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Could I please get some suggestions for a cold appetizer for backyard BBQ?

Close friend's 50th birthay bash. He and his wife are quite accomplished in the kitchen and on the charcoal Weber out back. Last party at their house, he had a whole cooked pig delivered. I've been asked to supply something for the appetizer table. He does like spice, and has a coconut allergy. Otherwise, anything goes. I think cold selections are best. I can make anything, and have every kitchen gadget except for the Williams Sonoma jalapeno roasting tray. Cost is not a factor. Any and all help is appreciated. I thank you. Oh, I think about 25 adults.

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  1. An awesome cold seafood bar with a side of bbq'd oysters comes to mind immediately. Sidebar of sauces and do-it-yourselves.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mamachef

      Yes! If cost is not a consideration, cold seafood is the biz. Maybe some ceviche?

    2. Vege crudites on skewers with dipping sauces.
      Shrimp or crab stuffed cherry tomatoes.
      mini lobster rolls
      ahi or scallop ceviche

      1. Caprese salad. Simple, delicious.

        1. do you have any idea what they're serving for the main course & sides?

          1. What about a super-spicy shrimp salad and cucumber cups?

            If all else truly fails you, stuff cherry tomatoes with.. just about anything that sounds good.

            1. A variety of cold spreads/dips like hummus, skordalia, etc.? Or some type of savory tarts? I make little tartlets with homemade ricotta, pesto and roasted grape tomatoes that are always a hit.

              3 Replies
              1. re: biondanonima

                Oh yes, mini tartlets are always a hit, and it's so easy to make a number of different fillings for variety. I love them!

                1. re: biondanonima

                  Your tartlet combo sounds great. What do you use for the shell? Pie crust, wonton skin, ??? Can you describe a little more?

                  1. re: farmersdaughter

                    The first time I made them I was in a hurry and I just flattened a roll of crescent roll dough into a sheet pan, baked it until golden and let it cool, then spread it with the ricotta followed by the pesto, then cut it into even squares and topped each with a roasted tomato. I actually loved the slight sweetness of the crescent roll dough with the savory toppings. I've also used puff pastry (you could use a large piece and make it a sliceable tart, or cut it into smaller, individual pieces). A non-sweetened shortbread style crust would work too, or you could just pile the toppings on toasted bread, bruschetta-style.

                2. I just did a backyard BBQ recently and served chicken liver mousse crostini. Went over huge. My caterer friend brought roasted green beans, served cold, w some homemade tzatziki dip.

                  Other thoughts:
                  Bruschetta w heirloom tomatoes
                  stuffed figs with pecans & bleu cheese
                  smoked bluefish pate (or any fish, for that matter)
                  goat cheese mousse piped into Parmesan tuiles
                  Spanish pinchos (served speared on toothpicks) like chorizo, manchego & black olive, or proscuitto or serrano ham, manchego & pepperoncini
                  stuffed poquillo peppers
                  cold soup shots, like gazpacho or spicy Thai cucumber-avocado (oh, strike that it uses coconut milk, but I can think of more if you like the idea)
                  cucumber cups filled w wasabi crab salad

                  Happy to provide a recipe if needed!

                      1. re: King of Northern Blvd

                        These are perfect for summer bbq, do them myself. So refreshing with dipping sauce.

                      2. it may be so 'last year' or the year before but how about something like a thai noodle salad or gado-gado (veggie salad with peanut sauce). or even simpler is a can of white kidney beans mixed with a can of seasoned tuna.

                        1. I like Sun dried tomato cheesecake squares

                          Because they're different, quite portable, and require minimal assembling, and are great cold or at room temperature.

                          They are quite rich, so I whip the mixture really well to make them as light as possible, and I cut them into squares about 1 x 1 inch in size. I also top each with a dob of sour light cream and a sprinkle of finely chopped herbs, which seems to cut the richness.

                          They are always very popular.

                          You could also spice it up a little with some cayenne pepper or paprika, if you like.

                          1. Shrimp with chopped tomatoes, cilantro, shallots, and avocado, gently tossed with homemade vinaigrette and lots of coarse black pepper. Everybody's your best friend after this. :)

                            1. Obviously this sounds a little high end, so you're not going to go with anything too simple. What about individual servings of gazpacho with some nice jumbo shrimp cocktail. Obviously, not knowing what the main course is going to be it's tough to judge. If it's a seafood crowd and money isn't an object, you could do a seafood tower with shrimp, clams, oysters, lump crab meat and/or lobster tails.

                              1. Watermelon, crumbled feta (or goat or..), mint or basil, balsamic reduction.

                                1. a really good gazpacho is nice.

                                  1. Although I've not made this yet, I've got it in my tapas folder to test as soon as possible. It looks like you might need demitasse spoons as it seems thick. With all the seafood recommendations, you could certainly hang a shrimp on the glass edge. I'm thinking present in a deep tray with ice, maybe a towel nearby for blotting the bottoms of the glasses.


                                    1. 2nding the watermelon salad suggestion, but with Spanish onion and a crumbly cheese (ricotta satata perhaps). Maybe some basil, too. If you salt it, you probably don't have to even dress it, since that makes its own gravy.
                                      Or how about deviled eggs? If you really want to gild the lily, you can top them with a touch of caviar.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: gilintx

                                        Finally somebody said deviled eggs! I can promise you, whenever I make deviled eggs for a buffet dinner or barbecue, they are ALWAYS the first dish to go. High brow or low brow, everyone loves deviled eggs.

                                        1. re: edwardspk

                                          So true. And to serve, vintage glass deviled egg plates are so cute, and a steal at any antique mall, thrift store, junk shop, or yard sale. I think mine was $2.50 but you can find them for 50 cents if you look!

                                      2. Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus or breadsticks. I've made these and had them at other friends' parties, and they're always a big hit. The prosciutto adds an elegance (because it's expensive?) and people can't get enough of them.

                                        1. Hot cherry peppers stuffed with prosciutto and either smoky provolone or mozzella cheese. Marinated in olive oil and a bit of garlic. Or an antipasta platter with roasted vegetables might be good. Any idea what the bbq meat(s) will be?

                                          1. l found a new cold shrimp recipe that I'm trying tomorrow. Rather than serving the usual shrimp with cocktail sauce, the recipe is for spicy jerk shrimp and then served with a pineapple, mango and lime salsa. The recipe I saw called for cooked shrimp tail on, instead I'll marinate with the jerk rub cook quickly, and chill. First I'll quick cook them only, for a couple of minutes, super chill them, then skewer to serve on the smaller knotted bamboo picks..I like the idea of the chilly spicy shrimp with the fresh fruit salsa.

                                            1. Ina Garten's Tuna Tartar is AMAZING...simple to prepare and has a big wow factor. Sushi grade ahi is expensive and you will need almost 2 pounds.

                                              I like the idea of gazpacho - watermelon adding fresh crab on top.

                                              1. Tzatziki with pita bread wedges or hummus..