In light of the fact that we are apparently expecting a bit of a heatwave I am re-posting this helpful article from last Summer on hosting a Gluten Free BBQ. Fingers crossed for good weather this weekend everyone!
The Sun is out the weather is glorious (well it was yesterday!) and it is the season of the BBQ. Whether you have a serious BBQ set up in your back garden, a lovingly constructed brick number that doubles as a pizza oven or a disposable tray barbie there is nothing like firing up the gas or coals and enjoying some al fresco cooking.
If you are celiac, or have some celiac friends you want to cater for, barbequing can present some challenges but they are easy enough to overcome. The main job of a host is to put their guests at ease and make them feel welcome. Many people with celiac get stressed out at the thought of the stress they are putting their prospective hosts under and will often volunteer to not eat or to bring their own food. This isn’t good for either party so communication is key, chat to your GF friend, ask for advice or suggestions and let them know that you take their condition seriously.
The main thing to think about is your cooking surface, the grill tray. If you have previously cooked breaded food stuffs or anything in a bbq sauce or marinade that had gluten containing ingredients such as wheat, barley, oats and rye then you need to scald and scrub that tray. If it will fit put it in the dishwasher otherwise really get in there with a metal grill scourer.
Another option, if you plan on cooking a limited selection of meat specifically for your GF buddy, would be to get a disposable BBQ that can be a dedicated GF area.
Check the ingredients of your meat. If you are using fresh meat such as chops or steaks then buy them free of marinades or rubs and then either make your own or buy a Gluten Free version.
Check the ingredients of burgers and sausages. For burgers you want a burger patty that is all meat with no breadcrumb filler. Ask the butcher or if you are buying pre-packed check the label. You could also buy some mince and make your own. There is a much larger selection of GF sausages about now than there used to be, Hodgins, Clonakilty and Jane Russell sausages are all available in a variety of super markets and Marks & Spencer’s do a nice selection of sausies using a gluten free crumb.
GF bread can be a minefield, people tend to have preferences and you should where possible abide by them. For instance I like the Kelkin Sourdough bread, my nephew who is also celiac thinks it is wretched stuff. Ask your GF guest if they have a particular brand of bread they would like you to get, they may suggest they bring their own and that will solve the problem.
Set up a little GF serving section, have separate cheese, tomatoes and pickles etc. For sauces you could either get squeezy bottles of condiments or decant tomato sauce, mayonnaise and mustard in to little serving bowls or jars so that your GF guest will know they are safe from cross contamination.
If you are making salads you should again check ingredients, avoid croutons and dressings that have gluten. If you are making a variety of salads some with gluten containing ingredients then each bowl should have its own serving spoon to avoid cross contamination. Let your guests know the importance of keep the spoons in their assigned bowls, label them if you have to, to avoid cross contamination. Another handy thing to do would be to make little ingredients cards that you can put next to each salad so your GF guest knows what is and isn’t safe to eat without having to find you and ask you. For label inspiration look at pintrest, you can do many cute things with card and twine.
It may seem a daunting task to prepare food for someone with celiac but with a little planning and research you should have no problem organising a bbq where everyone is happy and well fed. Your Gluten Free friends will really appreciate any effort you go to.