13 best gluten-free BBQ foods
Forget the sourdough and pick up the sausages with our gluten-free BBQ selection
Is there anything that says British summertime quite like a barbecue? With all the lovely weather we’ve been having recently (not to mention a spate of bank holidays), the season is already well underway.
But what if you or one of your guests has coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance? You might think it’s easy as picking up some gluten-free bread but gluten has a way of getting into all sorts of foods – it’s used a filler in both burgers and sausages, as well as being a thickener in sauces like ketchup.
However, don’t panic! It doesn’t mean that those who can’t eat gluten can’t enjoy a barbecue. As someone who has been gluten free for several years, I decided to test out the range of gluten-free BBQ foods on the market now.
You’ll find plenty of meaty products, but also some of the other staples you’ll need for a gluten-free BBQ, such as the best baps, ketchup and side dishes. From spicy kebabs to BBQ bundles, I fired up the grill and whittled it down to 13 of the best...
Butcher’s Selection 8 Minted Lamb Kofta Kebabs: £4, Asda
These juicy minted lamb kofta kebabs were a huge hit with me – as well as several non gluten-free taste-testers! Made from 78 per cent lamb, and a mix of rice flour, mint and other spices, they are perfect for those who like plenty of flavour without too much spice.
The kebabs come in packs of eight and are a little smaller than some of the other gluten-free products; so while this makes them great for snacking, you’ll probably find you need more than one to satisfy your hunger. If you’re looking for something a little more exotic, Asda also makes these kebabs in two more flavours: Indian and Mexican. Overall, these will bring a bit more variety to your barbecue and alone are proof that gluten free in no way means taste free.
Mediterranean Style Block: £2.50, Violife
When you’re gluten free, options are limited already. So for those who are also vegan or dairy free, it can feel impossible at times! Violife’s Mediterranean block is a dream on the BBQ and is a great alternative to the usual boring salads or veggie burgers on offer.
The block is very similar in texture and appearance to halloumi, but while it doesn’t quite match up to it in terms of taste (it doesn’t replicate the flavour palate of the Greek cheese but does taste incredibly cheesy and rich) it melted beautifully in a matter of minutes.
Unlike most vegan cheeses, it didn’t disintegrate into a gooey mess but kept its hard exterior on the outside while being deliciously gooey on the inside. I don’t know how Violife manages to do it, but this is a little block of vegan magic.
Beef, Bacon and Cheese Burger: £7 (pack of 2), James of Shepperton Butchers
Recently crowned 2018’s best speciality burger at the Q Guild of Butchers BBQ Awards, this rich and velvety burger is almost the size of two regular ones! You might well struggle to finish it; not only is it supersized but the patty is stuffed with smoked bacon and Monterey Jack cheese; providing a delicious melt-in-the-middle texture. At £3.50 each, these burgers aren’t cheap but they’ll certainly add the wow factor to your barbecue and, after tasting them yourselves, you’ll be left in no doubt as to why they’re award winning. Currently available for delivery across southwest London.
Cheese & Onion Baps: £1.75 (pack of 2), Wheat Free Bakery
We all know gluten-free bread can be a bit hit and miss. Not only do we have to hold our breath that we won’t end up with a holey loaf, there’s also a great deal of variation terms of taste and texture. A favourite in the coeliac community is Wheat-Free Bakery; a dedicated bakery for gluten-free folks which offers everything from doughnuts to pizza bases.
I tested a range of their rolls but the cheese and onion baps came out on top – a nice alternative to the regular rolls on the market. Other than being slightly dry (an inevitable drawback of gluten-free food), these baps fared extremely well in the taste test; the cheesy topping added to the flavour and the fact they come in small packs of two is great if you’re the only gluten-free person in your family.
BBQ Fish Box: £55, The Cornish Fish Monger
The Cornish Fish Monger offers sustainably sourced fish from local fishermen in Cornwall and South Devon. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to some barbecue foods, its BBQ fish box is gluten free and packed with a great selection of fresh fish and seafood.
Inside our box were four weighty salmon fillets, plaice, scallops and mackerel – everything you need for a fish-themed barbecue. It’d have been nice to have some cooking ideas included (cooking mackerel on a grill was a new one for me!) but the fish was incredibly fresh and noticeably different in both taste and size compared to the usual kind we find in the supermarket.
At £55, it’s not cheap but given the variety of fish; the company’s commitment to fresh, local and sustainable options; and the fact it’s delivered all to your door, I still think this is a great option for those who aren’t meat lovers or are looking for a healthier BBQ alternative.
Asda Extra Special 2 Wagyu Beef Burgers: £4, Asda
Wagyu beef is known for being the priciest of beef varieties (due to the way the cattle – in this case, Scottish pedigree – are reared and fed) which is what makes Asda’s burgers (at only £4 for two) even more special.
The fact these burgers are 90 per cent meat with very little filler was evident in just how incredibly satisfying they were. Flavoured with just a sprinkle of black pepper, Asda’s wagyu beef burgers are a great-value option for meat lovers.
Ultimate BBQ Hamper: £65, Ross and Ross
This hamper is perfect for foodies who like to get creative and put their own twist on BBQs. It’s crammed with everything you need to marinade, cook and serve a variety of meats. Our huge hamper (which certainly lives up to its “ultimate” title) came with a variety of rubs (our favourites being Cajun and jerk) three different jams (habanero pineapple, hot smokey chilli chipotle and sweet chilli and lime) two rapeseed oils (original and spicy), BBQ salts and several condiments such as beetroot ketchup and hot sauce. At £65 the hamper is expensive, but it’s everything a BBQ master will need this summer.
Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries: £2.99, Strong Roots
Each barbecue needs a few side dishes to pick at whilst the meat is sizzling, and these oven-baked sweet potato fries from Strong Roots get my vote. Gluten free and vegan, these ultra-crispy fries contain 86 per cent sweet potato plus sunflower oil and only a handful of other ingredients. They’re much healthier than regular chips too since they are a source of fibre and much lower in saturated fat. A healthy, delicious side dish.
Heck Gluten-Free Family Favourite Sausages: £4, Ocado
Ask any coeliac for their go-to sausage brand, and they’ll most probably answer Heck. Known for its extensive range of gluten-free (and often dairy-free) sausages and burgers, the family favourite pack is the first of two entries in our roundup today.
At £4 for a pack of 10, this option is perfect for the whole family (and believe me, gluten lovers definitely won’t be able to tell these come with a “free from” label). Their high meat content (85 per cent in this case; but leaner varieties go up to 95 per cent) creates an incredibly moreish and meaty sausage that grills perfectly.
BBQ Box: £30, Eversfield
Can’t be bothered to head to the supermarket with a shopping list? Eversfield offers a cost-effective and hassle-free solution with its organic, grass-fed BBQ box delivered direct to your door. Enclosed were spicy chicken wings (a personal “hoorah!” item for me since it’s rare to find these gluten free), beef burgers, pork sausages, lamb koftas and chicken thighs and drumsticks. The chicken wings sizzled beautifully and were a great combination of organic meat, herbs and spices; whilst the juicy lamb koftas also went down a storm.
At £30, this box offers both exceptionally high-quality meat and exceptional value. If you don’t have time to shop around, I’d recommend ordering this box today.
Mr Organic Italian Ketchup: £2.49, Waitrose
Everyone knows condiments are key to livening up a plain burger or hot dog, but many are thickened with gluten (which is why it’s so important to check labels). Mr Organic’s Italian Ketchup is completely gluten free, organic and vegan. Containing 80 per cent tomatoes (over 30 Italian, sustainably grown ones go into each bottle), it’s packed with flavour and avoids the chemical aftertaste of some “free from” condiments. Instead of adding lots of thickeners, it relies on the freshness of natural ingredients and would be a great complement to anything on your barbecue.
Zesty Chicken Burgers: £4.00, Heck
These high-protein, low-fat (only 2.2g per grilled burger) chicken burgers are a fantastic option for health-conscious guests (or perhaps those who aren’t huge red meat lovers). A combination of 85 per cent British chicken, pea flour, lemon zest and watercress; Heck’s chicken burgers are zesty, light, but despite their calorie count, still feel hearty and flavourful.
Golden Era Ancient Grain Beer: £2.49, Beer Hawk
Finally, it’s worth giving a mention to drinks. There’s nothing quite like a beer in the sunshine whilst flipping burgers but of course, regular varieties are made with wheat. New to the gluten-free beer market this year is Golden Era which, unlike many gluten-free beers, is naturally “free from” as it’s made from a mix of grains: quinoa, buckwheat, millet and liberty hops. The result is a refreshing, light bodied beer, which is 4 per cent abv and free from any additives or preservatives.
Verdict: Gluten-free BBQ foods
Providing 10/10 in the taste department, Asda’s juicy lamb koftas get my best pick this time. However, there are still many other options worthy of a mention. If you’re a bit of a foodie, Ross and Ross’s ultimate BBQ hamper is a great way to get creative on the grill and experiment. Violife’s Mediterranean block offers a fantastic vegan option whilst James of Shepperton’s beef, bacon and cheese burger is also a must-try.
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