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Crockpot appetizers that are NOT bbq...

I've got two crockpots that I'd like to use for our holiday party next weekend. They are both the normal crockpot size (neither are the small dip sized containers) and I have multiple requests for bbq pork ribs for one which I plan on making. Ive been searching the web but coming up empty with something for the second pot- everything seems to be some variation on a bbq sauce (ketchup based, bottled, vinegar based, whatever!) I'm a heavy crockpot user, but I can't really think of anything that's easy to eat while standing except meatballs which, again, are usually served with a spicy bbq-type sauce. I was thinking of making the meatballs outside the pot and making a mustard-based dipping sauce and just using the crock to keep them warm, but that kind of defeats the purpose (which is to try to make as much ahead without the stove or oven as possible.)

Any ideas, hounds?

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  1. So I take it you want it to be finger foods? Or something you can put a toothpick in?

    8 Replies
    1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

      Correct, or something that can be easily eaten standing. We will have plates and forks, but something like a rib is preferable to, say, lasagna. I make a kickin adobo in the crockpot but alas, I think that would be too tough to eat! I usually do two heavier things (like the ribs, or pulled pork on mini buns) and then a bunch of finger food.

      1. re: CarmenR

        i don't really think of ribs as something all that easy to eat while standing since they are so messy?

        would you consider some kind of soup that can be ladled into small bowls? if you made rice, the adobo could be spooned over the rice into bowls too.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          I wish we could do soupy things- tried a few years ago and the apt was a MESS after all the spills.
          Ribs actually end up OK because, while messy, they're eaten quickly so people can clean up and move onto their next attack ;)

          1. re: CarmenR

            Perhaps you need to find more coordinated friends. I did two big crockpots of chili for my Christmas open house last year (and my place is small and many were standing) and not a single person spilled anything - and there were probably 10 children age 15 and younger here over the course of the night.

            1. re: amishangst

              the 2-gallon punch bowl, 3 liters of barrel-aged cocktails plus whatever people bring probably contribute to the spillage ;) No harm, no foul- we expect a certain level of destruction, but hope to minimize the damage. Plus 40+ people in a 900 sq foot apt is going to lead to inevitable spills...

              1. re: CarmenR

                Wow 40 people in a 900 sq foot apt...that sounds cozy

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  tis indeed! we have outdoor space for our summer bbqs, but in the winter its mostly just people having a smoke break. We are all NYers and are used to cuddling at social events ;)

                  1. re: CarmenR

                    Hahaha! I was just about to comment must be an nyc apt! Those are the best parties though, feels like a happenin' underground club :)

      1. I've had great success with plain meatballs in a crockpot with a selection of dipping/topping sauces: chutney-sour cream, sweet-sour, hot mustard, that kind of thing. I use pretzel sticks to spear them instead of toothpicks, that way nobody has to figure out what to do with the toothpicks.

        3 Replies
        1. re: nami54

          When you make meatballs like this, do you basically completely prepare them outside of the crock and then just toss them in on "warm" to keep warm during the party? Ive actually never used either of my crocks for just serving things- i'd be afraid they would dry out? Our parties usually go 6+ hours (or until the food runs out!)

          1. re: CarmenR

            Yes, just use the crock to keep them warm. I've never had a problem with them drying out, as meatballs have enough fat in them.

          2. re: nami54

            That's an interesting idea. I've been trying to decide between Swedish meatballs and a more Asian take. Maybe I can do both this way!

          3. cubes of chicken thigh meat in a pineapple teriyaki glaze...sprinkle with sesame seeds

            little balls of sticky rice that you can use to mop up the sauce

            1. Italian sausage and peppers. Served with crusty bread on the side. The sausage can be sliced into coins and the pepper and onions get very soft. A friends mom contributes this to parties and it is always a huge hit.

              1. I've found some Chicken wings recipe. Buffalo or Teriyaki flavor. I haven't done the hot wings, but the sweet teriyaki wings were delish.

                1. I've made meatballs for years as a snack food in a crock pot using grape jelly and Heinz Chili Sauce. Never have any leftovers and I have a fairly large pot. http://www.food.com/recipe/appetizer-...

                  It's not really a bbq sauce, so it might fit your bill.

                  1. Pot stickers are always popular. Just oil up the bottom and sides. I like to use sesame oil, some soy, grated ginger... The usual suspects, and throw in some orange zest with chicken pot stickers. People gobble them up and it is a real no brainer as well as being a bit "lighter" during this busy time of year.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: sedimental

                      Or any kind of individual dumplings- pierogies would also work well

                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                        pierogies are a great idea... on to google i go...

                        1. re: CarmenR

                          Or Just "cheat" and buy frozen pierogies.... An ethnic grocery will have better prices, but they're also for sale fresh and frozen on 1st ave:

                      2. re: sedimental

                        This is what I was going to suggest, people will eat them up

                        1. re: Cherylptw

                          Do you have a recipe for the pot stickers? Are they all the same just with different dipping sauces? I've never made them but have had them.

                          1. re: boyzoma

                            I don't have a recipe; I just use ingredients in the quantities I think will work. This summer, I made duck confit potstickers that were so so good! I also made some with shredded venison. The vegetable mix varies, depending on what's available & what I have on hand. Last time was shredded Chinese cabbage, carrots, scallions, shredded snow peas, chopped mushrooms, garlic, fresh ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, s & p and duck sauce. I sautéed everything for a few minutes, then drained mix and add in the cooked meat (I cooked it separately). Fill gyoza or dumpling skins by placing a teaspoon or so of filling center of wrapper. Brush edges with water and fold over, sealing edges well..

                            These freeze well also. When making a large quantity, lay on a lined baking sheet and dust with cornstarch and place sheets of parchment or baking paper between the layers, dusting each with cornstarch. Place in freezer until frozen then you can remove them to freezer bags for longer storage.

                            I have used broccoli instead of snow peas and shredded bok choy instead of cabbage before. I've also used fresh hot pepper instead of crushed red pepper. There are tons of recipes online to get inspiration from; the fillings vary.

                            Here's a good sauce recipe - Ginger Scallion Dipping Sauce

                            1/2 cup light soy sauce
                            1/4 cup red wine vinegar
                            2 tablespoons each of finely grated ginger and brown sugar
                            2 scallions, thinly sliced

                            Whisk together the soy sauce, wine vinegar, ginger and brown sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a low simmer, stirring to dissolve brown sugar. Remove from heat; pour into a bowl and stir in scallions. Serve with dumplings.

                      3. Even though neither are the dip size, I'd still do dip. Though I guess that might depend on how many people will be coming, but generally things like spinach artichoke dip or buffalo chicken dip needs to be served in large quantities with my friends. The buffalo chicken dip would be a good option because unlike buffalo wings, you don't have to deal with plates full of bones lying about and the dip goes just as good with vegetables (particularly celery and cauliflower) as it does with chips so you can pretend to be healthy while gorging on it.

                        That said, unless you're doing boneless ribs, what about the same flavor (I know you had requests for it though) and doing a BBQ pulled pork and provide mini-buns for slider versions. Hands don't get as messy and no bones.

                        Otherwise, you could also do meatballs or sliced kielbasa in a more sweet and sour sauce so you're not duplicating BBQ.

                        1. these jerk chicken slider are my goto crock pot party dish...

                          You could also serve it with rice... very very good.


                          See my mods on the above string

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: sparky403

                            Hey sparky -- I just had to thank you for posting the link to this recipe. It looked so good that I had to make it today. Really, really good!

                            1. re: TorontoJo

                              Really good isn't it!

                              I recommend frequently on Chow, so I am glad someone else took the plunge and tried it. It's a keeper for sure.

                          2. Little smokies. Don't they have little Andouilles? Or you can cut the regular sausages in slices or halves. Kielbasa also. Bbq kielbasa,
                            sliced up, stick with toothpicks serve with different mustards. Just an idea of using something besides meatballs.

                            1. Bacon wrapped little smokies. AKA "meat candy" around here.

                              Basically, cocktail wieners, wrapped in bacon which has been dipped in a brown sugar chili powder mix (2 cups sugar and 2 TBSP chili powder). Secure with a toothpick. Bake for about an hour at 325 until bacon is crisp. I like to put them on elevated racks to the fat drains away and it isn't greasy. I cut the bacon strips in thirds, and don't bother with the thick cut bacon.

                              Pop them in to a slow cooker on low/warm and stand back.

                              1. What about some sort of savory bread pudding/strata?

                                1. I haven't tried it personally, but I've heard that stuffed mushrooms can be done in the slow cooker to good results. Easy enough to eat standing up too!

                                  1. Waikiki meatballs? Brown sugar, pineapple, soy sauce, ginger