Savor the Summer - Gluten-Free Tips for the Perfect BBQ
By Jennifer Harris, Gluten-Free Go-To Guide
Summer is here and grilling season has commenced. Time to fire up the grill and fill the air with the scent of charred meat by hosting or attending barbecues. If you are gluten intolerant/sensitive, attending a barbeque can be tricky. It may not seem like cross contact will be an issue, but there are a number of places gluten can be present, such as: meats, condiments, grill surface, seasonings, and marinades.
Here are some great tips for throwing a successful gluten-free barbeque whether you are hosting or attending:
- Be the host – if the barbeque is at your house using your food and your grill, then you have control over what goes on it.
- Ensure all meats are gluten free – some meats contain ‘gluten’ fillers, so be sure to check the label and only use those meats that are free of gluten.
- Check spices, seasoning mixes, marinades, and sauces - Spices are naturally gluten free, so if the container doesn't list any ingredients, it means it only contains the pure spice on the label. Marinating the meat makes it nice and tender, but it can also render the end product full of gluten. Wheat should be prominently listed on the label of any spice, seasoning mix, marinade, and sauce, so be sure to double check before using. Italian dressing is a great and inexpensive marinade.
- Keep buns off the grill –heat up wheat-based buns in the oven or toaster, but if that isn’t an option, dedicate an area of the grill to be the ‘bun free zone’ to keep cross contact at bay.
- Use tinfoil – keep your food in a gluten free-only ‘bubble’ by covering it with tinfoil, so it doesn’t come into direct contact with the grill surface. Gluten doesn't burn off at high temperatures because it is a sticky particle, not bacteria.
- Use squeeze bottle condiments - squeeze bottles don't need to come into contact with bread/buns, which makes them a perfect choice. If a knife goes in and out of the condiment bottle, chances are it has left wheat particles behind, so don’t use it. Bring individual squeeze packets of condiments with you to use.
- ‘BYOB’…bring your own buns - I always bring a Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free bun to a barbeque because I don't expect the host to provide one. How would they know what to get and what if the gluten-free bun they offer contains additional allergens I avoid? I don't want the host to fuss over me, or exclude me because they don't think they can feed me safely.
- ‘BYOB’…bring your own booze – it is best to bring your own gluten-free beer or cider to a barbeque. Chances are the host doesn’t know the difference between gluten-free beer (Bard’s, Greens, New Grist, New Planet, etc.) and gluten-removed beer (Brunehaut, Estrella Damm Daura, and Omission).
- Bring a shared dessert - I don't know about you, but I love dessert and I hate to be left out, so I always offer to bring one. Who doesn't like ice cream, or homemade sundaes? Fresh fruit salad or a nice slice of watermelon is usually a crowd-pleaser too.
Canyon Bakehouse's buns are at the top of my list because they are made with 100 percent whole grains. Their buns taste great and they are sturdy enough to hold up to a barrage of condiments. Their hot dog buns hold a special place in my heart because they are soft right out of the package. I like to heat them with the hot dog because it makes them even softer.