Grilled Venison Barbecue Shotgun Shells

This popular social media recipe is even better when made with ground venison

By author of Timber 2 Table Wild Game Recipes Print Recipe
prep time
cook time

I love developing and experimenting with my own new recipes. But I’m also not one to turn down a tasty looking recipe that is trending on social media. If you follow any cooking pages or groups, you’ve probably seen this one yourself. Uncooked manicotti shells get stuffed with cooked ground meat, wrapped in bacon, and grilled. 

Serve this popular social media recipe as an appetizer or a main course.

I’ve seen several versions. For this one, we blended ground venison with breakfast sausage and sharp cheddar cheese. Then we added some Myron Mixon BBQ sauce and a bit of BBQ rub. Next we filled the pasta tubes with the meat mixture and wrapped them with bacon. 

For a better finished texture on the pasta, I’ve found it best to fill the tubes, go ahead and add the bacon, then refrigerate for 4-8 hours to let the pasta absorb some of the moisture. Then they go onto the Traeger Grill and get brushed with a bit more BBQ sauce for a glaze. We served them as appetizers and they were a huge hit. These would be perfect for tailgating, since you can do all the prep work at home before tossing them on the grill to cook the bacon and heat the filling.


1 pound ground venison

1 pound sliced bacon, the thinner the better (you might need more, depending on number of slices in package)

1 pound ground breakfast sausage

Two 8-ounce boxes of manicotti pasta, uncooked (you will need 16-20 shells)

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

¼ cup Myron Mixon Hickory BBQ Sauce, plus more for grilling

1 tablespoon Myron Mixon Original BBQ Rub

Cooking Instructions

Start by browning the venison and sausage in a large skillet. Once the meat has browned, drain any accumulated fat from the sausage. Add the BBQ rub and stir to combine.

Season the browned venison with BBQ rub and sauce.

Sprinkle over the cheese and blend in. Add the BBQ sauce. Stir well and remove from heat to allow to cool. 

Add the cheese.

Use a spoon to completely fill the uncooked shells with the meat mixture. Take care not to break the shells. 

Stuff the uncooked shells with the meat mixture.

Wrap each filled shell with a slice of thin bacon. Refrigerate the filled and wrapped shells for 4-8 hours before grilling. 

Wrap the shells in bacon and refrigerate before grilling.

Set your Traeger Grill at 350 degrees. Add the filled manicotti. Grill for 15-20 minutes or until the bacon is cooked through, turning often and brushing with BBQ sauce after each turn. 

Brush the shells with your favorite barbecue sauce as they grill.

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