While I am off in Florida learning about Char-Broil’s latest equipment innovations and fishing for our grilling cook-off, here is one of my articles I wrote for Char-Broil earlier this year.
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A backyard barbecue seems like an innocent event to invite your friends to doesn’t it? But if one of your guests is gluten-intolerant or has celiac disease, there can be lots of hidden sources of gluten that are hard to detect. The last thing we want is to have anyone get sick or have to go home hungry because we failed to prepare foods they can eat.
Where To Look For Gluten at a Barbecue
Any plain cut of meat or poultry is naturally gluten-free, unless they have added broths, seasonings or marinades, but ground or composed products such as sausages often contain fillers, which are commonly wheat-based. Going completely against common sense because they are marketed as “healthy alternatives”, most veggie burgers are crammed with gluten, but there are some producers making gluten-free versions (such as Sunshine brand). Sausages, hot dogs, and veggie burgers should clearly state on the packaging that they are gluten-free or I would recommend you avoid them.
If you are going to be making hot dogs or burgers, you have quite a few options to consider for alternatives to bread buns. There are good quality gluten-free buns that you can buy in some grocery stores (look for Udi’s brand or Kinnikinnick for example), you can wrap the dogs or burgers in lettuce leaves (use trimmed iceberg for best results), or offer them on plates to eat with a knife and fork.
Dry rubs, marinades, seasoning blends and prepared barbecue sauces can all contain gluten. Asian products and anything that contains soy sauce has gluten in it unless they are specifically labeled gluten-free (look for gluten-free Tamari or San-Jay brand soy sauces). Note that many products contain soy for its flavor enhancement or “umami” quality. Marinades made with beer are off limits. Make sure you read the labels and when in doubt, either leave it out or contact the company to be certain that they are safe for all of your family and guests.
Barbecuing goes beyond just what is prepared on the grill. You always have side dishes, salads, beverages, and desserts to consider as well. Of course macaroni salad is one of the standards that would not be edible by those with gluten-intolerance unless you make it with GF pasta. You can substitute a rice salad instead. Remember that bulgar, farro, spelt, couscous, and barley are all grains that must be avoided by anyone with gluten sensitivities. The good news? Homemade potato salad, tossed green salads, and baked beans are easy to make and if you choose to buy prepared, are usually gluten-free!
Ask your guests how careful they have to be about gluten. Each person varies in their degree of sensitivity. Some people, like me, do not have to be as careful about cross contamination, but others can become sick for days or even hospitalized when ANY gluten brushes against foods they are eating. Look to your guests to help guide you on what they can and cannot have to eat and ALWAYS read the labels looking for hidden gluten!
If you need more information on specific ingredients to avoid, recipes for alternate flours and how they can be used in baking, and additional information that I have gathered, please click on the “Gluten-Free” tab at the top of the page.
Today I am sharing a wonderful recipe for grilled duck breasts seasoned with an Asian-inspired sauce that is safe for those with Celiac or gluten-intolerance.
As stated above, most soy sauces and other Asian sauces do contain wheat or other gluten products. Make certain you purchase gluten-free sauces and ingredients or make your own where you can control the ingredients better.
- Make the Marinade: Mix the mirin, hoisin sauce, plum jam, ginger, and Sriracha together in resealable plastic bag.
- Prepare and Marinate the Duck: Score the skin on the duck breasts with a sharp knife to make a diagonal crosshatch pattern (cut through the skin and fat layer, not into the meat) and season liberally with pepper. Place the duck breasts in the bag with the marinade. Seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Marinate the duck breasts in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove the duck from the marinade and place on a foil-covered plate. Reserve the marinade.
- Cook Duck: Preheat a gas grill on high or build a medium-heat charcoal fire. Place duck breasts skin-side down on hot grill, reduce the gas grill to medium, and cook for 6 minutes. (Remove the foil from the plate and discard. The plate is now clean and ready for the cooked meat with no danger of cross contamination!)
- The dripping fat will cause flare-ups. Use tongs to move the breasts around on the grill to prevent burning as the fat renders from beneath the skin. Covering the grill to reduce oxygen also helps control flames. If you are cooking on a charcoal grill, build the fire on one side, leaving you with a cooler side to move the duck to if the flames get too high.
- Flip the breasts over, meat-side down and cook for 5 more minutes or until it reaches 135°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the breast. Once the fat has rendered and you’ve flipped the breasts over so the meat side is down, most of the flare-ups should subside. You can leave the lid off the grill at the point unless you want a stronger smoke flavor.
- Remove duck from the grill and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest 10 minutes to finish cooking and redistribute the juices.
- Make Sauce from Marinade: Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and add an additional 1/4 cup mirin and 2 tsp hoisin. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium-high and boil for 1 minute to kill any bacteria. Taste and adjust seasonings. Keep warm over a low heat until ready to serve.
- To Serve: With a very sharp knife, slice thinly onthe bias and serve, passing cooked marinade sauce at the table.
- Combine all of the above ingredients in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for a week.
- Yield: about 1/3 cup sauce
Create a New Tradition Today!
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