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Summer has arrived and that can only mean one thing – gluten free BBQ season is upon us once again. If you have coeliac disease don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with top tips for a coeliac-safe BBQ, plus my favourite gluten free BBQ recipes and gluten free BBQ sides.

A gluten free beef burger at a bbg on a pink plate.
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Creating a gluten free barbecue is simple with a few tips and tricks to remember. I’ve put together these easy tips to help you barbecue safely on a gluten free diet.

Either use these tips yourself for a fuss-free gluten free BBQ or share them with your family and friends if they are hosting you.

And if you’re stuck for inspiration, there’s a collection of gluten free barbecue recipes below as well as my favourite gluten free barbecue side dishes.

Cross contamination on the BBQ

The main worry with a BBQ is the risk of cross contamination.

As someone with coeliac disease, even a tiny speck of gluten can make me ill and cause long-term damage, so it’s something to be taken seriously.

Despite the rumours, heat unfortunately does NOT kill gluten, so don’t believe anyone who tells you ‘it just burns off’.

That sadly is just not true.

Here are a few tips to remember for a gluten free BBQ:

  • Cross Contamination: The essential rule for BBQs, as with preparing any gluten free food for people with coeliac disease, is to always ensure the gluten free food is kept completely separate from any gluten-containing food.
  • Keep it clean: Always use a clean grill. Make sure the BBQ has been cleaned down before using it to cook anything gluten free.
  • Use the top shelf: If your grill has multiple shelves I’d recommend having one as a ‘gluten free shelf’. It’s best if this is the highest one to avoid any contaminated food dripping or crumbling onto your gluten free goods.
  • Using disposable BBQs? The best idea is to either make sure everything cooked is gluten free or have one as a dedicated gluten free BBQ only.
  • Cook gluten free first: If you are concerned about cross contamination, it can be a good idea to cook the gluten free food first and remove it before any other food is cooked. If you don’t want to eat separately from everyone else you can just wrap it in foil or place in a low oven to keep warm.
  • No double dipping: Always use clean plates, tongs, skewers and utensils for cooking gluten free food and make sure this is not shared with any gluten-containing foods.
  • Be careful of crumbs from burger buns. If these are toasted on the grill you’ll want to make sure your gluten free food stays well clear. Always use separate chopping boards for cutting gluten free bread rolls too.
  • Separate spoons: When it comes to sides and salads make sure each dish has its own serving spoon and that these are not shared to avoid any cross contamination.
A greek chicken kebab on a plate with rice salad.

Finding gluten free BBQ foods

Nowadays it’s pretty easy to find gluten free BBQ foods without even having to look in the free from aisle.

Most supermarket burgers and sausages are gluten free and it’s often the minority which are not.

Some are made with breadcrumbs (use my homemade burger recipe to be safe) so be aware of this and always double check.

This makes it really easy to be able to put together an entirely gluten free BBQ menu without feeling like people are missing out.

A lot of the pre-marinaded meats and fish are also gluten free, though they may not be labelled as such.

As long as there is no gluten in the ingredients and no ‘may contain’ warnings, then they should be safe for coeliac consumption.

Fresh meat and fish (unseasoned/marinaded) are also naturally gluten free – though be aware some supermarkets do (for some obscure reason) mark them as a ‘may contain’.

BBQ pork koftas on a tray with side salad.

Gluten free BBQ sauce and marinades

A lot of BBQ sauces, spice mixes and marinades are gluten free, but not all of them.

While a gluten free marinade should be easy to find, you’ll have to double check all of the ingredients lists.

But again, marinading all of the meats/fish/vegetables in a gluten free sauce will help to eliminate any cross contamination risk.

As for sauces to throw onto your burger, check out my guide to gluten free sauces and condiments for more information on what’s coeliac-safe.

A gluten free cheeseburger in a gluten free burger bun held in a hand.

If you’ve managed to nail the BBQ itself, don’t forget the sides and salads too!

Fresh vegetables are always gluten free, so you can throw together a salad with everything from lettuce and tomatoes to carrots, radishes and peppers.

Potato salad is a favourite of mine and an absolute BBQ classic. My two childhood BBQ side favourites – pasta salad and couscous – are not gluten free, but I made my own alternatives to these instead.

Jacket potatoes are another easy gluten free win – just make sure if you serve them with butter that it doesn’t have any crumbs in.

The main difficulty will be with the burger or hot dog buns. But you can make your own delicious gluten free burger buns (just reshape them for hot dogs).

Always ensure any gluten-containing bread is cut separately and that you have a dedicated chopping board and knife for gluten free bread.

A close up of a bowl of potato salad at a BBQ.

How to have a coeliac-safe BBQ

At the end of the day, preparation and communication are the key to hosting a gluten free, coeliac-safe BBQ.

It’s important whoever is cooking understands the importance of avoiding cross contamination and is on board with helping out.

Some people find it hard to explain it’s a serious thing and not a ‘faddy diet’, so try to remain calm and explain things gently.

If you are really unsure, it can always be a good backup plan to have a cool bag in the car ready with some pre-cooked burgers or sausages you can reheat!

Me sat enjoying a plate of gluten free BBQ food outside.

Try to remember if someone is hosting for you, how difficult it was when you first tried to get your head around gluten free.

People often have the best intentions but can still slip up, so offer to help in a friendly and non-evasive way.

Perhaps you can offer to bring along some side dishes or help with the grilling so you can keep a watchful eye and be able to relax.

Hosting for someone who is gluten free and think you’ve accidentally dropped crumbs on a burger? Or can’t remember which ones are gluten free? Please say!

I’d much rather know to avoid something that accidentally get glutened which could cause more arguments down the line.

Gluten free BBQ recipes

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your own gluten free barbecue recipes, I do have a few already!

These are some of my favourite gluten free BBQ recipes to start your firing up the grill:

Gluten Free BBQ Recipes

Enjoy BBQ season!

At the end of the day, with more and more gluten free products out there as standard, a gluten free BBQ should be pretty easy to do.

I hope you manage to enjoy a summer filled with delicious al-fresco dining!

And if you have any tips and tricks for a gluten free BBQ, please share them in the comments below, I’d love to hear them.

delicious gluten free meals a cookbook by sarah howells

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About Sarah Howells

Hi, I'm Sarah! Diagnosed with coeliac disease 20 years ago, I'm on a mission to create the best gluten free recipes since sliced bread. No fruit salads or dry brownies here.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi there i like your bread recipes but the problem is i am not allowed yeast
    what can i use instead of yeast??