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. Jessica
    Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:28 AM | Permalink

    Followed a link from Pinterest, was hunting around your blog and (a) realized you've been commenting on my blog! Hi! and (b) these hoagies are going to be made here. Pronto. 🙂

  2. Bree
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

    I have been so excited to make these for weeks and bought all the stuff, stuffed my bread and now it won't fit in my crockpot! 🙁 Think I can do it in the oven? What temp and how long? Thanks for the help!!

  3. Robin Sue
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    Bree- Oh no, that is terrible. Yes wrap it all up in a double layer of foil and place it in your oven at 200 degrees for 2 hours. Give that a go!

  4. Bree
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 6:32 PM | Permalink

    Thank you so much Robin!! I'm going to give that a try!

  5. Tina
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    Looks so yummy! I'm going to make this for dinner for tonight and I would love to know what sides you served with it.

  6. Robin Sue
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

    Tina- You can always go with soup, fresh veggies like carrot sticks, celery, radishes, peppers, etc. Fresh fruit, salad, coleslaw, chips. My kids love apple sauce as a frequent side and have gotten used to the unsweetened apple sauce with a sprinkle of cinnamon, so good with this type of spicy, salty samdwich. Heve fun!!

  7. Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey
    Posted December 13, 2011 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

    Hi Robin, I wanted to ask you if you would give me permission to post your pics of the crockpot sandwich on my blog ? I would give a link back to your blog .My followers would love this recipe !
    I can't wait to try this ! I am putting your blog in my favorites.

  8. Robin Sue
    Posted December 14, 2011 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    Theresa- You can use a photo with link to this post so your readers can get the recipe here! Thanks for wanting to share.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

    Omigosh, this looks UNBELIEVABLY delicious. So brilliant!
    I added it onto this list of the best crockpot recipes, must try it soon.

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. brettandangela
    Posted February 18, 2012 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

    Sandwiches were FABULOUS!!! However next time I would buy already (fully) sliced bread – assemble and wrap the sandwiches individually so people could eat as they are ready.

  11. Posted April 3, 2012 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

    I am anxious to try this recipe and would love to share it on my blog.
    I found you on Pinterest!
    Thank you for this great idea….. seems like it would be good recipe for camping too!
    Rene’ xo

  12. Darlene
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

    These look sooooo good!!!

  13. Posted April 23, 2012 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

    I would like to “pin” the crockpot grinder photo and recipe to my pinterest board. Would that be OK? Thanks. . .

    • Robin Sue
      Posted April 23, 2012 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

      The photo should work fine with links to the recipe. Thanks! Robin

  14. cyndi
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 4:27 PM | Permalink

    Grinder’s in crock pot as week speak, can’t wait to try them.

  15. Nancy
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

    What is the point of this though, I’m from Jersey and I still don’t get it. Its just a hot sandwich with the cheese melted?

  16. Posted November 12, 2012 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    This sandwich is go to comfort food in my house! Love it

  17. Kate
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 11:53 PM | Permalink

    Hi there Robin Sue! I’m wondering if there is a reason why the loaf needs to be sliced so that it’s still connected. Any reason we couldn’t just make 4-6 sandwiches, stack them together side to side, and wrap tightly enough to keep them together? That way you wouldn’t have to slice them before serving. Or, is the purpose to keep the cheese from melting through to the bottom of the stack — a reservoir, basically?

    • Robin Sue
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:52 AM | Permalink

      I think some have done this as sandwiches as you have suggested, but yeah the cheese could sink down but if you wrapped each sandwich in foil and maybe stacked them in there on the sides they may be ok.

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