Advent Day 3: Crockpot Grinders

This is the perfect meal to fix then go Christmas shopping, errand running, or galavanting- it will be ready when you are!

Growing up in New Jersey we called Subs Hoagies. After moving from Boston to NJ in the first grade, I had no idea what a Hoagie even was. I was introduced to the Hoagie when my school had announced that next Friday would be Hoagie Day and posted little signs of bears all over the school that read “Hoagie Day Friday.” I thought we were going to eat bears. I was a bit apprehensive to say the least. But when Friday rolled around I was relieved to find out that a Hoagie was simply a submarine sandwich, yum! So I grew up calling them Hoagies and if I wanted one heated then it became a Grinder.

This Grinder starts out with a round loaf of Italian Bread which is then sliced to make 6 sandwiches, but not all the way through the bottom.

In assembly line fashion, make 6 piles of cheese, lunch meat, and onions and pepper rings to fit down in your bread slices. Be sure the pepper rings are drained well to prevent a soggy sandwich. Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning like basil and oregano. I used Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset.

Fold each bundle of cheese and meat in half and tuck down between every other slice of bread. Seal very well in two layers of heavy foil.

Place a small aluminum pan, over turned on the bottom of the crockpot so that the Grinders do not sit directly on the bottom. You can use balls of foil as well. Add 1/4 cup of water to the crockpot. Place Grinder on top of pan or balls of foil and cover. Cook on low for 4 hours.

When cooking is complete, carefully remove from crockpot, unwrap, and slice through each sandwich to separate from each other. Be careful it will be very hot. Drizzle the inside of each sandwich with a little olive oil if you would like. Makes 6 sandwiches. The center two are quite large and need to be cut in half. Feeds our family of five perfectly!

Here is a close up of my daughter’s Grinder, she did not want onions and peppers, silly girl.

Note- We did have one small, 1 square inch soggy area, probably from not draining the peppers well. We also felt the sandwich could have gone another two hours as it showed no burnt or gummy areas. Man, we could have stayed out shopping another 2 hours!

Crockpot Grinders
one round loaf Artisan Italian Bread
18 slices provolone
18 slices Mortadella
18 slices sweet or hot Capicola
18 slices Genoa Salami
sweet pepper rings
thin onion slices
olive oil
oregano and basil
Large 6 quart oval crockpot

Slice bread 13 times, almost all the way through but leaving 1/2 inch space at the bottom. Layer three slices of cheese and top with 3 slices each of Mortadella, Capicola, and Salami. Top with pepper rings and onions. Sprinkle with Italian Seasonings and repeat 5 times. Fold each bundle in half and tuck down between every other slice of bread to create 6 sandwiches. The sandwich may have “arched” its back, gently push down and wrap tightly in one then a second piece of heavy foil. Place in crockpot on top of a small aluminum foil pan or balls of foil, do not touch bottom of pan. Pour in 1/4 cup of water (I never like to have a “dry” crockpot, it just seemed to make sense to me to have a little water in there), it does nothing for the sandwich since it is wrapped up so tightly in foil. Cover and cook on low for 2-4 hours. To serve cut each sandwich apart, drizzle the insides lightly with olive oil, and enjoy. Makes six sandwiches with the center two being quite generous in size.

Note- you may not need all the meat and cheese as the sandwiches on the ends are a bit smaller and will not hold as much.

Another BRK Crockpot Favorite- Italian Sausage Cacciatore

Come back tomorrow for Day 4.


  1. Sheila
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

    These remind me of our favorite Italian sandwiches; will save us some $$$.

  2. Jersey Girl Cooks
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

    Great idea! I call it a hoagie!

  3. Karen
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

    I don't use my crockpot often enough! This would be a great meal after a day of shopping 🙂

  4. slip4
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I am going to try it as soon as my picky eater gets home from college for Christmas break!

  5. tamilyn
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    Hot diggity! Those look great!

  6. Anonymous
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 6:24 PM | Permalink

    Where in the world do you come up with all of your ideas?? I read a lot of food blogs, and you are constantly amazing me with your unique, efficient recipes! I'd love to see more of your Crossfit paleo-type recipes.

  7. oneordinaryday
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 8:26 PM | Permalink

    You come up with the most clever ideas!

  8. Robin Sue
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

    Sharon- I have thought about doing some Paleo type recipes, maybe in Jan or feb when we are all feeling puffy after the Holidays. Thanks for your kinds words too, I have fun coming up with ideas, most of them are just my survival skills and being lazy by cutting corners and somehow it all works out!!

  9. JaneinNH
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 11:14 PM | Permalink

    This is truly a great idea. What do you think about trying this on the 'keep warm' setting for ten hours? I'm wondering if I can toss this together in the morning so the family can come home to this for dinner one night…..

  10. Robin Sue
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 11:46 PM | Permalink

    JaneinNH- We did it for 4 hours on low while at church and found the sandwich to be toasty hot, but nothing more. Not burnt, gummy, or hardened, so my hubby and I though it could go even longer as long as it does not touch the bottom. so I would think it is worth a try to go 10 hours on warm. Give it a go and please come back and let us all know. Thanks!

  11. Ingrid
    Posted December 4, 2010 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

    Love this idea! It's perfect for weekend lunches for the kiddos.

    I agree with Michelle. You come up with some clever meals!

    Posted December 4, 2010 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

    What a really cleaver way to use the crock pot! I'm going to make your recipe but use some reduced-fat ingredients!Thanks for sharing…

  13. Lalycairn
    Posted December 4, 2010 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

    MMmmm!!! That sounds like a fabuluous plan!!

  14. grace
    Posted December 5, 2010 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

    can a grinder sans onions and peppers still be called a grinder? regardless, this is a great idea. 🙂

  15. Robin Sue
    Posted December 5, 2010 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

    Grace- yup! you can make these as you please, without onions and peppers. If I had it my way I would add olives to those onions and peppers but my family would revolt!

  16. Mimi
    Posted December 6, 2010 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

    This is such a great idea. Perfect for after a football game. Can't wait to try it out.

  17. Just the 3 of Us
    Posted December 16, 2010 at 9:02 PM | Permalink

    YUM!! I cannot wait to make these next week.

  18. Julie
    Posted December 18, 2010 at 6:10 PM | Permalink

    A suggestion for quick shopping — Costco sells a tray of Italian meats and cheese, already sliced and ready to go!

  19. Marty
    Posted December 21, 2010 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

    This sounds fantastic. I am going to try it!!! Thanks!

  20. Deborah
    Posted June 3, 2011 at 7:20 PM | Permalink

    That looks phenomenal. Will try! I saw the image for this gorgeous meal over on Pinterest and had to click the link and see what it was all about. 🙂

  21. Anonymous
    Posted June 4, 2011 at 4:00 PM | Permalink


  22. Mindy
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 10:54 PM | Permalink

    I made this sandwich this weekend – switching out the mortadella for ham and rolling the peppers in a paper towel to drain thoroughly. I was figuring it was either going to be a hit or a bust and… they loved it!! Thank You!

  23. yvonne
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 2:15 AM | Permalink

    This sound so yummy. Must make this when i am too busy too cook.
    Thank you for the recepie

  24. Robin Sue
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 6:28 AM | Permalink

    Mindy- So happy you all liked it! Thanks for coming back and letting me know!

  25. Creating Sarah
    Posted September 24, 2011 at 1:00 AM | Permalink

    I found this recipe on Pinterest. I tried it the other day, but I adapted it a little bit. It turned out amazing!!!! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    If you'd like to see my version, here's the link:

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All posts are moderated.


  • 10,080 Minutes - BRK Book The story of our dramatic lifestyle makeover and journey for living what matters.

    10,080 Minutes - Daniel and Robin Joss