If you're looking for a smoked appetizer that has super bowl party written all over it.. you've found it! A slice of sausage, wrapped in thick bacon and held secure with a toothpick to form a cup. The cups are filled with almost anything but my favorite is a cream cheese mixture containing chopped jalapeño, Jeff's original rub and grated cheese.
Pop a few of these in your mouth and you'll be wishing you had made a whole lot more!
- Hands-on Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Smoker Temp: 250-275°F
- Meat Finish Temp: N/A
- Recommended Wood: Cherry and/or pecan
- Smoked sausage links, cut into ½ inch thick rounds (Polish kielbasa also works great)
- Bacon, (thick), cut in half
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup grated cheese (4 cheese Mexican blend works great)
- 2 tablespoons jalapeños, chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons Jeff's original rub recipe, divided
- Jeff's original barbecue sauce recipe
If you use fresh jalapeños, you'll want to cut off the stem and chop these up. I use the seeds and and veins for more heat but if you want it to be more mild, you can remove the veins and seeds and just chop what's left.
A couple of small jalapeños or a larger one should do the trick.
You can also purchase chopped jalapeños at the grocery store. I recommend the non-pickled variety that usually comes in a small 4 ounce can.
Cheese can be purchased already grated or you can grate your own. I usually purchase cheese already grated to make it easy on myself. Almost any type of cheese will work but I like to use the 4-cheese Mexican blend in this recipe.
You will need about 1 cup of grated cheese per batch.
I don't measure but I try to keep the sausage between 3/8 and ½ inch thick. I was able to get 18-20 pieces from each sausage link.
For most appetizers, I use bacon that is thin so it will crisp up better in the lower heat but these need something a little more robust so they'll hold their shape better. For this, you need thick bacon or about 12-13 slices per lb.
Open the bacon, find the halfway point and slice all of it in half.
Lay a sausage slice on your cutting board and wrap a half slice of bacon around the perimeter forming a cup.. the sausage is the bottom of the cup.
Push a toothpick through the end of the bacon, the sausage and through the bacon on the other side to hold everything in place.
Hopefully you left the cream cheese laying on the counter about an hour or two ago so it can get nice and soft. This makes it a lot easier to work with.
Place the cream cheese into a small or medium sized bowl and press it out with a fork.
Add 1 tablespoon of Jeff's original rub, ½ cup of grated cheese and approximately 2 tablespoons of chopped jalapeños and mix everything up really well.
At this point, I made “balls” of the cream cheese mixture that were about the width of the sausage slices. You could also place the mixture into a zip top bag with a corner cut off and squeeze the mixture into the cups if you feel that would work better for you.
You do not need to fill the cups all the way to the top as the bacon will shrink as it cooks.
We added a nice bit of Jeff's original rub into the cream cheese to give it lots of flavor but it's also a great idea to give the stuffed appetizers a good sprinkling of my original rub just before the pig shots go into the smoker.
Set up your smoker for indirect cooking at about 250-275°F if possible. The thicker bacon will appreciate the higher heat and they'll get done in about 90 minutes this way. If your smoker will not cook that hot, then just set it up to cook as close to that temperature as you can.
If your smoker uses a water pan to create an indirect cooking method then fill it up. Otherwise, extra humidity is not really essential in this recipe.
Once your smoker is ready, place the pig shots on the smoker grate preferably using a Weber grill pan or similar to make it easy to move them to and from the smoker. Because the Weber grill pans have slots in the bottom which allow the grease to drain off and smoke to get through, you can leave the appetizers on the pan while they cook. Super handy!
You can expect these to take about 90 minutes if you are able to maintain 250-275°F but you will need to be the judge when the bacon reaches that sweet spot.
It was 17°F outside when I was cooking these and luckily I was wrapped up good but if you need to give these 30 minutes of smoke and finish them in the oven, there is no shame in that.
If you do use the oven for these, be sure to place a pan under the pig shots to catch the bacon grease. This keeps the oven clean and prevents grease fires.
When they are finished cooking and ready to take out of the smoker, feel free to give them a good glaze of barbecue sauce and leave them another 10 minutes in the heat to let it set.
I used about 1/2 cup of my original barbecue sauce thinned with a couple tablespoons of apple juice and it was an excellent choice.
Bring the pig shots into the house and serve them up right away. They'll disappear quickly and you'll probably wish you'd made an extra batch.
Mix a little crushed pineapple into the cream cheese mixture or even some pulled pork to change it up.
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I recently purchased both recipes. The files did not come thru right but Jeff was prompt to get it fixed. I tried them both last weekend and they were a huge hit. I followed his burnt ends recipe to the letter and my neighbors thought I was some master chef! Thanks Jeff! -Susan T.
Thank you for the great advice. Followed your rib recipe and everyone loved them. Used your rub and sauce. On point! -Charles W.
Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well! -Peter S.
Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future! -Michelle M.
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- Smoked sausage links cut into ½ inch thick rounds (Polish kielbasa also works great)
- Bacon (thick cut), cut in half
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened on counter
- ½ cup grate cheese 4 cheese Mexican blend works great
- 2 tablespoons jalapeños chopped
- 2 TBS Jeff's original rub purchase recipe here, divided
- Jeff's original barbecue sauce
Make the cream cheese mixture by combining the softened cream cheese, ½ cup grated cheese, 1 tablespoon of Jeff's original rub and and 2 tablespoons of chopped jalapeños into a small to medium sized mixing bowl. Mix well.
Wrap the half pieces of bacon around the sausage slices and secure with a toothpick.
Fill the "cups" with the cream cheese but not all the way to the top. The bacon will shrink as it cooks.
Setup your smoker for indirect cooking at about 250-275°F or as close to this temperature as you can.
Place the pig shots on the smoker grate and smoke cook for approximately 90 minutes or until the bacon is cooked through and has good "bite-through" or texture.
When the appetizers are finished cooking, you can glaze with barbecue sauce if you like. I used my original barbecue sauce thinned with a little apple juice. Let the pig shots continue in the heat for about 10 minutes after cooking to allow the sauce to set.