Like fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meat and fish generally are safe on the gluten-free diet. This includes fresh cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey and fish at your local grocery store or butcher.
However, you'll need to beware of meats and poultry with added ingredients that make them into ready-to-cook or ready-to-eat dishes — most of these are not safe to consume on the diet, since the store might use unsafe sauces or even bread crumbs. I've found that information on the ingredients in these ready-to-use products frequently is lacking, so I'd advise steering clear.
In addition, some chickens and turkeys include a broth that may or may not be safe. The label must disclose the presence of this broth, so you'll need to contact the manufacturer to determine if it contains gluten or not.
I also avoid choosing meats on "naked" (i.e., without plastic wrap covering them) display in refrigerator cases, since many of those display cases also contain foods with bread crumbs and other gluten ingredients. The display cases contain fans to move the air around, and the fans also can blow loose crumbs onto your naked meat. When in doubt, pick something pre-packaged.
Gluten-Free Ham, Hot Dogs, Sausage and Other Meat Products
There are plenty of hams that are considered gluten-free to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) definition of 20 parts per million, but few seem to be specifically labeled "gluten-free." You'll need to contact the manufacturer to determine what's safe and what's not. Fortunately, most hams seem to have a toll-free contact number printed directly on the package.
Many hot dogs also are gluten-free to 20 ppm, and some — like Applegate Farms' hot dogs — actually carry a gluten-free label. (Here's my gluten-free hot dogs list, which explains which products are safe and which are not.) Applegate Farms and other manufacturers also make gluten-free bacon. But don't assume the bacon's gluten-free if it doesn't carry a label — call to confirm.
Be extra careful with sausage. Many sausages contain bread crumbs as a filler, so check labels carefully before buying sausage. In addition, even if the sausage you're considering doesn't include a gluten ingredient, it may have been manufactured on equipment that also processes gluten-containing sausage, so ask about that.
There are plenty of gluten-free deli meats on the market: Hormel and Hillshire Farms both make packaged gluten-free meats, and all of Boar's Head's products are gluten-free. However, you'll need to beware of cross-contamination that can stem from shared slicing machines at the deli counter — I find it's better to stick with pre-packaged meats.