How To Hold A Gluten-Free Barbecue or Cookout

A cookout or a picnic seems like the least fussy type of party you can have, but if you're planning to make yours gluten-free, you'll still need to do some advance planning. Here's what you need to know to make your gluten-free barbecue, cookout or picnic perfect (and perfectly safe) for anyone who has celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

1
Make Your Fire Gluten-Free

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That may sound crazy — how can fire be anything but gluten-free? Unfortunately, some types and brands of charcoal may contain wheat starch as an ingredient, which would render your flames somewhat risky.

You might get away with it, but I wouldn't get too close to the toxic coals with a marshmallow. Instead of taking the risk, get charcoal without wheat as an ingredient. Here are the details:

2
Gluten-Free Hot Dogs

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Most hot dogs are pretty safe, gluten-wise — in fact, at least one major brand recently removed the gluten ingredient in its popular frankfurters. You shouldn't have any trouble picking up some franks at most stores that will suit your gluten-free diet.

That being said, however, certain brands of hot dogs meet stricter standards than the minimum accepted standard of less than 20 parts per million of gluten in the finished product. If you're more sensitive than average, or you just prefer to minimize your exposure to trace gluten, you may want to consider hot dogs that have been certified gluten-free. Here's a list of most national hot dog brands and their gluten testing standards:

3
Gluten-Free Hamburgers

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You probably won't have to worry too much about gluten in hamburgers, either ... but as with everything involving that poisonous substance, there are a couple of exceptions.

Some pre-made hamburger patties can include bread crumbs or another grain-based product as filler. When you buy pre-formed patties at the grocery store, you should check on this; fortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that any grain in hamburger patties be disclosed on the label. For more information on gluten in hamburgers, check out this article:

4
Gluten-Free Buns

© Udi's Gluten-Free

Once you've got your hamburgers and hot dogs, you need buns to put them in. There are more than half-a-dozen companies making gluten-free hamburger and hot dog buns these days — lots more than there were even a couple of years ago.

Nonetheless, getting them in time for your gluten-free barbecue might require planning ahead — only a few well-stocked grocery stores are likely to carry gluten-free hamburger and hot dog buns, and you may need to order some and have them shipped in. Once you find some you like, get enough to last you all summer and freeze them. Here's what's available:

5
Snacks and Munchies

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You can't have a picnic without munchies in the form of potato chips, corn chips and even multigrain chips ... you just can't. Fortunately, the past few years (not to mention the explosion in popularity of the gluten-free diet) have brought the gluten-free community copious snack options, many of which are available at your local grocery store. These lists explain what's available, and which options might contain less trace gluten than others:

6
Gluten-Free Beer

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I've always thought of beer as a drink that's best enjoyed in the summer, and that hasn't changed now that I'm following the gluten-free diet.

Fortunately, there's a long — and growing! — list of gluten-free beers on the market these days. It's possible to find Budweiser's Redbridge beer in many different grocery stores (we even have it here), but if you want to try some others, you've got plenty to choose from. Here's what's available:

7
Finally ... Toasted Marshmallows

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Toasted marshmallows are the perfect ending for a perfect barbecue, and they're fortunately easy to enjoy gluten-free. We use Kraft brand marshmallows, which are available nationwide in most stores (Kraft probably makes the most popular marshmallow on the market). However, there are other safe brands available — see Gluten-Free Marshmallows for the details.

It's even possible to create gluten-free s'mores, just like you used to make back in summer sleepaway camp. My article Gluten-Free S'mores explains exactly what you'll need to buy and do.

Enjoy your gluten-free barbeque!

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