5 Grilled Appetizers to Impress Guests

Grilled appetizers, including smoked cheese, smoked fish dip, chicken wings and a spin on the original shrimp cocktail.
Grilled appetizers, including smoked cheese, smoked fish dip, chicken wings and a spin on the original shrimp cocktail.

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!

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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.

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