These Smoked Pig Shots make an excellent appetizer when you’re outside smoking some meat for a BBQ. They are sausages, wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cream cheese and green chilis.
When you’re smoking a brisket or tri tip and the meat starts to smell amazing, but it’s nowhere near done, you will be so glad you threw on some smoked pig shots too. These little morsels are done long before the meat is, so you can pick them off and eat them right away.
We found a recipe for baked pig shots a while ago and thought why not smoke them! Obviously we tried it right away. And they were so freaking good.
What Are Pig Shots?
They are bite-sized morsels made by wrapping a slice of bacon or sausage around a piece of kielbasa or smoked sausage, forming a small cup or “shot.” The bacon or sausage cup is then filled with a mixture of cream cheese, shredded cheese, and green chilis for an extra kick.
Once assembled, the pig shots are placed on a smoker or grill and cooked until the bacon or sausage wrapping is crispy and the cheese filling is melted and bubbly.
The smoky flavor adds a unique depth to these tasty appetizers. Smoked pig shots are perfect for parties, game day gatherings, or backyard barbecues, as they are easy to prepare and can be customized with different fillings and seasonings to suit individual tastes.
Ingredients You Need
- Cream Cheese – Don’t bother with a low fat version. It’s not good. And make sure you take this out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before working with it, so it can soften.
- Green Chilies – I use canned green chilis most of the year, unless Hatch chilis are in season. I can’t resist them.
- Cheddar Cheese – Shredded or block cheese can be used. Tillamook is my favorite. If you want to add a bit more heat, try Monterrey Jack cheese.
- BBQ Dry Rub – This is my favorite homemade dry rub. I use it on everything. You can buy or make your own dry dry rub.
- Bacon – Use your favorite brand of bacon. I tend to use a thin, long strip, rather than a thick cut.
- Sausage – I use Hillshire Farms Smoked Sausage.
- Jalapeno slices – Optional
- Smoker – I use a Z Grills 700 series smoker for most of my smoking, though I also have a Traeger grill. You can use whatever smoker you have – they all work the same.
- Wood pellets – There are many types of pellets available. If you’ve already got pellets in your smoker, use whatever you have. I really like Hickory pellets for chicken.
- Meat thermometer – Many smokers have a thermometer built in, but if yours doesn’t, get an instant-read thermometer. I love this Thermapen.
How Long to Smoke Pig Shots?
You’ll smoke these pig shots on the smoker at 350° F for about 35 to 45 minutes, or until bacon has browned well. Since every type of bacon differs a bit, it will be important for you to determine the cook time based on the doneness of the bacon, rather than just solely based on time.
We find that it takes around 40 minutes usually, but sometimes thinner bacon cooks faster, or thicker bacon cooks slower.
What Pellets to Use for the Smoker?
You’ll also need pellets for your smoker, if you’ve got a pellet grill like we do. Pellets come in many different types that you can choose from. I like to use hickory wood, or cherry wood pellets for mine. They also have a bourbon wood pellet that’s very good. My friend Todd swears by the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey pellets.
How to Make Smoked Pig Shots
Preheat the smoker to 350° F. Prepare a baking sheet with tinfoil or a piece of butcher paper. I don’t like to smoke these directly on the grate because they can tilt sideway and also they can make a bit of a mess when the cream cheese decides to ooze out.
Combine the softened cream cheese, green chilis, cheddar cheese, and half the dry rub in a bowl. Stir to combine. Fill a gallon size Ziplock bag with the corner cut off or a piping bag with the cream cheese mixture.
Cut the smoked sausage into 1/2 inch pieces. If you cut them any smaller it won’t hold the bacon up well. Cut the package of thick cut bacon in half and separate the pieces.
Wrap a piece of bacon around a slice of smoked sausage to form a cup. Secure the bacon with a toothpick. As the bacon warms up it will have a harder time holding it’s shape. You can put them in the refrigerator to chill half way through the process if you need to.
Fill the inside of the cup with the cream cheese mixture, about 1 teaspoon per shot.
Sprinkle with the remaining dry rub and top with jalapeno slices if desired. Smoke for 35-45 minutes, until crispy.
Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. The filling is extremely hot.
Additional Helpful Tips
- You may need to cook these for a little longer to crisp up the bacon if you’ve used a thicker cut bacon. If the bacon isn’t cooking quickly enough, I broil it to make it extra crispy.
- When working with jalapenos, it’s a good idea to use some form of protective gloves. Getting any of the juices or oils in your eyes is painful.
- Prepare these baked pig shots ahead of time and smoke or bake them when you need them.
- Don’t overfill the shots with cream cheese. It has a tendency to ooze out the top when baking.
- If you want to use the air fryer, place the shots in the basket and air fry at 375° F for about 10 minutes. Check on them frequently so you don’t overcook them.
- You can throw these tasty bites in the oven at 350° F for 55-65 minutes.
What Smokers We Use
Did you know that Traeger created the original wood-pellet grill? The Pro Series 22 is the one most people choose because it’s compact, yet has plenty of space for cooking. You can use any type of wood pellets you like. See the Traeger Series 22 Grill on Amazon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are smoked pig shots freezable?
We don’t recommend freezing them. Cream cheese takes on a different texture after it’s been frozen that isn’t very appetizing. You can make them up ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake them.
Which dipping sauces are recommended?
Lots of dips work perfectly for these, but some favorites are BBQ Sauce, Blue Cheese Dip, Honey Mustard, or this Honey Sriracha sauce. You could even have a selection so your guests can choose, this also looks great for presentation purposes.
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Smoked Pig Shots
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 can diced green chilies
- 4 ounces cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 tablespoon BBQ dry rub
- 1 package thick cut bacon
- 1 package Hickory Farms smoked sausage sliced into 1/2″ pieces
- jalapeno slices optional
- Preheat the smoker to 350° F.
- Prepare a baking sheet with tin foil or use a sheet of butcher paper.
- Combine the cream cheese, green chilis, cheddar cheese, and dry rub in a bowl. Stir to combine.
- Cut each piece of bacon in half horizontally.
- Wrap a piece of bacon around a slice of smoked sausage to form a cup. Secure the bacon with a toothpick.
- Fill the inside of the cup with the cream cheese mixture. Place the cups in the smoker on a baking sheet or piece of butcher paper.
- Smoke for 35-45 minutes, until crispy.
- Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. The filling is extremely hot.
- Fill a gallon size Ziplock bag with the corner cut off or a piping bag with the cream cheese mixture.
- Cut the smoked sausage into 1/2 inch pieces. If you cut them any smaller it won’t hold the bacon up well.
- You can put the bacon wrapped sausage in the refrigerator to chill half way through the process if you need to. The bacon starts to get droopy as it warms up.
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Laura is a passionate home cook and grill enthusiast who has spent years perfecting her culinary skills, with a particular focus on grilling techniques and flavor combinations. Her fascination with the grill, smoke, and the mouthwatering results they produce has led her on an exciting journey to discover the best methods for grilling delicious and unforgettable meals.