How to Stay Coeliac Safe at a BBQ

27th July 2019
Blog post

As a relatively new coeliac, when summer arrived I panicked slightly – “how do we even have a gluten free BBQ?!”. My family had got semi-used to coeliac safe cooking inside, but having a BBQ seemed like a totally different ball game. Especially at other peoples houses!!

Here’s a few bits to consider:

(1) HIDDEN GLUTEN to watch out for

Its easy to get carried away at a BBQ & forget to check each and every labels, especially at other peoples houses.

Common places to check at a BBQ:

  • mustards,
  • pre-dressed salad,
  • own brand coke,
  • crisps,
  • marinated meats,
  • sausages from the butcher (my local butchers always contains wheat – easy to miss as most supermarket sausages are gluten free).

Want to read some more sneaky places you might find gluten? “Hidden Gluten: 20 foods to triple check”.


Here’s some of the BBQ risks I’ve thought of and how to combat them:

(1) Cross Contamination Risk with Condiments

WATCH OUT: If people are using a spoon to scoop out some mayo from a jar, spreading over their “regular” bun and putting the spoon back into the jar then you can’t use the mayo!! Same goes if they’re dunking non-gf crisps in your gf hummus.


A. At my house:

  1. Where possible we use squeezy bottles as you can squeeze some out onto your bun without touching anything!
  2. For jars, we use a Sharpie to write “not for Jess” on any of the jars someone accidentally contaminates. I put a spoon in each of the safe jars and explain to our guests that they can’t touch gluten with that spoon… and then find myself staring as people use them to make sure they are still safe!!

B. At someone elses house, I take my own bits or just give it a miss.

(2) Non-gluten free food on the BBQ

WATCH OUT: Don’t mix your gf food with non-gf on the same BBQ.


1: Cook yours on the BBQ first and then shove it in the oven to stay warm.
2. Cook yours inside.
3: If you’re at someone else’s house, you could also cook yours at home and take it along with you.
4: Use a separate BBQ. Maybe a cheap, disposable foil one?
5: Use a totally separate end of the BBQ and wrap all your food in tin foil. Make sure you use separate utensils for yours.

(3) An Unwashed BBQ!

WATCH OUT: Where gluten might have been cooked on it before. The heat won’t have killed the gluten.

SOLUTION: Even if the whole BBQ is going to be gluten free, make sure the BBQ has been cleaned down before use incase the previous BBQ had gluten on it.


Here’s some of the bits I use:

  • Mustard – Mustard itself is gluten free but some will have wheat added so just be careful, for example Colemans English Mustard in a jar!
  • Tomato Sauce – haven’t see a brand that isn’t gluten free! We use Heinz.
  • BBQ Sauce – again, loads are gluten free. Our fave is “Classic BBQ – rich and smokey” by Heinz.

(4) SOMETHING I ALWAYS DO: Plate mine up first.

Sadly, it does mean I rarely go back for seconds but at least there’s no risk of your guests accidentally eating their regular burger then accidentally touching & contaminating all the coeliac safe food.

If you don’t live with a coeliac, its really difficult to appreciate the severity of it and know what precautions need to be taken (I had absolutely no clue before my diagnosis)…it’s too easy for mistakes to be made!

Just give yourself a massive plate of food to start with 😉

(5) At Someone Else’s House

It can be so difficult, can’t it?! Hopefully section 2 above gives you lots of tips for how to manage it, including:

  • Bring your own cooked/uncooked food
  • Ask to cook yours on the bbq first and keep it warm in the oven
  • Take your own condiments so you know they haven’t been cross contaminated before. I find it awkward to take basic things like ketchup and mayo, so I bring special bits like gluten free chutneys & chilli jam as a “gift” ;)! When its opened, I take my serving first and then give the rest to everyone else and let them cross contaminate it all the like!

I’ve also got a little letter you could send to your host if they’re keen to cater for you – hopefully it covers all the basics and prevents you having to explain it all as it can sound a bit overwhelming over the phone!

(6) THE BEST BUN for your burger

As voted for by you lovely lot, for Brioche we recommend Genius & Schar Brioche. For White Rolls, Marks & Spencer’s and Morrison’s. Warburtons Soft Squares are great too but a little non-traditional! They freeze well too.

Hope this helps,

Jess x


  • Fiona ”Moorhare”

    27th July 2019 at 6:12 pm

    I really appreciate your IG feed and this blog. I’ve been coeliac for around 20 years, but I’m always learning more things from you. Happy and safe gf eating.
    Many thanks. ?

    1. jkitchengf

      11th August 2019 at 1:47 pm

      thank you so much!! means the world to me 🙂

  • Dymphna

    10th August 2020 at 6:46 pm

    Love reading this every week, myself & my niece are gluten/dairy intolerant & my aunt is coeliac and find this a wealth of information. It was my nieces confirmation last week so our curry & deserts were cooked in my house as i knew from you about cross contamination. My aunt was delighted to be able to eat food where she knew it hadnt been contaminated instead of the gf crackers she had brought. Keep up the great work ?

    1. jkitchengf

      12th August 2020 at 11:15 am

      Thank you so so much – reading this has put the biggest smile on my face this morning. Absolutely love doing my best to help the gf community so you’ll be seeing lots more from me 🙂 Thank you!!

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