Sometimes they get the party started. Sometimes they are the party. I speak, of course, of those festive finger foods that are easy—almost too easy—to eat.
Whether you’re hosting your own holiday get-together or have been asked to contribute an appetizer, you’ll want your food to be the life of the party. Let other people serve circa 1980s-style cheese balls or boiled shrimp with jarred cocktail sauce.
You’re going to bring down the house by firing up your grill.
Lemon Sesame Chicken Wings: Wings are a perennial favorite at parties, and these deliver a blast of flavor thanks to a marinade of Worcestershire sauce, beer, sesame oil, and lemon zest.
Smoked Shrimp Cocktail with Chipotle Orange Sauce: The heat-seekers in your crowd won’t be able to get enough of these succulent shrimp. I call for smoking here, but the shrimp can also be direct-grilled, making them table-ready in minutes.
Smoked Pecans: Salty foods just taste so damned good with drinks, meaning these nuts, coated with a sweet-savory spice mixture, will disappear fast. And if the weather outside is frightful, they can be prepared on a stovetop smoker.
Coffee-Crusted Pork Tenderloins with Redeye Barbecue Sauce: People coming to the party straight from work or a hectic day of holiday preparations will appreciate having a more substantial option than the usual cocktail nibbles. Thinly sliced pork tenderloin served on slider buns fits the bill. A bonus? The pork can be cooked a day ahead of time and served at room temperature.
Smoked Snapper or Salmon Dip with Smoked Vegetable Chips: I’ve been making variations of this dip for years; it’s become a Raichlen family favorite. Customize it to suit your own tastes. The fish (snapper, salmon, mahi mahi, black cod, etc.) can be up smoked up to 3 days ahead.
See the full article on BarbecueBible.com, including five additional appetizers that will be the life of the party!
SIGN UP for Steven Raichlen's UP IN SMOKE newsletter to learn more about barbecue!
Steven Raichlen is the author of the Barbecue! Bible cookbook series and the host of Project Smoke on public television. His web site is BarbecueBible.com.