Smoked Appetizers and Party Foods

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Click here for the full list of smoked appetizers.

Some of my favorites are Texas Twinkies, smoked cream cheese, smoked shotgun shells, smoked Chex mix, smoked Cheetos puffs, smoked chips and pig shots. There's a whole lot more so go check it out now!

And there's a few oldies but goodies here so scroll on down!

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Meatballs

This is similar to moinks (moo+oink) which are very common in smoking meat circles however, I was smoking meatballs and wrapping them in bacon 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
  • Jeff's original sauce
  • 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 generously onto the outside of the bacon wrapped meatballs 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 formula here | Purchase bottled sauce) 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 generously.
  • Smoke at 225°F for 2.5 to 3 hours.
  • Brush with my original sauce 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
  • 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 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 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.


  • Remove stem, cut in half lengthwise, and deseed.
  • Mix cream cheese,  cheese, Jeff's original rub, and chives to make filling.
  • Fill peppers with cream cheese mixture.
  • Wrap with half-piece of bacon and secure with toothpick.
  • Add more of Jeff's original rub to outside of bacon.
  • Smoke at 225°F for 3 hours.

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.


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


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 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.
  • 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?


  • 1 lb. of baby portabella mushrooms
  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup of chives (finely chopped)
  • Jeff's original rub


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 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 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.


  • Remove stems from mushrooms.
  • Soak caps in water for 30 minutes to clean.
  • Rinse well under cold water.
  • Mix cream cheese, Jeff's original rub, cheese, and chives to make filling.
  • Fill caps with filling.
  • Sprinkle with Jeff's original rub generously.
  • Smoke at 225°F for 1 hour or until top is golden brown.

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!


  • 1 lb. of 26-30 jumbo shrimp (raw, peeled, tail on)
  • Jeff's original rub
  • Toothpicks


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 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.

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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 pans with racks 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 formula here | Purchase bottled sauce). 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
  • Marinate for 2 hours or even overnight
  • Place a toothpick in each shrimp
  • Smoke at 200°F for 18-20 minutes or until done

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  1. Jeff, if I smoke shrimp as an appetizer, can I keep them warm in a crock pot until I drive about 2 hours to a picnic? If so, should I use any liquid? Thanks, smoked some shrimp last month with your rub and used your cocktail sauce recipe and they were excellent.

  2. You might believe that naming the various recipes “turds” is clever, but personally, I find it nauseating. It is like calling Banana pudding “up-chunk” with wafers.

    1. Bob, We did not name these. These are known throughout the entire smoking community as atomic buffalo turds and I only reference that name so lots of folks will recognize them. It’s not what I would call them either but someone named them and it apparently stuck. In my house, we just say jalapeño poppers most of the time. Call them what you like at your house ;-)

    2. not every opinion needs to be shared, he wrote the article he calls them that, no one cares what you think.

  3. Trying something a little different with the ABT’s for a TG app. Stuffing is cream cheese, cheddar cheese, venison sausage + Jeff’s rub. Stuffing the whole jalapeno and wrapping in prosciutto instead of bacon. I’ll send pics and comments when done..

  4. We call the ABTs “Wolf Turds” out here. I use spicy chorizo and cream cheese as the stuffing.

    I also make what I call “Puppy Turds”, which are the Wolf Turds, but I use the small bell peppers instead of jalapenos, for those who don’t quite want the heat.

    Another good one is a basic marinated stew meat, wrapped in bacon, and sprinkled with rub. Quick, easy, and tasty.

  5. Going to smoke a couple of your appetizers tomorrow and not sure when to add the rub for the bacon wrapped meatballs.  Do i mix it in with the meat, egg, etc, or do i sprinkle it on after i wrap w/bacon like the bacon wrapped chicken bites-Or does it even really matter?:-) i think they'll be amazing either way

    Thanks so much for doin' whacha do!

    PS-Everyone single one of your recepies i have tried freaking ROCK!!!

  6. I tried using mayo on the drunk chicken as a binder to hold the spices. It worked perfect, I thought I loved it but the skin did not crisp up. As to the liquid. I have been doing drunk chickens for twenty years and I cannot tell the taste from any liquid I have tried. beer, soda, water, juice and and it all tast the same but it may be the healthist chicken we can cook.

    You do a great job of presentation and the pictures add a lot and are very helpful.

    keep up the good work.

      1. The (2) recipes for my rub and my barbecue sauce that I sell on the website and in the newsletter are not included in the book. We have opted to keep them separate since so many people have purchased them prior to the book being published.

        Please let me know if you have further questions about the book or the recipes.