Smoked Pig Shots

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 (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) and grated cheese.

Pop a few of these in your mouth and you'll be wishing you had made a whole lot more!

You're welcome!

Helpful Information
  • 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
What You’ll Need
Step 1: Chop the Jalapeño and Grate the cheese

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.

Step 2: Slice the Sausage, Cut the Bacon in Half

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.

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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.

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Step 3: Wrap Bacon Around Sausage + Toothpick

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.

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Step 4: Mix up the Cream Cheese Mixture and fill the “Cups”

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.

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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 (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub), ½ cup of grated cheese and approximately 2 tablespoons of chopped jalapeños and mix everything up really well.

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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.

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You do not need to fill the cups all the way to the top as the bacon will shrink as it cooks.

Step 5: Season with Jeff's Original Rub

We added a nice bit of Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled 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.

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Step 6: Set Up 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.

I used the Camp Chef Woodwind pellet smoker with a pellet blend that contained hickory, cherry and maple. Almost any smoking wood will work great for these.

Step 7: Smoke Cook the Pig Shots

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 (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled sauce) thinned with a couple tablespoons of apple juice and it was an excellent choice.

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Step 8: Finish and Serve

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.

Step 9: Options

Mix a little crushed pineapple into the cream cheese mixture or even some pulled pork to change it up.

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You can also order the formulas for my rubs and sauce and make these yourself at home. Grab those HERE and download immediately.

Jeff’s Smoking Meat Books

smoking-meat-book-coverSmoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue – The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

With more than 1000 reviews on and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended and is a Bestseller in Barbecuing & Grilling books on Amazon.

AmazonBarnes & Noble | German Edition

smoke-wood-fire-book-coverSmoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.

It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.

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Printable Recipe

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5 from 3 votes

Smoked Pig Shots

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 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.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins


  • Smoked sausage links (Cut into ½ inch thick rounds. Polish kielbasa also works great.)
  • Bacon (thick cut and 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 (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.
  • Serve immediately.


  1. George Brennan November 3, 2021 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    fix your recipe hours please, adjust correctly the printout shows 22hrs 36 minutes

  2. Kelly July 11, 2021 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    By far THE best appetizer for smokers. Big crowd pleaser. Super delicious.

  3. Rick Z January 1, 2020 at 10:29 am - Reply

    5 stars
    Thanks, Jeff. I made them for my New Year's party last year after getting the recipe in your email blast. I made them again last night for my New Year's party. They are great, everyone loved them, and it sure brings up the question of “pig shot”? It definitely made a difference wrapping them with cold bacon that still has a body to it vs when it gets soft at room temperature.

  4. Marie Truax September 14, 2018 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Can these be done in the oven? Looks great…………..

    • Jeff Phillips September 14, 2018 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      Absolutely.. they will be absent of smoke flavor but still very good. You can cook them a little hotter in the oven and get the bacon more crispy since the smoke flavor is not a concern. About 275-300°F until the bacon looks/feels done or about 1 to 1.5 hours.

  5. Bruce Claassen July 16, 2018 at 9:10 am - Reply

    I've made these twice, and they've been a big hit. I do have trouble with the bottoms getting pretty black. I've been putting them on a bradley rack to easily move them from the fridge to the smoker when they needed to go in. Does the weber pan make that much of a difference, or is there something else that can be done to prevent this from happening?

    • Jeff Phillips July 16, 2018 at 6:38 pm - Reply

      Bruce, I'm not sure what type of smoker you are using but it sounds like you are getting some radiant heat hitting the bottom of the smoker grate. Some smokers use a water pan to block that sort of heat from hitting the food dead on. If you have a way to sit a pan of water directly below the food you are cooking it may help. The weber pan really won't prevent that as it has slots in the bottom that will still allow that direct heat to hit the food dead on.

      • Bruce Claassen July 20, 2018 at 1:11 pm - Reply

        Thanks for your reply, Jeff. Both times I smoked these I used my Masterbuilt cabinet propane smoker. It has a water pan, which I filled with sand and foiled years ago. I think part of my problem might have been flare-ups that happened from the bacon grease dripping to the bottom of the smoker and igniting. In hindsight, I probably should have put something below the rack to catch the bacon grease. I thought about it at one point, but didn't want to hinder the smoke getting to them. I also have a GMG Daniel Boone smoker that I may try to use for them next time to see if that works better.

  6. Rick Titus February 18, 2018 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Made this for Superbowl. Made two full beef kilbasi and they were awesome. Thanks!

  7. Eric February 4, 2018 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Made the pig shots for a Super Bowl party and they turned out awesome and everybody couldn’t get enough. Easy to make and very good directions. Can’t wait to try some other recipes out.

  8. Jim January 24, 2018 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    Any suggestions other than kielbasa for the sausage?

    • Jeff Phillips January 24, 2018 at 11:17 pm - Reply

      Any type of smoked link sausage will work.

  9. Ben Ball January 23, 2018 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    Tried the Pig Shots last night and they were a big hit with the missus and me. I used smoked turkey sausages (the missus loves them and they take almost any flavor really well) and an extra thick (10 slices per package) bacon. Worked like a charm! Had to let them go about 105 minutes in the Traeger at 275 to get that extra thick bacon done — but the result was much more crispy than I had hoped for. This WILL be on the Super Bowl menu for sure.

  10. CDub January 23, 2018 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    these pig shots sound amazing. Do you think they will be ok if after cooking them put them in a crock pot on LOW so I can transport them to a Super Bowl party? Thanks

    • Jeff Phillips January 24, 2018 at 3:02 pm - Reply

      I have not tried keeping them warm in a crock pot but I have a feeling it would work just fine.

    • Rick Titus February 18, 2018 at 3:19 pm - Reply

      I smoked mine earlier in the morning and reheated in oven on low temp & worked out well.

  11. Jim Stilwell January 23, 2018 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Made these “Pig Shots” this past weekend. They were a HIT.


  12. kent mosby January 18, 2018 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    When the temps drop I have found that a large welding blanket over the smoker keeps the pellet smoker more consistent in temp. I bought the $49 large one from Harbor Freight and it drapes all the way to the ground while still allowing air to circulate.

    • Jeff Phillips January 19, 2018 at 11:09 am - Reply

      That's a great tip, Kent!

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