If you're anything like me, you get invited to a few parties around this time of year and it's always expected that you will show up with something of the “smoked” variety. I love doing party hors d'oeuvres (or-derves) on the smoker and, in this newsletter, I'm going to feature a few excellent smoked appetizers that will work well at any special event,party or get together.

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Meatballs

(Pictured above)

This is similar to moinks (moo+oink) which are very common in smoking meat circles however, I was smoking meatballs long before I ever heard of “moinks” and I do them just a little different than some. Feel free to get creative with these and see what you come up with. It's simply a meatball formed around a cheese cube, wrapped in bacon and smoked with a toothpick in it. I make my own meatballs with beef and sausage and I add egg and milk to the mixture. You could also add bread crumbs if you were so inclined and even some other ingredients like chives, chopped peppers, etc. to ramp up the flavor a little bit.

Here's my version:


  • 1 lb. 80/20 ground beef (85/15 isn't bad either)
  • 1 lb. HOT breakfast sausage (ground)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (or buttermilk if you like it richer)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup of cheese cubes or 1 per meatball
  • 1 lb. of thin sliced bacon (cut in half)
  • Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here)
  • Jeff's original sauce (purchase recipes here)
  • Toothpicks


Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until well blended.

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Form a golf ball sized meatball then flatten into a patty. Lay a cube of cheese in the center and reform the meat around the cheese into a ball again.

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Lay the meatball onto a half strip of bacon and roll the meatball with the bacon strip around it. Push a toothpick through the end of the bacon and into the center of the meatball to hold everything in place.

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Sprinkle my original rub (purchase recipes here) generously onto the outside of the bacon wrapped meatball and you're ready for the smoker.

Place meatballs directly on smoker grate for 2.5 – 3 hours or until center of meatballs have reached 160°F. I used hickory wood on these and let the smoke continue throughout the entire 3 hours.

Brush with my original barbecue sauce (purchase recipes here) about 30 minutes before they are finished for an added layer of flavor that will make you smile. This also makes them look amazing and adds a nice sheen.

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Note: If you want the bacon to be a lot crispier, you can remove them about 30 minutes early and put them under the broiler in your kitchen oven for 3-5 minutes but watch them carefully so they don't burn.


  • Mix ingredients to make meat mixture.
  • Form into golfball sized meatballs.
  • Press flat, add cheese cube, reform into ball.
  • Wrap in bacon and secure with toothpick.
  • Apply Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) generously.
  • Smoke at 225°F for 2.5 to 3 hours.
  • Brush with my original sauce (purchase recipes here) during last 30 minutes.

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Peppers

Commonly called ABT's (Atomic Buffalo Turds)

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I don't know of a more excellent finger food than these smoked delicacies. Jalapeno peppers, stuffed with a delicious cream cheese filling and wrapped in bacon. You can get creative with the filling and mix in everything from pulled pork to shrimp pieces and everything in between and it's all good.. make plenty 'cause folks are gonna love 'em!


  • 16-20 Jalapeno peppers (Makes 32-40 pieces)
  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (sharp cheddar is my favorite)
  • Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here)
  • 1/4 cup of chives (finely chopped)
  • 1 lb. of thin sliced bacon (cut in half)
  • Toothpicks


Clean peppers then cut off stems and cut in half lengthwise. Clean and deseed the peppers.

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Mix cream cheese, shredded cheese, 3 TBS Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) and chives together until well blended then fill the hollowed out area of the pepper halves with the cream cheese mixture. Wrap a half piece of bacon around the pepper lengthwise, end to end, and secure it with a toothpick. Sprinkle a little more of Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) onto the outside of the bacon for extra flavor.

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Smoke the peppers in boat-like fashion for 3 hours directly on the grate if possible for maximum smoke exposure. Remove and devour immediately or place them in a covered foil pan for taking them to a party. I recommend getting these done right before the party and then taking them straight there.. these are best right out of the smoker.

These can have a little bite to them so be sure to warn folks that don't like spicy foods to proceed with caution.


Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites

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Super easy, super tasty and great for parties and events.. cut up some chicken breast or thigh meat into 1″ x 1″ cubes, wrap in bacon and smoke, it's that simple. Add my rub generously to the top just before placing them in the smoker for a perfect seasoning.


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 lb. of thin sliced bacon
Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here)


Cut breast or thigh meat into cubes that are about 1″ x 1″ but they don't have to be perfect.

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Lay a piece of the chicken on a half strip of bacon and roll the chicken and the bacon strip together. Secure the bacon with a toothpick.

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Sprinkle Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) onto the outside of the chicken bites to season them.

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Lay the chicken bites directly on the smoker grate and smoke them for 2.5 – 3 hours at 225°F or until the chicken reaches 160°F in the center.


  • Cut chicken into 1″ x 1″ cubes.
  • Wrap chicken with half piece of bacon.
  • Secure with toothpick.
  • Sprinkle with Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here).
  • Smoke at 225°F for 3 hours or to 160°F

Stuffed Baby Bellas

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On a whim, I grabbed some baby portabellas a while back and used some extra cream cheese filling in them and then smoked them.. they were wonderful. Sometimes experimentation pans out and other times not so much. I highly recommend that you try these soon and I think you will agree that they belong at a party with people you like.. they are very good and did I mention that they are super easy to make?



Remove stems from mushrooms (I just grab them close to the gills and give it a little twist). Place the caps in water and let them soak for about 30 minutes to remove any grit, dirt, etc. then rinse several times to make sure they are clean.

Place the mushroom caps upside down (think upside down bowl) on a paper towel to drain while you are getting the other ingredients ready.

Mix cream cheese, shredded cheese, 3 TBS Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) and chives together until well blended. Spoon the mixture into the caps letting it mound up just a little. Sprinkle a little more of Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) onto the top of the filling and they are ready for smoking.

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Lay the mushrooms directly on the smoker grate for best results. Smoke for about 1 hour at 225°F or until the top of the filling is a nice golden brown and the edges of the cap are starting to darken.


Smoked Shrimp

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I wrote about these earlier this year and they went over extremely well. In fact, I'm still getting emails about it from folks who have tried it and were blown away. It just so happens that these also make a great party food and in my experience, you won't be having any left over to take home so if you want some for later, make a few extra and leave them at home;-) Extremely simple, marinate in my rub and smoke them for less than 20 minutes. Voila!



If the shrimp are frozen when you get them just place them in a colander and run cold water over them for a few minutes to thaw them out. If they are not peeled already, peel them but leave the tail on.

Place the shrimp in a ziploc bag and pour about 2-3 tablespoons of Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) over them. Close the bag and then massage the bag lightly to evenly coat the shrimp with the rub. Place the shrimp in the fridge for as little as 2 hours to let the flavor soak in or you can leave them overnight with great results as well. Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here) is not heavy on salt so you will get a ton of great flavor without them being overly salty.

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Place a toothpick into the top of the shrimp to make them easier to maneuver around and lay them directly on the grate or in a very shallow pan. I use the Bradley racks or Weber grill pans to make this really easy.

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Smoke at 200°F for about 18-20 minutes or until the tails turn from brownish/grey to a pinkish color. Some shrimp do not have this color changing ability and you may just have to go by texture. You can smoke them hotter but they will get done in much less time. I recommend staying right by the smoker and keeping a very close eye on them to make sure they do not overcook.

These are excellent served hot or cold.

Do you like shrimp sauce?

For an amazing shrimp sauce, mix 2 tablespoons of horseradish to 1 cup of Jeff's original barbecue sauce (purchase recipes here). Use less or more horseradish depending on how “stout” you like it. This stuff is REALLY good!


  • Thaw shrimp under running water
  • Peel if required but leave tail on
  • Place shrimp in ziploc bag with Jeff's original rub (purchase recipes here)
  • Marinate for 2 hours or even overnight
  • Place a toothpick in each shrimp
  • Smoke at 200°F for 18-20 minutes or until done

Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats-- you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.
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