When it comes to barbecues, it is a minefield for contamination, however if you are well prepared there is no reason any Coeliac should miss out on some delicious barbie food on a beautiful summers day, whether on the beach or in the back garden.
11 Gluten Free Barbecue Tips
Planning your own BBQ or maybe going to someone else's? We have some top tips on how to stay safe and avoid gluten cross contamination this summer.
Added 19th June 2018
Updated 10th November 2020
It really all comes down to preparation and understanding so we have some tips for both barbecue scenarios; at home and away from home!
Your own barbecue
1. Squeezy sauce bottles or own jars
Use squeezy bottles so they don't come into contact with any bread rolls or get two sets of jars, one you can keep gluten free (we use our gluten free stickers so everyone knows not to use it) and one everyone else can use. Option 1 is most cost effective but option 2 means you have more control over keeping the bottles/jars gluten free.
2. Keep it naturally gluten free
When it comes to the barbie itself there are so many products which are naturally gluten free and so many burger and sausage options around which are gluten free too there is no need to even have gluten on the barbie. All the major supermarkets these days have gluten free sausages and burgers in with the regular ranges and taste just like normal, Aldi have a superb range (see this blog). Team these up with chicken, jacket potatoes and homemade kebabs! For other options you can easily throw together salads without croutons, coleslaw, cheeses etc. The only thing you many want non gluten free for others is bread.
3. Non gluten free on bottom shelf
If you do find you have some gluten containing products, ensure you put them on a bottom shelf on the BBQ if you have one (so they don't drip on the gluten free), if not section a bit out with tin foil to keep it off the gluten free.
4. Keep your bread separate or keep it all gluten free
There are a few breads out there that are gluten free that you can barely distinguish from non gluten free, the main one being from Wheat Free Bakery. However if you can't or don't want to keep all the bread gluten free, make sure you keep the gluten free well away from the non gluten free, keep yours covered so no crumbs get on them!
5. Colour code or label cutlery so knifes and spoons don't get mixed up.
If it isn't all gluten free try and use different coloured spoons and cutlery so they don't get mixed up, one spoon to one bowl, keep gluten free bowls one colour and non gluten free another, just remember to tell everyone not to mix them up!
Dealing with your own BBQ is much easier than going somewhere else, you are obviously more in control of what is going on there.
Elsewhere can be a very different experience though.
Someone elses barbecue
1. Ask ahead if it will be safe for you, educate them on the importance of cross contamination
Education is key, make sure the host understands the importance of cross contamination so you can stay safe at their event. I don't think they would want you falling ill at their party as much as you don't want to be ill, so make sure they completely understand the implications. Also make sure they understand not all burgers and sausages are gluten free and to check ingredients.
2. Take your own bread
Gluten free bread is expensive and if you are the only Coeliac would you expect them to really buy you gluten free rolls especially (well I suppose it depends how close to the host you are really)? I know I wouldn't, take your own you can take the brand you prefer too and make sure it's well away from gluten containing ones.
3. Unsocialable, but take your own bits such as salads and dips so you know you at least have something in an emergency
If you don't want to risk contamination by double dipping or your are unsure they understand the implications or contamination, take some of your own bits, dips and salads are great in an emergency, the host will just think you are being helpful when in reality you have a different motive!
4. Ask them to grill yours on a separate section, if it doesn't have tiers then section a bit off with tin foil.
Like with doing one at home if you have gluten containing food, ask the host to put gluten free on the top tier if the barbecue has tiers in, if not ask them to separate the BBQ with tin foil to prevent cross contamination.
5. Ask them to use two sets of utensils, tongs, brushes, trays, cutting boards etc.
We Coeliacs have to make it difficult don't we, stress they need to prepare gluten free separately, ask the host to use different utensils and cutting boards, if they can, try to mark or colour code so both parties know which set of utensils is for gluten free.
6. Make sure they have a no double dipping rule!
Double dipping is the worst crime at a BBQ, ask for a no double dipping policy, you don't want those gluteny spoons heading towards the lovely gluten free dips!
Go and enjoy your barbecue, follow a few simple tips and there is no reason you cannot enjoy one safely!