4th of July BBQ Products Review and Giveaway

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

UPDATE:  This giveaway is now closed. The winner is Renee of Beyond Rice and Tofu. Congrats, Renee! Thanks to all who entered this giveaway. Don’t forget to check out the FreeFromGluten.com giveaway (open through Tuesday, July 12) and stay tuned for more reviews and giveaways that fit the gfe approach soon.

A while back I received an email from Dee Valdez, aka Gluten-Free Dee (you can find her on Facebook and Twitter), asking if I’d like to review complimentary Canyon Gluten-Free Bakehouse Hamburger Buns as part of a BBQ review. I’d heard some good things about these buns, so I said yes. A little bit later, more gluten-free products (again free of charge) were added to the review, all of them designed to make for a fantastic barbecue! Did they? Well, I can’t tell you that exactly because that’s not how I ended up eating them. When they arrived, I was headed on a six-day vacation with my girlfriends to Asheville, North Carolina. The day after I returned, Mr. GFE headed off on scuba diving trip with friends. While he was gone, some gluten-free blogger friends visited. Most were egg free so the buns were out and most of the other products didn’t work with our dining plans. So here’s my review, but it’s a bit “piecemeal” and not really BBQ themed. Still I hope you’ll find my feedback helpful.    

Canyon Gluten-Free Bakehouse recommends that their gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free buns be eaten fresh soon after receipt. If that can’t be done, then they recommend that they be frozen until use. They looked pretty amazing when I opened the box, but I was literally headed out for my trip. So I followed directions and immediately placed them in the freezer. When I returned and was home alone, I pulled out two buns to eat just letting them thaw at room temperature. (Note that after freezing and thawing, they won’t look quite as impressive as they did fresh.) I think any gluten-free bread product should stand on its own merit. So first, I pinched off a piece of a roll and simply tasted it by itself with no topping and no condiments. I found the bun slightly sweet. The taste and the texture sort of reminded me of a sweet roll without the icing. Hey, that wasn’t a bad thing at all. I quite liked these buns. I topped one half with almond butter and the other half with peanut butter, eating one for lunch and one for breakfast. Nice! Then I decided to use one bun to enjoy an old favorite, a fried egg sandwich. An egg fried in a little bit of coconut oil with some Zatar seasoning, plus two pieces of bacon on this bun. Oh my goodness! The only thing that would have made this fried egg sandwich better would have been if I’d been sharing it with Son. Fried egg sandwiches were always something we enjoyed when Mr. GFE was away on travel. The bun is really quite good! It’s definitely the best gluten-free bun I’ve had thus far. You can read about all of Canyon Gluten-Free Bakehouse’s products here, and see specifics on each product. The ingredients are a mix of whole grains (brown rice, sorghum, millet) and starches (cultured corn starch, tapioca flour, and potato starch), plus other ingredients like eggs, sesame seeds, and organic agave syrup. I plan on taking several buns with us this weekend to finally use for their primary purpose–hamburgers. I know Son will be delighted, and so will I. Update: We used the remaining buns this weekend for both gluten free (Son and myself) and gluten-full folks. All really enjoyed Canyon Gluten-Free Bakehouse buns and said they were very atypical of the usual gluten-free buns and breads.

I’d never heard of Five Star All-Natural Meat Marinade before. But I really liked what the company’s founder, Burt Amaral, told me about what was and wasn’t in his product. That it was Burt’s grandmother’s recipe just made it extra special. First, you should know that when I make marinades at home, I like them to contain simple ingredients like oil, vinegar, sweetener (usually honey), and spices. Surprisingly, Five Star Marinade is even simpler and healthier. There are no oils or fats, no sugar, no MSG, and no preservatives. The only ingredients are: vinegar, salt, spices, paprika, and garlic. I wanted to broil some tilapia for my support group meeting the other night. I pulled out the Five Star Marinade (also designed for fish) and had marinated fillets in a relatively short amount of time. The fillets disappeared quickly once placed on the table and all of my members gave them two thumbs up! I’m looking forward to trying my other bottle of Five Star Marinade soon! 

Two gorgeous packages of treats arrived ready to eat from Ethel’s Edibles… again, just as I was leaving for a vacation. They didn’t seem like freezable products, so I just left them on the counter. So while I’ll tell you what my impression of the Hot Blondies and Pecan Dandy Bars were, I’ll admit that it’s probably not a fair one since I didn’t get to try them until a week after they arrived. Note that these treats have a grandmother connection, too. Owner Jill Bommarito said her grandmother, Ethel, was the inspiration for her recipes. Incidentally, Jill’s motivation for creating gluten-free baked goods is that several of her close family members have celiac disease. My review? The Hot Blondies had good flavor, but were really crumbly. I’m guessing they would have been much better when eaten fresh. The Pecan Dandy Bars did not have a dryness problem. They are rich and delicious. They contained a LOT of butter and were definitely a square full of gooey goodness. Both treats were just a tiny bit gritty in my opinion, but I’m one who uses very fine rice flour when baking. One other factor that should be noted is that these treats contain Expandex, modified tapioca starch that is designed to enhance texture and appearance in gluten-free baking. I don’t do well with Expandex so I only ate a small portion of these treats. In summary, my opinion of Ethel’s Edibles might have been much more favorable if I’d eaten them as soon as they arrived and if they did not contain Expandex.  


The only thing better than receiving alcohol, like Bombora and CooranBong vodkas, is receiving high quality mixers to make the mixing easier and the results a bit of tasty relaxation. Top Shelf Cocktail Mixers to the rescue! “Top Shelf produces only Ultra Premium Cocktail Mixers that are carefully balanced to deliver a crisp, clean, vibrant flavor. Our products contain real fresh fruit, vegetables and pure cane sugar.” The founder also has a personal interest in sharing gluten-free products. He was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1997. I received three mixers to sample: Lemon Drop Martini, Margarita, and Pomegranate Martini. “We” sampled Lemon Drop Martinis when my gluten-free blogging friends were here. That meant that one friend kindly mixed a batch up using my CooranBong vodka, the others took a brief taste, and I drank the rest! That evening they decided to drink the beer that one friend had brought. I was very, very happy with my Lemon Drop Martini after I requested a tad more vodka in it. I found the same was true when a few days later I made a Margarita using the margarita mixer. In that case a little more tequila was needed to balance the citrus flavors of the mixer. Finally, I tried the Pomegranate Martini mixer. I’ve sampled some very fine pomegranate martinis in the past, both at the POM Wonderful Blogger Harvest Festival and at the International Food Bloggers Conference. Unfortunately, this mixer did not make a Pomegranate Martini that made the “fine” grade. It tasted more like fruit punch than a Pomegranate Martini. Even a tad more alcohol didn’t do the trick when using this mixer. After I let the drink sit in the refrigerator until the next evening, I salvaged it by adding some orange juice, grenadine, and tequila—morphing it into a passable tequila sunrise, albeit one with some vodka as well. Overall, I think these mixers are really quite good. They come in beautiful frosted bottles and make cocktails simple to make. I’d love to try some of the other Top Shelf Cocktail Mixers—namely, Mojito, Cosmopolitan, and Apple Martini. 

Not everyone likes cocktails though. Some, like Mr. GFE and some of my visiting blogger friends, prefer beer. Luckily, the BBQ review also included New Planet Beer. I’ve actually reviewed New Planet Beer before (read my New Planet review here). Although I’m not typically a beer drinker, I do really like New Planet. Their Tread Lightly Ale and 3R Raspberry Ale are lighter than most beers and very enjoyable. Their newest variety is Off the Grid Pale Ale. I’m taking that with us camping this weekend, so I can share with gluten-free Son. So sorry, but you’ll have to wait on this post to be updated for that review! 

So here’s the best part … you don’t have to go on my reviews alone. Courtesy of all the participating manufacturers, one lucky gfe reader will get most of these same products to review! The exception will be the New Planet Beer. (Sorry, but law prohibits giveaways of alcohol in this manner.) Instead, the kind folks at New Planet will give away one of their cool t-shirts. Here’s the complete listing of the products for the giveaway:  

Canyon Gluten-Free Bakehouse—Two 12-ounce packages with four buns in each. ($19 value, including shipping costs) 

Five-Star All Natural Meat Marinade—Two 16-ounce bottles. ($21 value) 

Ethel’s Edibles—Two 14-ounce packages, three bars: one of Hot Blondies and one of Pecan Dandy bars. (over $16 value, incuding shipping) 

Top Shelf Cocktail Mixers—One 25.4 ounce bottle (makes 8 cocktails) of each of the following:  Lemon Drop Martini mixer, Margarita mixer, and Pomegranate Martini mixer. ($21 value) 

New Planet BeerOne t-shirt (in size of your choice; design offerings may vary). (over $20 value, including shipping) 

The giveaway will end Friday, July 8, at midnight Eastern. To enter you may do one or more of the following (maximum 4 entries): 

~ Leave a comment on which product(s) you are most interested in and/or share your experience with any of them. 

~ Tweet about the giveaway including @Shirleygfe in your tweet. Leave a comment here. 

~ Share the giveaway on your blog. Leave a comment here. 

~ Share the giveaway on Facebook. Leave a comment here. 

Hope everyone has a fabulous 4th of July weekend!

Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


93 Responses to “4th of July BBQ Products Review and Giveaway”

  1. Colleen Mitchell on July 2nd, 2011 6:43 am

    I would love to try the buns – it is so hard to find good GF bread!!!

  2. Tami F. on July 2nd, 2011 7:22 am

    Thanks for the reviews. I’ll definitely be looking for the hamburger buns. I make mine using the olive oil bread recipe from the book Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, but who wants to be baking bread in the summer?!

  3. Lisa Rogers on July 2nd, 2011 8:37 am

    would love to try the Canyon Bakehouse goodies, Haven’t yet, and am always looking for a really good bun. And Mixers are always good! :)
    Shared on FB. :)

  4. Ricki on July 2nd, 2011 8:50 am

    I’m not entering (obviously), but holy moly! What a prize pack! (though it’s always a sad day when the blondies crumble). ;) Good luck to everyone!

  5. Amy on July 2nd, 2011 9:10 am

    I would love to try the buns!

  6. Jeanne Johnson on July 2nd, 2011 9:36 am

    Those buns sound so yummy! Its so hard to find good bread that I’ve mostly stopped eating it. Also, the meat sauce – you can always use more flavor when cooking GF. And Margarita mixers are never wasted!

  7. Sherri on July 2nd, 2011 9:52 am

    I’d love a chance to try those buns! I’ve been disappointed in the past with frozen hamburger buns and have just eaten hamburgers with a fork since my allergy. Thanks Shirley for the chance! I’m posting on my FB page and my blog.

  8. Paula Decaria on July 2nd, 2011 10:08 am

    I have been wanting to try Canyon Bakehouse buns.

  9. Fire-Eyes Roth on July 2nd, 2011 10:27 am

    We would really love to try those hamburger buns…they look awesome

    Live Laugh and Enjoy!

  10. Fire-Eyes Roth on July 2nd, 2011 10:40 am

    Tweeted about the giveaway including @Shirleygfe …
    at FireBear

    Live Laugh and Enjoy!

  11. Shannon Lewis on July 2nd, 2011 10:41 am

    One of the hardest things about having a 12 year old boy with Celiac, is the summer barbeque season. We have been searching for buns that would meet his standards….these look like they just may do it! Sure would love to try them! Thanks for the awesome reviews and for giving us all a chance to see what’s out there and to “try before we buy”!


  12. kim l on July 2nd, 2011 10:41 am

    GF buns in my area are unheard of!!!! And it’s BBQ season! Lettuce just isn’t the same as a good old bun!!

  13. Fire-Eyes Roth on July 2nd, 2011 10:42 am

    Shared the giveaway on My Facebook Fan Page Home Spun Magic and My personal home page

    Live Laugh and Enjoy!

  14. kim l on July 2nd, 2011 10:43 am

    Tweeted about the giveaway @kledford65!!

  15. kim l on July 2nd, 2011 10:50 am

    sharing on FB!!

  16. Fire-Eyes Roth on July 2nd, 2011 10:51 am

    Shared the giveaway on my blog; Home Spun Magic


    Live Laugh and Enjoy!

  17. Peggy Schuh on July 2nd, 2011 10:57 am

    I have ordered the bread and cinnamon raison bread from Canyon Bakehouse and they are superb to say the least!!! I would love to try the buns as I’m sure they will be the best I’ve ever tasted!!!

  18. Mary on July 2nd, 2011 11:03 am

    Sounds awesome! Glad you enjoyed these products, Shirley!

  19. Mary on July 2nd, 2011 11:04 am

    Shirley, I shared the giveaway info on facebook.

  20. Suzanne on July 2nd, 2011 11:25 am

    I’d love to try the buns or the marinade.

  21. Janell Garwood on July 2nd, 2011 12:54 pm

    I am most excited about the buns. That is the one thing we’ve been struggling with since going gf…finding good buns for hamburgers!

  22. Ashlee Lougheed on July 2nd, 2011 1:41 pm

    I would love to try Ethel’s Edibles. I have such a sweet tooth!

  23. Kathleen on July 2nd, 2011 2:25 pm

    Canyon Gluten Free Bakehouse buns are the best!!

  24. Renee on July 2nd, 2011 2:29 pm

    Oh my! Those pecan dandies and blondies sound delish!!! And the mixers…yum.

    I have already tried Canyon Bakehouse and they have some great stuff although I can’t find it as easily around here anymore.

    And I like the Raspberry beer but not the others, but I am not much of a beer person, GF or not. So the mixers sound like more fun for me.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  25. Brittany on July 2nd, 2011 2:35 pm

    I would love to try both the hamburger buns and the meat marinade. Thanks for the giveaway!

  26. Sue on July 2nd, 2011 2:44 pm

    Awesome review of several products! I would most like to try the Canyon Bakehouse GF Hamburger Buns. I like getting to try them, as I can learn what I like.

    I tweeted, I blogged, I liked you on FB. Phew!

    Thank so much for sharing!

  27. Jennifer R. on July 2nd, 2011 2:58 pm

    would LOVE LOVE LOVE to win all these goodies for my family — they would be thrilled to try the buns especially. I really liked that marinade on the fish you made and want to try that myself. Thanks Shirley — you rock!! Have fun camping :)

  28. Valerie on July 2nd, 2011 3:03 pm

    I would love to try the buns!

  29. Valerie on July 2nd, 2011 3:04 pm

    I tweeted about the giveaway

  30. Kay Guest on July 2nd, 2011 3:06 pm

    Hey Shirley!
    Could you put my name in the hat for those Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Hamburger Buns. Wow, they sound really good.

    You know, from those past photos of your support group…it looks like they are always having some great food!


  31. Nicole on July 2nd, 2011 3:11 pm

    I would love to try the Meat Marinade — no sugar or soy. Fabulous!

    The Canyon Gluten-Free Bakehouse buns sound great as well. That’s a brand I’ve heard others rave about for a long time but I’ve never been able to get them locally anyplace I’ve lived.

  32. Nicole on July 2nd, 2011 3:19 pm

    I’ve shared the link to your giveaway on my SDC Facebook page.

  33. Kim on July 2nd, 2011 3:45 pm

    Would love to try the buns or any of the products. New to GF eating & have not been able to locate GF buns in the DFW Texas area.

  34. Cindy on July 2nd, 2011 3:59 pm

    What a wonderful prize package! I have tried the hamburger buns and really liked them. Would love to try the other products.

  35. Karolina on July 2nd, 2011 4:37 pm

    I would love to try the Rudi’s buns, but I have to say the lemon drop mixer is quite intriguing too :)

  36. Audrey J on July 2nd, 2011 5:07 pm

    I shared this give away on Facebook.

  37. Audrey J on July 2nd, 2011 5:07 pm

    I tweeted about this giveaway.

    Audrey J

  38. Audrey J on July 2nd, 2011 5:08 pm

    I would try the meat marinade first.
    Audrey J

  39. Denise Morse on July 2nd, 2011 7:17 pm

    I would love to try the buns, they sound really good

  40. Denise Morse on July 2nd, 2011 7:18 pm

    I like on Facebook

  41. cheryl on July 2nd, 2011 8:02 pm

    what a tasty review!
    Please don’t enter me, but it sounds like you scored quite the bounty.

  42. Carole on July 2nd, 2011 8:30 pm


  43. Elaina on July 3rd, 2011 12:19 pm

    They all sound good. I am always in search of the perfect GF bun, but dessert and drinks sound good too.

  44. Kelly on July 3rd, 2011 12:44 pm

    I’m excited about the mixers containing real fruit. I hate the fake-y taste of most commercial mixers.

  45. Susan Skinkle on July 4th, 2011 9:47 am

    I would love to try the buns. I am used to not eating them now, but I really, really miss them sometimes!

  46. Elizabeth on July 5th, 2011 10:43 am

    Probably most interested in the buns!

  47. Claire Clauss on July 5th, 2011 11:18 am

    The Five Star All Natural Meat Marinade and Top Shelf Cocktail Mixers! They both sound like a great start to a summer BBQ!!

  48. Claire Clauss on July 5th, 2011 11:19 am

    I posted the blog entry & giveaway to my Facebook page :)

  49. erinbeth on July 5th, 2011 12:59 pm

    i would LOVE to try New Planet beer. so far i have been disappointed with the variety of G-F beers on the market :0(

  50. Megan on July 5th, 2011 4:53 pm

    I would love to try the marinades. I typically make my own to avoid unnecessary additives. Those sound very basic and would be a huge help for a working mom!

  51. Julie on July 5th, 2011 6:38 pm

    We have been looking for GF hamburger buns but haven’t found any at the local stores. I would love to try the ones you feature!

  52. Sheri on July 5th, 2011 8:06 pm

    I would try both the buns and the meat marinade in the same meal. This all looks so yummy!

  53. Stephanie on July 5th, 2011 8:19 pm

    I would be most excited to try the Canyon Gluten-Free Bakehouse buns!

  54. Lori Williams on July 5th, 2011 8:44 pm

    I would love to try the Canyon GF Bakehouse Buns!! My son and I have been searching for a gf hamburger bun and this one looks delicious!! Thanks!

  55. Lori Williams on July 5th, 2011 8:49 pm

    Shared this giveaway on my Facebook! Thanks!!

  56. Sharon on July 5th, 2011 9:17 pm

    I would love to try the hamburger buns! They look soooo good!

  57. Sharon on July 5th, 2011 9:18 pm

    I tweeted the giveaway.

  58. kristen on July 5th, 2011 11:51 pm

    I would love to try the rolls. I have not had good luck with GF breads :(

  59. Karin on July 6th, 2011 10:09 am

    Thanks for the reviews – I find them very helpful. I would love to try the beer. I have been only able to get Redbridge.

  60. Clare @ Clare Cooks! on July 7th, 2011 12:22 am

    Oh, those buns look amazing. I haven’t had any luck with the couple I’ve tried.

  61. Christina on July 7th, 2011 8:52 am

    The buns are very intriguing to me!

  62. Christina on July 7th, 2011 8:54 am

    I shared this on facebook!

  63. Kristin on July 7th, 2011 9:14 am

    I would LOVE to try the buns! I haven’t had a good GF bun yet!

  64. Maggi on July 7th, 2011 9:49 am

    Oh wow! Those Ethel Edibles treats look absolutely delish! Sadly, I haven’t seen any of these products in our area (DC Metro) but as soon as I see them, I’ll give them a go (well, except the beer.)

  65. Cyndi on July 7th, 2011 10:23 am

    I’m most interested in the five star meat marinade. It looks amazing and I would love to be able to try it!

  66. Danelle on July 7th, 2011 11:10 am

    Shared link on FB. Would like to try the buns since good gf buns are hard to find. (The beer too but I’ll have to try that on my own :)

  67. Amy E on July 7th, 2011 11:23 am

    I would love to try the marinade! We have a huge bbq household, so we grill out multiple times a week. Also shared the contest on facebook and twitter.

  68. Felicia on July 7th, 2011 1:17 pm

    I so miss a good hamburger bun! I can’t wait to see if they are available locally in NH!
    Thanks for this post, Shirley!!

  69. Ellen Cairns on July 7th, 2011 1:19 pm

    How exciting! I would really love to be included in the GF giveaway. I have been GF since Feb. 2010 when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. It was a challenge at first, but with all the GF bloggers help (especially GFE Shirley) it’s been an adventure and an exciting one at that. Thank you! Ellen

  70. beth hockran on July 7th, 2011 2:00 pm

    I would love a chance to win this for my 12 year old son who was recently diagnosed with celiac so hard to find food that he likes. Thank you for the chance

  71. Elizabeth Sokacich on July 7th, 2011 2:13 pm

    Sharing on FB…awesome giveaway!!!

  72. Kathleen on July 7th, 2011 2:14 pm

    It’s summer, so the hamburger buns of course!!

  73. Katie on July 7th, 2011 3:45 pm

    Okay, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was most intrigued by the beer. But, a t-shirt is cool too.

    I like all the products…I can’t pick just one that intrigues me most. :)

  74. Anne Marie Freitas on July 8th, 2011 5:16 pm

    It all sounds fabulous but I am hunting for a good bun so that is the winner for me!

  75. Janell Garwood on July 8th, 2011 5:22 pm

    Shared on facebook!!!!

  76. Jessica on July 8th, 2011 5:25 pm

    I would love to try the buns and the desserts. It’s hard to find a good dessert!

  77. Lisa Rogers on July 8th, 2011 5:28 pm

    I guess I am most interested in Canyon Bakehouse’s rolls, I haven’t tried any of their products yet, and would very much like to. I have long been looking for a good roll or bun. :)
    Shared on FB, sorry don’t do twitter, and I do follow you on FB. :)

  78. Marlo on July 8th, 2011 5:28 pm

    I’m most interested in the buns. So very hard to find decent breads.

  79. Marlo on July 8th, 2011 5:31 pm

    I tweeted the giveaway. My Twitter name is MarliSmi.

  80. Michelle M on July 8th, 2011 5:37 pm

    It would be a hard choice between the buns and the cocktail mixers, but I’d go with the buns since we’ve had terrible disappointment finding one we like (but I’m always willing to try new ones!).

  81. Kaylee Francis on July 8th, 2011 5:48 pm

    Would love the giveaway! My husband, son, and daughter all have to eat gluten free!!

  82. Pam Greenfield on July 8th, 2011 5:51 pm

    I have experience with Ethel’s Edibles…her pecan dandies bars – she made them ESPECIALLY for me lactose free!!!! They were to die for! I hoarded them away from all my gluten eating family members and made them last a very long time! A wonderful treat for anyone who needs GF baked goods! Not sure if she’s going to continue them lactose free, but I certainly vote she does!!!

  83. elizabeth kpohnen on July 8th, 2011 5:54 pm

    Love your site, learn so much!! I shared the Canyon buns with a gluten free relative on July 4th and she loved them too! Still a little hard to find in the NW Chicago suburbs, but I will continue to search—it’s worth it!

  84. Veronica on July 8th, 2011 7:17 pm

    I am most interested in trying the hamburger buns. I know that Udi’s just came out with new ones and I have really enjoyed all of their bread but I haven’t gotten around to having an actual burger on an actual bun since I found out about the gluten thing. mmm.

    I also shared this on fb.

  85. Lindsey @ Gluten-Free Lindsey on July 8th, 2011 7:18 pm

    I haven’t tried any of these, so I’d love to try them all!! Especially the buns, those look great!!

  86. Jennifer on July 8th, 2011 7:25 pm

    I love Canyon Bakehouse! I just wish I could find their products locally.

  87. Shannon J on July 8th, 2011 9:10 pm

    Wow! What a giveaway! Sign me up! I’m most interested in the Canyon Bakehouse products as it’s a product that has yet to make it here. Also the Ethel’s Edibles since I’ve found my sweet tooth has grown since going gluten free.

  88. Carmin on July 8th, 2011 10:29 pm

    I would love to try all of these products! Brand new to GF, and trying to help my husband deal with a new diagnosis of celiac. The buns look awesome! And I could use a stiff drink with those mixers right about now :)

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