Time to fire up the grill and start barbecuing because summer is here. It seems not a day goes by when the aroma of grilled meat doesn’t fill the air. If you are cooking for someone who is gluten intolerant, just a few simple steps will ensure a safe and tasty meal. Eating a burger with a knife and fork works in a pinch, but it just isn’t the same experience, or very filling.
I love attending barbecues, but there are a number of sources of gluten that needs to be considered, such as: condiments, toasting buns on the grill surface, seasonings, marinades, and utensils. I like to come prepared with my own gluten-free bun. I don’t expect the host to provide a gluten-free bun because a) how would they know what to get, b) what if the gluten-free bun contains additional allergens I avoid, and c) I don’t want the host to fuss over me, or exclude me because they don’t think they can feed me safely.
Here are some great tips for successful gluten-free grilling whether you are the host, or the attendee:
- Be the host – If it’s your house, your food and your grill, so you have control over what goes on it.
- Bring your own sides – The recipes are endless, so why not bring a gluten-free dish to pass? Some people may decide to eat before they go to ensure they will get a full meal.
- Use tinfoil – Keep your food in a gluten free-only “bubble” by covering it with tinfoil so you don’t have to worry about cross contact from the grill surface. Gluten doesn’t burn off at high temperatures because it is a particle, not bacteria.
- Use squeeze bottle condiments – Squeeze bottles don’t come into contact with bread/buns making them a perfect choice.
- Check spices and marinades – Spices are naturally gluten free. 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 prominent on the label and there are many safe and tasty gluten-free options at the grocery store.
- 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 it. Who doesn’t like ice cream, or homemade sundaes? Fresh fruit salad, or a nice slice of watermelon is usually a crowd-pleaser too.
Now, let’s talk about gluten-free buns. It is hard to pick just one favorite, but Canyon Bakehouse’s buns are at the top of the list. Their artisan-style breads are made with 100 percent whole grains with great taste, texture, and they are sturdy enough to hold up to lots of condiments. I think their hot dog buns are my favorite because they are so soft out of the package. I like to heat them with the hot dog because it makes them even softer.
Happy grilling season!
Author Information: Jennifer D. Harris, Atlanta, GA
Jennifer D. Harris, http://www.jenniferglutenfreeingeorgia.blogspot.com
Atlanta Gluten-Free Examiner
Program Chair, Atlanta Metro CeliacsTwitter@jenniferGFinGA