If you have coeliac disease or gluten intolerance, social events like barbecues can be a source of concern. Follow these top tips and you’ll be able to enjoy the ubiquitous summer barbecue without worrying about the presence of gluten.

  • Let your host(s) know about with your dietary requirements well in advance. In all likelihood, you will be sharing barbecue space with gluten-containing foods, so be on the lookout for potential points of cross-contamination.
  • If you have coeliac disease, cleaning the barbecue grill is a must, but remember that the designated brush may have crumbs embedded in the bristles from previous barbecues. Remove the grill and/or plates and wash thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Whenever possible, cook your gluten-free food first to prevent contamination.
    Cook your food in tin foil packets to be completely sure that it doesn’t come into contact with gluten.
  • Ask the cook to use separate utensils for turning and serving your food.
  • Shop-bought marinades and barbecue sauces often contain malt or wheat gluten as a binder, so be wary.
  • Many Asian-style marinades also contain soy sauce, a source of gluten, so advise friends of this before they get marinating. Gluten-free tamari is a perfect alternative.
  • Make sure none of the meat has been marinated in beer.
  • Check meats for hidden sources of gluten and ensure any meat you plan to eat is just meat and nothing else. Don’t buy anything glazed or with added spices, flavourings or colourings unless you are 100% sure they come from gluten-free sources.
  • Don’t forget to check for fillers in burgers and sausages (whether meat or veggie).
  • Make your own sauces and marinades using naturally gluten-free foods such as oils, citrus juices, garlic, ginger, honey, wine and fresh herbs.
  • Foods like coleslaw and chips can have hidden gluten that even the most well-intentioned host can mistakenly include. A good idea is to make and bring 1-2 side dishes that you can be sure are safe. There are plenty of sides that are easy to make gluten-free, including salads, coleslaw, chips, fruit skewers, corn on the cob and potato salad. Your host will appreciate the help!
  • Check lists of ingredients on nibbles and dips. If there are several different options and there is the potential for cross-contamination, then separate your portion before everyone else digs in.
  • Don’t forget that almost all beer contains gluten. Bring your own gluten-free beer or stick to wine or cider.
  • Unless you are sure that the burger buns, hot dog buns and other breads are definitely gluten-free, it’s best to go bunless.
  • Never be afraid to ask for lists of ingredients, request to read packaging or insist on best practice for avoiding cross-contamination. Your health is important and you must be your own best advocate.

Want to up your barbecue game even more? Make sure you’re avoiding these seven common pitfalls