstuffed to avoid splitting.
  3. Wrap with Bacon:
    • Wrap each stuffed shell with a slice of bacon. Make sure the bacon overlaps slightly to cover the entire shell. Use toothpicks if necessary to secure the bacon in place.
  4. Season the Shells:
    • Sprinkle your favorite BBQ rub evenly over the bacon-wrapped shells for extra flavor.
  5. Refrigerate:
    • Place the bacon-wrapped shells on a baking sheet then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. This helps the shells to soften and the flavors to meld.

Ok, so here is where I made my errors. Firstly, I did not use nearly enough cheese in the meat mixture. And secondly, and I think the main thing to watch here, I didn’t use nearly enough bacon to wrap the shells with. From the videos I have watched since, a complete covering of bacon is key to delicious, soft shells.

Treager shotgun shells - pre cooked shells

2. Smoking:

  1. Preheat the Pellet Smoker:
  2. Smoke the Shotgun Shells:
    • Place the bacon-wrapped shells onto a baking grill and then smoke for 2 hours at 250°F, turning them halfway through for even cooking.
  3. Glaze with BBQ Sauce:
    • After 2 hours, brush the shells with your favorite BBQ sauce. Continue smoking for an additional 30 minutes to let the sauce set and caramelize.
  4. Check for Doneness:
    • The shells are done when the bacon is crispy and the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160°F (71°C).
  5. Rest and Serve:
    • Remove the shotgun shells from the smoker and let them rest for a few minutes. Slice and serve warm with extra BBQ sauce on the side.
Traeger Shotgun Shells - shells on smoker

My Results

Ok, so let’s start with the positives. The bacony, meaty, smokey taste mixed with the softness of the pasta shells is really, really good. My son, in particular loved them and we actually had to stop him eating them so as to not make himself sick.

That aside, from a BBQ ‘pitmaster’ point of view, as we are always looking to improve, I was not overly happy with my outcomes here. The edges of the shells were brittle and hard due to the fact that the bacon did not cover them completely. And I would have loved some more stringiness to the cheese had I added enough.

But look, if you take that into account, these will be a favorite at any gathering of family or friends.


  • Be careful not to overstuff the manicotti shells to avoid splitting. Use a piping bag or a plastic bag with the tip cut off to make stuffing easier and neater.
  • Thinly sliced bacon works best as it wraps around the shells more easily and crisps up nicely. If using thick-cut bacon, consider partially cooking it before wrapping to ensure it gets crispy. And again, cover the whole length with bacon.
  • Letting the stuffed and bacon-wrapped shells rest in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight allows the pasta to soften slightly and the flavors to meld together.


So there you have it, my recipe and cooking guide for some Traeger smoked shotgun shells. I hope it has been of assistance but as usual, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out by commenting below. I would also love to hear of your own experiences, preferences or suggestions here as well.

Are there any other products you have been looking at but want to know more about? If so, please comment below and I will do my best to get some details for you.

Until next time

Have fun and get smoking!


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