Whether you call them pig shots or pork shots, these little nuggets of bacon wrapped kielbasa stuffed with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and diced jalapeños are fantastic! Add your favorite barbecue seasoning and a drizzle of sauce for a delicious and easy appetizer that’s sure to be a crowd favorite!
Bite-sized appetizers on the grill are having a moment right now… It seems like everywhere you look on social media, you can find videos of stuffed and smoked bites of goodness like smoked shot gun shells or smoked bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers.
And while the shot gun shells aren’t worth your time in my opinion, these pig shots are a fantastic grilled appetizer to try! I mean, what’s not to love about a cheese stuffed bacon shot glass?!
These bite-sized appetizers are absolutely delicious, and they’re perfect for game-day snacks, family gatherings, and holiday parties. Heck, they’re pretty much perfect for any day ending in “y”!
This pig shot recipe is a snap to make and only takes a few ingredients, so let’s get into it!
*And if you want to see me make these smoked pig shots on my YouTube channel, you can check out this video for my epic BBQ board… I added these awesome pork shots to a huge barbecue-style charcuterie board filled with smoked ribs, chicken, sausage, and all of my favorite barbecue fixin’s!
Why You’ll LOVE this Smoked Appetizers Recipe:
- There’s Bacon. Need I say more? The crispy, salty goodness of the bacon on the outside holds in all that delicious, gooey cheese on the inside of the pig shot so that when you put it in your mouth, it’s like a flavor explosion!
- Simple Prep. Prepping these pig shots for the smoker or grill feels almost too easy! The most in-depth part of the process is squeezing the cheese mixture into the “cups,” and I think we can all agree that it’s worth the effort!
- Few Ingredients. What I really like about this pig shots recipe is that you don’t have to buy tons of specialty ingredients to make a truly fantastic dish. There’s nothing exotic about these “bacon shot glass” appetizers, but they’re sure to be crowd-pleasers whenever you whip them up.
What are Pig Shots?
If you’ve never heard of a pig shot, it’s basically sliced bacon wrapped around a piece of sausage to make it look like a shot glass.
So, essentially, you’re creating a bacon shot glass. But instead of pouring in booze, you’re filling these flavor bombs with a cheesy mixture that will knock your socks off!
Pig shots are the perfect bite-sized appetizer for any family get-together, and you’ll never have leftovers! They’re that good!
Ingredients for Pig Shots Recipe
This pork shots recipe only takes a few simple ingredients. Here’s what you need:
- Cream Cheese. I softened ½ block of cream cheese for these pig shots. You can use a block of the full-fat or reduced-fat variety, but I would steer clear of a whipped cream cheese for this recipe.
- Cheddar Cheese. Grate about 4 oz of sharp cheddar cheese or ½ a small block. I recommend using freshly grated cheese instead of pre-shredded because it melts more easily and tastes amazing!
- Diced Pickled Jalapenos. I was going to go with raw jalapeno, but I really liked the vinegary taste of the pickled jalapenos. Use as much or as little as you like.
- Barbecue Seasoning. When we featured these pig shots on our Epic BBQ Board video, I gave you guys a sneak peek at our new barbecue seasoning that hasn’t hit the shelves yet. You can use your favorite smoking rub or barbecue grill seasoning here as well.
- Hot Sauce. If you like a little extra kick, you can add a few dashes of hot sauce to the cheese mixture.
- Smoked Sausage. We used regular smoked sausage for this recipe, but you could also use a polska kielbasa or andouille.
- Thick Sliced Bacon. Buy the thick bacon!!! We discovered that thin bacon just falls in on itself. You need the extra meatiness of the thick sliced bacon for these pig shots to work.
- BBQ Sauce. I suggest going for a thinner bbq sauce here, as you’ll be drizzling it over the pork shots a few times during the cooking process. The cream cheese mixture, sausage, and bacon are so delicious, that you don’t want to overpower them with a super thick sweet sauce. We used the University of Que G.P.A. Sauce.
How to Make Pig Shots
These pig shots are so easy to make, you’ll want to add them to your menu every week during football season. Follow these simple steps:
Prepping the Cheese Mixture for the Pork Shots
To start, you’ll need to prep the cheese mixture that will be piped into the bacon shot glasses.
Add all of the ingredients for the cream cheese “filling” to a small mixing bowl. This includes half a block of softened cream cheese, freshly grated cheddar cheese, as much (or as little) diced pickled jalapeños as you like, a light dusting of your favorite barbecue seasoning, and a few dashes of hot sauce.
Here’s what it should look like before you mix it all together:
Then, just mix all of those ingredients together well, and scoop the mixture into a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Try to spoon the mix directly into the bottom corner of the bag, so that you have less waste on the side of the bag as you make your own “piping bag” out of the Ziploc.
Here’s what I mean:
Set your cheese mixture to the side while you form the shot glass part of your pig shots.
Making the Bacon Shot Glasses
Now it’s time to prep the remaining ingredients for your pork shots!
Cut the smoked sausage into .25” to .50” slices. Try to cut them straight up and down, not diagonally. Wrapping the bacon around them is much easier if they’re not slanted.
Once you’ve sliced all the sausage, move on to the bacon. Cut each piece of bacon in half. You will need one slice of sausage and one half slice of bacon for each pig shot.
Next, wrap a piece of bacon around a slice of sausage, sealing the edges by overlapping them slightly. Secure the bacon in place with a toothpick, and continue until you’ve created all of the pig shot cups. They should look something like this:
*TIP – I found it easiest to lay the piece of sausage on a cutting board and wrap the piece of bacon around it. Just make sure that the bottom edge of the bacon is even with the bottom of the sausage slice (the one side of the bacon should be touching the cutting board), so that the cheese mixture doesn’t ooze out of the bottom of the cup as it’s cooking.
Voila! You’ve created nice little bacon sausage cups that are perfect for filling and grilling!
Filling the Pig Shots with the Cheese Mixture
After all of your pig shot glasses are made, it’s time to fill them.
Twist the Ziploc bag with the cheese mixture into a cone shape to push out any excess air. This shape also makes it much easier to squeeze the mixture out when filling up your pork shots.
Use scissors to snip off a corner of the Ziploc bag. Start off somewhat small and cut the hole bigger if you need to.
Then, squeeze the cheese mixture into each pig shot cup, filling it just before it reaches the top. You don’t want to overstuff these because if you do, there’s a good chance you’ll have a gooey mess in your smoker.
Here’s what they should look like:
Finish off with a light dusting of your barbecue seasoning, and transfer all of your pork shots to a wire rack.
I prefer grilling smaller items like these pork shots on a wire rack, because it’s easier to get the rack of appetizers on and off the grill, rather than having to handle each individual piece with tongs and risking them falling apart or getting squished. And the wire rack allows the smoke to penetrate all sides of the bacon shots, versus setting them on a baking sheet to cook.
Cooking the Pig Shots
I definitely prefer smoked pig shots, because the extra smoke flavor combined with the barbecue sauce and seasoning adds another layer of deliciousness! But if you don’t have a smoker, you can still make these awesome meat-lover appetizers.
Here are instructions for cooking the pig shots on the grill or smoker, or in the oven:
Smoked Pig Shots on the Pellet Grill
Insert the wire rack of pig shots onto the bottom shelf of your Pit Boss, Traeger, or other pellet grill.
Notice how the black wire rack sits right on top of the grill grates:
I started them off at 300 degrees because I was also cooking a ton of other meats for our BBQ charcuterie board on the grill at the same time.
Cook the pork shots for 30 minutes at 300 degrees F, and then increase the temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for an additional 30 minutes. After one hour on the smoker, the bacon on the outside should be crispy and the cheese will be slightly browned on top.
Pig Shots on the Grill
If you don’t have a smoker, but you have a charcoal grill, then you can still smoke meats!
Learn how to use your charcoal kettle grill as a smoker here. In fact, I only had a Weber kettle charcoal grill for years and I smoked a TON of awesome recipes on it before getting my Pit Boss Navigator Pellet Smoker.
For a gas grill, the cooking instructions are the same – Just cook the pig shots on the grill at about 300 degrees F for about 30 minutes, then turn up the temp to 350 degrees F for the last 30 minutes. After 1 hour, the bacon should be crispy on the outside and the cheese should be melted and slightly browned on top.
*If you want to add some smoke flavor to your grill, you can also use a smoke tube filled with wood chips or pellets.
Oven-baked Pig Shots
Although I will always vote for making these mouthwatering pork shots on the grill or smoker, you can also bake them in the oven. You will probably need to adjust the temperature and cooking time – I suggest putting them in for 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. Once the bacon is nice and crispy, they’re done!
Finishing Up these Awesome Pork Shots
Remove the pork shots from the grill, smoker, or oven and let sit for 10 minutes. This is more of an exercise in willpower than anything else, but you want the cheese mixture to cool down a bit before serving.
Then, lightly drizzle bbq sauce over them. Don’t overdo it here – the bbq sauce is supposed to act as a garnish.
Assemble on a plate or BBQ charcuterie board if you’re adding other meats and appetizers. Finish off with another drizzle of BBQ sauce.
*Note: The bbq sauce I chose was a little sweeter than I normally would like, but it complemented the sausage, jalapeños, and peppery seasoning very nicely.
FAQ’s about Making Pork Shots
Can I use regular bacon for pork shots?
NO! You should definitely use thick cut bacon for your pig shots. A regular sliced bacon will just fold over on itself when you try to stand it up as the shot glass “walls”.
What type of wood should I use for smoked pig shots?
I use hickory for most of my smoking recipes, including these smoked pig shots. But pretty much any wood should work. Apple and pecan wood would probably pair nicely with the cheddar and cream cheese mixture as well.
What’s a good substitute for your barbecue seasoning (until I can order it!)?
Believe me, I can’t wait for you to try my 3rd seasoning! It’s going to be epic! Until then, you can use any barbecue seasoning, like Heath Riles BBQ Sweet BBQ Rub Seasoning.
What’s the difference between smoked sausage, polska kielbasa, and andouille? Can I use all of them in this pig shots recipe?
You can use any of these types of sausages for the pig shots recipe. It all depends on the flavor you’re shooting for and the level of spiciness you prefer. Smoked sausage has a milder smoky flavor and smoother texture than the other options.
Polska Kielbasa has a firmer texture and bolder flavor than smoked sausage without being spicy. If you want to add an extra kick to your pig shots, andouille sausage is your best option. It has a coarse texture and is also strongly spiced with garlic and pepper.
Pig Shots Recipe
Smoked Pig Shots on the Pellet Grill
- 14 oz kielbasa sausage
- 10-12 strips thick cut bacon
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese freshly grated
- 2 tablespoons diced pickled jalapenos
- few dashes hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon barbecue seasoning
- barbecue sauce *For drizzling on top of the pig shots
- Preheat the smoker or grill to 300 degrees F.
- Make the cream cheese filling. Combine softened cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, diced jalapeños, barbecue seasoning, and a few dashes of hot sauce in a medium bowl. Mix together well and set aside.
- Cut the sausage into slices that are about ¼ – ½” thick. Be sure to cut the sausage straight down, not diagonally, because it’s easier to wrap the bacon around if the sausage slices are not slanted. Cut each piece of bacon in half crosswise.
- Wrap one piece of bacon around one piece of sausage, with one edge of the bacon lining up with the bottom of the sausage slice, to form a “shot glass”. Overlap the ends of the bacon slightly. Insert a toothpick through the sausage slice and the two ends of bacon to secure the shot glass shape.
- Scoop the cream cheese mixture into a gallon-sized zip top bag or piping bag. Twist the Ziploc bag into a cone shape so that the cheese mixture is in one corner of the bag. Use scissors to snip off a corner of the Ziploc bag. *Start off somewhat small and cut the hole bigger if you need to.
- Pipe the cheese mixture into the sausage cups, filling them to just below the top of the bacon.
- Cook the pig shots on the smoker or grill for 30 minutes at 300 degrees F. Then, turn the temperature up to 350 degrees F and cook for an additional 30-45 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy and the top of the cheese is slightly browned.
- Remove the pig shots from the smoker or grill and drizzle with a thin barbecue sauce. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- To make pig shots in the oven, bake at 350 degrees F for 45-60 minutes, or until bacon is crispy and top of the cheese is lightly browned.
- Do NOT try this recipe with regular bacon. You will need thick slice bacon for the sausage cups to retain their shapes.
- I prefer using a thinner barbecue sauce to drizzle on the finished pig shots for extra garnish and flavor.