These Buffalo Chicken Stuffed pasta shells are the perfect appetizer you need to try!

AKA “Shotgun shells”, they are manicotti that’s stuffed with cheese and some sort of meat (depending on the flavor you’re going after), then wrapped in bacon and smoked until fully cooked. I have made a couple of delicious versions that use smoked meat, then basted with BBQ sauce. This Buffalo Chicken version is hands down my favorite one to date.

Ingredients you will need

Protein: Boneless skinless chicken thighs, Bacon (regular cut not thick cut)

Shell: Uncooked manicotti

Stuffing mixture: Cream cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese

Seasonings: Sweet Preacher and Rodeo Ranch

Sauce: Buffalo sauce, ranch dressing

How to make Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Pasta

Begin by seasoning the chicken thighs with Rodeo Ranch from Fire & Smoke Society then grill them up over direct heat until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

Seasoned chicken | grilling

Chop the chicken into small bite sized pieces. You will want to make sure that they pieces of chicken can fit through the whole in your piping bag, so it’s best to cut them smaller than you think.

Cut up chicken | grilled

Combine the chicken, softened cream cheese, shredded mozzarella, chives and buffalo sauce into a bowl. Mix thoroughly so that all of the flavor is even spread throughout the mixture then place it in a pipping bag and cut the tip of the bag off.

Chicken cream cheese mixture

Place the piping back at one end of the par boiled manicotti and stuff the center until it’s packed full with the mixture.

manicotti noodle

Wrap each stuffed manicotti with 1 piece of bacon then season the outside of the bacon with Sweet Preacher from Fire & Smoke Society.

seasoning | BBQ rub

Place the shotgun shells on a wire rack then place them on the smoker. Smoke them with Cherry wood chunks at 250°F for 90 minutes until the bacon begins to get crispy and the noodle starts to soften.

Smoked bacon | BBQ

Brush buffalo sauce on each shotgun shell the last 15 minutes to allow the sauce to tack up. Brush the sauce on twice if you want to add additional spice.

Once the sauce had tacked up and the noodles have softened, remove them from the smoker. Serve them on a plate, drizzle on homemade ranch dressing and garnish with chives.

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Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Pasta

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AKA “Shotgun Shells” – these super viral appetizers are highly addictive. They are stuffed manicotti with meat and cheese, wrapped in bacon then smoked. Be sure to try these Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Pasta right away!

  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


  • 2 tbsp Sweet Preacher Rub
  • 2 tbsp Rodeo Ranch
  • 1 lb regular sliced bacon 
  • 12 manicotti 
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs 
  • 8 oz Buffalo sauce 
  • 2 tbsp chives


  1. Season 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs then grill them at 375 F until an internal temp of 165F. You can also use a rotisserie chicken if you are short on time
  2. In a bowl, combine and mix: 1 block softened cream cheese, 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 2 lbs chopped chicken, 1 tbsp chives and 2 tbsp of buffalo sauce.
  3. Place mixture in a piping bag and stuff the inside of each manicotti noodle.
  4. Tightly wrap the stuffed manicotti with a slice of bacon then season the bacon with Sweet Preacher rub.
  5. Put the stuffed and wrapped shells in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours – preferably 6 hours. The longer you are able to wait, the more softened your inner noodle will be. 
  6. Place the shells on a wire rack then smoke them at 250F for 90 minutes using cherry wood.
  7. At the 75 minute mark, your bacon is almost fully cooked and the inner manicotti shell will begin to soften. Baste each shell with buffalo sauce on all sides. 
  8. 15 minutes later, remove them from the smoker 
  9. Serve them on a dish and drizzle ranch or blue cheese over the shotgun shells and garnish with green onions.
  • Author: Nick Nesgoda
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 90

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