It’s officially summer which means it’s grilling time! Grilling isn’t an issue at home for those of us that are gluten free. But with summer often comes attending barbeques at others homes. This can often add a level of stress for us with Celiac/gluten-sensitivity. This doesn’t have to be the case! I’ve mastered surviving summer parties while having fun and thought I’d share my tips!
Tips for Avoiding Gluten at Backyard Barbecues:
Call Ahead: Find out what will be served at the party. Meat naturally is gluten free, but many hot dogs/sausages are not so find out what they are having. If it’s chicken/steak/pork in its natural form then you’re fine to eat it, but you need to be aware of marinades (see below). I put together a list of hot dog and sausage brands that are gluten free, you can see that here!
Be Aware of Marinades/Sauces: If marinades/rubs/sauces are being used, find out which ones so you can determine if they’re gluten free. If not, ask the host to leave yours plain and pack your own sauce that is gluten free.
Bring your own Food: My motto is “when in doubt, go without”. If the host is unsure of the meat, just bring your own. No big deal. I ALWAYS make at least one dish for everyone, so that I know it’s gluten free and safe for me and will bring a bag of chips and salsa too. This way, everyone can eat it and I’m not packing food just for myself. Another option is to pack your entire meal from home (I do this often!).
Foil/Cast Iron Pans are your Best Friend: No matter what you’ve heard, gluten will never come off a grill that has had gluten on it. The flame WILL NOT burn gluten off. Unless you’re using a grill that has never had gluten on it. My biggest tip is to bring a cast iron pan with you that you can place on the grill and cook your own food! You can also put your food on foil and keep it separate from gluten-containing products.
Become the “Grill Master”: In our house, Erik has officially taken on this title! Whenever we go to a party where the grill is involved, he offers to oversee the food. This way he is able to keep an eye on my food and can be certain no one uses the same utensils and cross-contamination isn’t an issue.
Do Not Share Utensils: This is really simple. Always make sure the utensils being used on items containing gluten NEVER touch yours! I either bring my own with me or ask the host for separate ones.
Serve yourself First: I know this sounds rude, but really it’s not. This is important so that you can use clean serving utensils for gluten free items first and not have to worry about them being used on gluten items. Pretty much everyone in my life knows I always get my food first!
Bring Drinks: I always bring something I know I can drink, and bring enough for others too. People often like trying things that are gluten free and I often get the response “wow, I would never think this is gluten free”
I follow these simple steps when at parties and never get sick. My biggest piece of advice (like I previously mentioned) is “when in doubt, go without!”