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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wood-fired bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers are seasoned with Pork & Poultry Rub and baked over smoky mesquite for an epic game day appetizer.
The Traeger Bacon 101 class is officially in session. Cure and slow smoke your way to homemade bacon goodness that will have you ditching the store-bought stuff for good. Plan ahead, the bacon takes 8 days to fully cure. Flip every 2 days for even curing.
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