What would be good substitutes for non-stick spray? I've heard butter or vegetable oil. Would something like Crisco work?
Non-stick spray is mostly canola oil plus some water and an emulsifier. So canola oil would work well as would most vegetable oils.
To get an application closer to non-stick spray you can pour some on a paper towel and rub it on your cooking surface. You can also buy misters that are made especially for this purpose.
Crisco is mostly soy bean oil and palm oil. It will technically work well, but personally I find the flavor of palm oil to be a little stronger and not as appetizing as other vegetable oils.
Pretty much any oil or liquid fat (like melted butter) will do. The thing you want is to match the burn points of your oils. The higher the heat the more careful you need to be. So if it calls for canola spray, melted butter may not be right because it can burn at much lower temperatures. If in doubt, stick with a high-heat oil like canola or safflower.
If applying it is a problem where spraying would help, using a brush will usually do almost as well.