Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a Hit

From smoked beef cheeks to grilled turkey ribs, from tofu skewers to peach salsa - we've got all kinds of BBQ appetizers recipes for even pickiest of foodies
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Last updatedLast updated: November 20, 2021
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When coming up with your meal plan for your BBQ parties this summer, be sure to include BBQ appetizers. You can use different methods of cooking to create unique and delicious appetizers, from grilling to smoking. There are even healthy options for people following certain diets.

BBQ appetizers help to keep your guests happy until you serve the main dishes. They are popularly known as bite-sized feel-good food for a reason. Cooking the main dishes can take time, and your party may get tired before it even rolls out because of less energetic hungry guests. Besides being convenient, BBQ appetizers can be the meal because they are substantial. You can make them a great game-day staple. Read on to discover some of the tastiest BBQ appetizers and how to make them.

Smoked BBQ appetizers

Smoked appetizers are a great way of keeping your guests filled up before serving the mains of the day. Try out these quick recipes:

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1.  Chicken thighs

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 2 to 4 pounds of chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons (paprika, chilli powder, cumin, garlic powder, black pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon (thyme, salt)
  • 1 gallon of water and 1 cup of coarse salt for brine

Directions

Make the brine by mixing the salt and water.

Brine the chicken thighs by submerging them in the salt water solution then refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove the chicken thighs from the brine then pat dry with paper towels. Let them dry further on drying racks.

Set your smoker to cook at 225 degrees F then make the rub by combining the paprika, chilli powder, cumin, garlic powder, thyme and black pepper in a bowl. Mix thoroughly then apply to the thighs.

Place the thighs on the smoker and close the lid. Cook for 2 hours.

Remove and apply BBQ sauce then place back on the smoker and cook for another 10-15 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool before serving.

2.  Cheese

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 8 pounds of cheese

Directions

Use a tube smoker or cold smoke generator to set your smoker to the cold smoke setting. Add apple wood then use a thermometer to maintain the temperature at 80 degrees F.

Place the cheese blocks on the smoker grates. Turn them every 30 minutes.

Remove the cheese from the smoker then wrap them in parchment paper.

Put the cheese in the fridge and leave for 24 hours.

3.  Riblets

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 2 slabs of pork ribs
  • BBQ rub
  • BBQ sauce

Directions

Set up your grill to cook at a temperature of 225 degrees F

Place the riblets on the indirect zone and cook them low and slow for 3 hours.

Remove the riblets and wrap in foil then place back on grill and cook for another 1 hour.

Remove and unwrap the riblets then apply the BBQ rub and sauce all over with a brush.

Place the riblets back on grill without the foil and cook for another 30 minutes

Transfer them to the direct smoking zone and sear for 30 seconds to achieve crispiness.

Remove the riblets then wrap in foil once again. Let them rest for 10 minutes to allow the juices to continue making them tenderer.

4.  Beef cheeks

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 4 beef cheeks (trimmed with their silver skin removed)
  • 1 part (Kosher salt, brown sugar)
  • 2 parts of ground black pepper

Directions

Set smoker at 275 degrees F.

Trim the silver skin and excess fat off the beef cheeks

Combine the kosher salt, brown sugar and black pepper in a bowl. Mix thoroughly and apply generously to the beef.

Place the beef cheeks on smoker racks, close the lid and smoke for 4 hours.

Remove the beef and wrap in aluminum foil then return on smoker and cook until the internal temperature reaches 210 degrees F.

Remove from smoker and let it rest before serving.

5.  Cold-smoked salmon

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 3-4 pounds of salmon fillet
  • 1 gallon of water and 2 cups of Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup molasses sugar
  • 2 cups rock salt

Directions

Scale the fish on both sides with a knife then use tweezers or pliers to remove as many bones as you can.

Cut the salmon into long strips.

Make the brine by mixing the water and salt then soak the fish in the solution. Refrigerate for 12 hours.

Remove the salmon from the brine then rinse with water.

Make the cure by combining the rock salt and molasses sugar. Spread it on the salmon generously. Cover it with a wrap then put it in the fridge to marinate for about 24 hours.

Remove salmon from fridge and rinse with cold water

Heat smoker to 80 degrees F then add wooden chips of your own choice.

Place salmon fillets on smoking rack then cook for 5 hours.

Garnish and serve.

Grilled BBQ appetizers

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitA BBQ without a grill is like a train without an engine. Here are some of the easiest recipes you can grill alongside your meats or vegan BBQ dishes.

If you don’t have a grill and are looking to invest in one, check out the popular Traeger PRO 22. It is a pellet grill that gives your foods a delicious wood-fired flavor. Alternatively, you can go for the Kamado Joe Big Joe II which is a charcoal grill. It is incredibly versatile and has a large cooking surface that makes cooking hassle-free.

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1.  Eggplant

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 2 large eggplants (Sliced into ¼-inch rounds)
  • ½ cup extra virgin oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggplants
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

Directions

Combine the olive oil, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Brush the mixture all over the eggplants then season with salt and pepper.

Grill eggplants until tender and slightly charred for about 3 minutes on each side.

Top the grilled eggplants with feta and parsley then squeeze the lemon juice all over before serving.

2.  Turkey ribs

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 5 pounds of Turkey ribs
  • 1 cup of BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (onion powder, non-smoked paprika)
  • 1 tablespoon (garlic powder, ground oregano)
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions

Wash the turkey with cold water then trim off excess fat and cut into serving size pieces.

Combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl to make the BBQ rub.

Apply the rub on each turkey rib covering all sides then cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Heat up the grill to 350 degrees F then place the turkey ribs on the grill grates. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes.

Apply BBQ sauce to the ribs then grill for a further 2 minutes.

Serve and enjoy.

3.  Steak frite bites

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 1 pound of flank steak (pounded to ¼ inch thick)
  • 2 tablespoons (extra virgin oil, Worcestershire sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon (Dijon mustard, freshly chopped rosemary)
  • ½ pound frozen French fries
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Steak sauce

Directions

Pre-heat our oven according to the directions on the French fries packet.

Slice the steak against the grain on the diagonal into very thin 2-inch slices.

Combine the rosemary, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and Worcestershire sauce in a large bowl and mix. Add the sliced steak and toss to coat. Let it marinate in the fridge for up to 2 hours.

In the meantime, bake your frozen fries according to the directions on the package then set them aside to cool.

Place 4 to 5 baked French fries on top of a piece of steak then secure them with a toothpick. Repeat until they are all used up then grill for about 2 minutes per side over medium heat.

Drizzle with steak sauce then serve.

4.  Volcano potatoes

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 8 strips of bacon
  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chives
  • ½ green onion (diced)
  • 2 cups of cream cheese
  • BBQ sauce
  • Sour cream

Directions

Fire up your grill to 350 degrees F.

Scrub and wash the potatoes then create a vent in each by poking holes with a toothpick.

Wrap each potato in aluminum foil then cook on the grill for 20 minutes.

Combine the cream cheese and diced onions to make the stuffing.

Remove the potatoes from the grill then allow to cool. Unwrap them then slice their ends so they can stand.

Curve out the inside of each potato with a spoon then stuff them with the filling. Wrap each potato with 2 strips of bacon held in place with a toothpick.

Brush a thin layer of BBQ sauce over the potatoes and bacon.

Place the potatoes back on the grill over indirect heat and cook for 15 minutes until brown and crispy on the outside. Top with cheddar cheese and cook for an extra 3 minutes.

Remove and top with chive garnish and sour cream then serve with the BBQ sauce.

5.  Pineapple salsa

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 3 cups of fresh pineapple dices
  • ½ red onion (chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 medium jalapeno
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl then stir to mix. Add the lime juice and salt to taste.

Healthy BBQ appetizers

Healthy eaters can also look forward to summer BBQ parties because of the endless creative BBQ options for them. Here are a few popular ones;

1.  Grilled zucchini with parmesan

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 4 medium zucchinis
  • 1 ½ (balsamic vinegar, olive oil)
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

Directions

Mix oil olive oil and vinegar in a baking dish then add zucchini and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to marinate.

Fire up the grill to 600 degrees F then spray it with olive oil. Arrange the Zucchini on the grill.

Cook each side of the zucchinis for 2 minutes until soft but not mushy.

Turn down the grill then sprinkle zucchini with parmesan.

Carefully remove the zucchini from the grill then serve with extra balsamic vinegar.

2.  Barley salad

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 1 cup of uncooked pearl barley
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup (red onions and chopped parsley)
  • 4 ears corn on the cob
  • 4 ounces of goat cheese
  • ¼ cup (olive oil, white wine vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

Directions

Cook barley according instructions on package.

Cook corn using your most preferred method then allow them to cool before cutting off the kernels.

Combine the barley, cooked corn, almond, goat cheese, blueberries, onions, parsley in a large bowl.

Make vinaigrette in a jar. Combine the honey, salt, pepper, mustard, olive oil and vinegar then shake. Toss the salad in the vinaigrette then serve.

3.  Watermelon and mozzarella

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • ¼ slice of a whole watermelon
  • 200g mozzarella balls
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • Drizzle of extra virgin oil
  • Salt and black pepper

Directions

Use a melon baller to curve out balls from the watermelon. Remove as many seeds as you can.

Combine all the ingredients together with the curved melon balls in a large bowl.

Cover and put in the fridge. You can eat straight away as well.

4.  Tofu and vegetable skewers

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 15 ounces of firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon (garlic powder, black pepper, sriracha)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup maple syrup

Directions

Soak 4 wooden skewers in water to prevent them from burning.

Place tofu on a paper towel and top with another paper towel then microwave for 3 minutes

Slice tofu into 9 to 12 cubes

Combine all the other ingredients and stir. Marinade the tofu in the mixture then refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove tofu from marinade then arrange on skewers alternating with veggies.

Grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Serve.

5.  Turkey tacos

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 1lb extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 large (green bell pepper, red bell pepper)
  • 2 teaspoons (cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder)
  • 2 tablespoons chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt

Directions

Add turkey, diced bell peppers, onions and spiced to a hot non-stick skillet sprayed with oil over medium heat.

Cook until meat is no longer pink and the veggies are tender.

When the meat is almost fully cooked, add ¼ cup water and stir. Simmer until thickened.

Remove and serve with hard or soft taco shells, lettuce, shredded cheese and cilantro for garnishing.

Summer BBQ recipes

These are the easiest summer BBQ recipes that will prevent your guests from starving before the party keeps going.

1.  Mozzarella sticks

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 6 mozzarella sticks
  • 2 large eggs (well-beaten)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

Directions

Freeze the mozzarella sticks until solid frozen for at least 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F then place the breadcrumbs, eggs, and all-purpose flour in 3 separate bowls. Add salt and pepper to the breadcrumbs.

Coat the frozen mozzarella sticks in flour, dip in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs. Repeat the egg and breadcrumbs dip before arranging on baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes then remove and serve with warm marinara sauce.

2.  Crab cakes

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 1lb jumbo lump crabmeat (picked over for shells)
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 2 tablespoons (Dijon mustard, freshly chopped parsley)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Lemon wedges and tartar for serving

Directions

Whisk the mayo, egg, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, mustard, salt and paper together in a small bowl.

In another bowl, stir the crab meat, parsley, and panko breadcrumbs together. Fold in the mayo mixture then make 8 patties.

Cook the 8 patties in patched on a skillet with oil over medium heat until golden brown.

Serve with tartar sauce and lemon.

3.  Melon prosciutto skewers

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 8 ounces mozzarella balls
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 12 slices prosciutto
  • Balsamic glaze

Directions

Cut the cantaloupe into halve then remove all the seeds. Scoop out 24 balls with a melon baller.

Assemble skewers and arrange the cantaloupe, basil, mozzarella, prosciutto, and another layer of mozzarella.

Drizzle the skewers with balsamic glaze and serve.

4.  Korean chicken

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a HitIngredients

For wings

  • 2 chicken wings
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 6 cups Vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (freshly ground black pepper, baking powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

For sauce

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 5 small dried red chillis, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup (gochujang, honey)
  • 2 tbsp. (ketchup, packed brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon (rice vinegar, low-sodium soy sauce, freshly minced ginger)

For garnish

  • 1 green onion (sliced)
  • 1/2cup cocktail peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions

Heat oil in deep pot over medium-high heat.

Line a large baking sheet with paper towels then combine the baking powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a separate small bowl.

Pat the chicken wings dry with paper towels then rub with the grated ginger. Season with the salt mixture you just made.

In a large bowl, toss the wings with cornstarch. Squeeze to compress the coating onto each wing.

Fry the wings in the hot oil until crispy on the skin and golden in color. Remove from the oil and set aside to rest.

Make the sauce in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Add butter, then the dried chilis, garlic and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes until fragrant then stir in gochujang, vinegar, soy sauce, and vinegar. Cook until it bubbles then add honey and sugar. Continue cooking until it thickens.

Pour the sauce over the chicken wings and toss to coat evenly. Add the peanuts then garnish with green onion and sesame seeds before serving.

5.  Peach salsa

Fingerlicking-Good BBQ Appetizers for Your Party to Become a Hit

Ingredients

  • 2 large Fresh Peaches (diced)
  • 1/4 of a Red Onion (diced, for some crunch)
  • 2 large Tomatoes (diced)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 fresh Jalapeno (seeded and diced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro (chopped)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss to mix well then serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

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Final thoughts

BBQ appetizers are a must have at any BBQ party. You may have the best crowd pleasing centerpieces like a prized beef brisket or pork butt, but a series of appetizers will help keep your crowd going. You can make appetizers in various ways to satisfy different types of foodies at your party. There are smoked, grilled, summer and healthy options Trusted Source BBQ food safety | Food Standards Agency How to stay food safe when cooking food at a barbecue. How to safely prepare meat and salads, cook meat thoroughly, and what to do with any leftovers from a BBQ. www.food.gov.uk for people strictly on healthy diets.

We have provided a rundown for some of the best quick and easy BBQ appetizers recipes. They cover all the bases for different events from tailgates and summer gatherings to 4th of July parties. According to industry experts Trusted Source Healthy meal and snack ideas | Eat For Health Breakfast Try fruit or vegetable pikelets. www.eatforhealth.gov.au , BBQ appetizers are substantial meals that you can prepare and serve as a staple whenever you have guests over at any time of the year.

References

1.
BBQ food safety | Food Standards Agency
How to stay food safe when cooking food at a barbecue. How to safely prepare meat and salads, cook meat thoroughly, and what to do with any leftovers from a BBQ.
2.
Healthy meal and snack ideas | Eat For Health
Breakfast Try fruit or vegetable pikelets.
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