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What are Pig Shots and How To Cook Them

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Smoked Pig Shots by Matt Pittman

Just when you thought bacon couldn’t get any better, someone created pig shots. These savory, creamy bites make for a unique and delicious appetizer or game day snack.

Though the origin of pig shots, which do look a little like shot glasses, is not known, we were introduced to them by Matt Pittman of Meat Church. Matt taught us that not only is this finger food tasty, but it's also extremely easy to make and requires just a few ingredients. Just be sure to make a lot of them because people love them.

What Are Pig Shots?

Pig shots, or pork shots, are bite-sized appetizers made from thick-cut bacon wrapped around a smoked sausage slice, forming an edible cup that gets filled with a savory cream cheese mixture.

Popular at parties, these treats can be customized in many ways, including different filling ingredients and seasonings. Green chile peppers, onions, cheese, and even fruit for a tangy contrast are all popular options to experiment with. Pig shots are most often grilled, and when cooked on a Traeger pellet grill get the benefit of wood-fired flavor.

Smoked Pig Shots Recipe

As noted, these irresistible cheesy bacon bites are easy to make, and Matt's recipe for Smoked Pig Shots is a great place to start. We also have a Treagerized version of chile and cheese pig shots featuring our Perfect Pork Rub.Tested and approved by BBQers, you won't want to miss out on trying out these mouthwatering morsels of savory pork and crispy bacon. Below are the basics.

  • Dive head first into this recipe by grabbing the necessary ingredients: Smoked sausage, thick-cut bacon, cream cheese, green chile peppers, shredded cheddar cheese, a sweet and savory rub, and, of course, Traeger Hickory BBQ Wood Pellets.

  • Prepare your seasoned cream cheese mixture and slice up your sausage and bacon.

  • Now here's where the "shot" part comes in. Wrap a bacon strip around a piece of the sliced sausage, keeping the edge of the bacon against the edge of the sausage coin to form a cup. Take a toothpick and pierce it through the bacon and sausage to hold the pig shot together, and then fill each bowl with your spicy cream cheese blend.

  • Prop tip: You can assemble the pig shots a day ahead of grilling them. Just cover and refrigerate them. When ready to dig in, cook the pig shots on a rack on your preheated Traeger until the bacon is crisp.

    Recommended Pellets

    Because you can make pig shots with so many different flavor profiles, no one wood pellet is required. However, hickory offers an even balance of flavors and brings out the best of pork products.

    What Kind of Sausage to Use for Pig Shots

    Each pig shot has a slice of smoked sausage as the base of the cup, which is an integral part of the dish. You can use almost any kind of cooked sausage, but those made with beef or pork will have the best flavor.

    What Kind of Bacon to Use for Pig Shots

    Since you’ll need a sturdy outside wall of the pig shot to keep all the filling inside, using thick-cut bacon is essential. As opposed to thin-cut bacon, the thicker bacon will stay together during cooking and hold the filling tidily in place.

Now that you've mastered the basics, consider making the recipe your own with flavorful variations.

Pig Shots Recipe Variations

Like so many pork recipes, pig shots offer an array of possibilities to add your twist with unique ingredients that traditionally go well with pork. Ideas include:

  • Hawaiian pig shots made with chopped canned ham and topped with pineapple cubes

  • Pig shots with sun-dried tomatoes, basil, or a balsamic drizzle

  • “Loaded” pig shots with extra bacon bits mixed into the filling

You can even replace half of the cream cheese in your recipe with any other tender meat product, including pulled pork, beef brisket, or corned beef. If you like seafood, consider mixing in chopped shrimp or crab meat.

You can also use leftover smoked meats, veggies, and cheeses in new ways to keep your pork shots exciting and fun.

For delectable finishing touch, consider topping the shots with sauces, including sweet jams and jellies, hot sauces, or BBQ glaze.

What To Serve Pig Shots With


Think of pig shots like any other decadent appetizer. Serve them as you would bacon jalapeno poppers (like those shown above) on their own as a starter or along with other appetizers, such as olives, shrimp, grilled hummus, or even a nice crudité.

How To Store Pig Shots

It's rare to have any pig shots left over, but if you do, you can toss them into a food-safe storage container and keep them in the fridge for a day or two. You can reheat them in a microwave, but they will have better flavor and texture if gently reheated in an oven, or better yet, on your Traeger.

Can pig shots be prepared in advance?

You can definitely assemble the pig shots ahead of grilling them. Just cover and refrigerate them, but for no more than one day.

You can also make the cream cheese mixture a day or so ahead of assembling. Again, just cover it and refrigerate it until you are ready to use it.

Can pig shots be frozen?

You can freeze assembled-but-not-cooked pig shots for up to three months. As you assemble them, set them on a wax paper or parchment lined baking sheet and place the entire sheet in the freezer. Freeze until rock solid, at least 30 minutes. Once firm and frozen, transfer the pig shots to a freezer bag or wrap them individually with foil.

For best results, allow the pig shots to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before cooking. Then simply cook as directed!

Note: Cream cheese typically doesn’t freeze well, and doing so can change the texture. Since these will be grilled or smoked after thawing, any textural changes won't be noticed.

Other Bacon Recipes

While pig shots may be one of the most innovative (and delicious) ways to use bacon, they are far from the only Traeger recipe featuring bacon. Here are some other wood-fired dishes that use this popular pork product.

For the adventurous, you can even make your own Applewood Smoked Bacon. It does require an eight-day curing process, but this custom-made bacon is outstanding.

These BBQ Brown Sugar Bacon Bites may be your best pick if you’re in the mood for something sweet and sassy. They feature pork belly or slab bacon seasoned with brown sugar, fennel, and plenty of salt and pepper. Caramelized and crisp, they make a fantastic party starter.


If you struggle to eat your veggies, consider this incredible cheat. Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus features thin-sliced bacon, which crisps beautifully.

You have to time Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp just right to get the bacon crispy and the shrimp “just done.” But your effort results in an elevated seafood experience.

For a bacon-inspired main course, iImpress your guests with quick and easy Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breast.

Of course, bacon is great for breakfast, too, as these Maple Bacon Pull-Aparts prove. Refrigerator biscuits make it quick and easy to assemble.

Pig Shots

by Matt Pittman

Prep Time

10 Min

Cook Time

45 Min





Take a shot of damn good BBQ from Matt Pittman AKA Meat CHurch. These delicious pig shots, made of green chile, cream cheese, and bacon-wrapped sausage, will give your taste buds one smokin' buzz.

1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese, room temperature
2 Largegreen chile peppers, diced
1 Cupshredded cheddar cheese
1 Tablespoonchile powder
2 TablespoonMeat Church Honey Hog BBQ Rub, plus more as needed
1 Wholepackage of smoked sausage
1 Wholepackage thick-cut bacon
  • 1

    When ready to cook, set the Traeger temperature to 350°F and preheat with the lid closed for 15 minutes.

  • 2

    In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, green chiles, shredded cheddar, chile powder, and Honey Hog BBQ Rub until well combined.

  • 3

    Slice the sausage into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Cut the bacon strips in half crosswise. Wrap a half-slice of bacon around each piece of sausage, securing with a toothpick, to create mini bowls.

  • 4

    Fill the bowls with the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle more Honey Hog BBQ Rub on top.

  • 5

    Arrange the pig shots, cream cheese side up, directly on the grill grates. Close the lid and cook until the bacon is crispy and golden brown, about 45-60 minutes.

  • 6

    Remove the pig shots from the grill and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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