First look: Jamie Oliver Big Boy BBQ

We check if this barbecue can turn you in a celebrity chef – or at least a happy camper.
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01.Jamie Oliver Big Boy BBQ


Price: $60

Contact: (Note that at time of publication, the BBQ was sold out but it may be found in other online stores.)

3 1/2 stars out of 5

Jamie Oliver has lent his name to this portable kettle-style charcoal barbecue. We put it through our usual barbecue tests with steak and sausages to see:

The Big Boy’s grill surface is 34cm across, enough to take several steaks and sausages, and has a curved design that’s intended to prevent food falling through. The barbecue is quick and easy to assemble (though a screw was missing from the one we bought). For fuel, hardwood charcoal is recommended, and it’s suggested you use lighter fluid to get it lit; that didn’t work well for us so we used lighter gel. Also, lighter fluid can be dangerous and can leave an unpleasant residue on the food, so we recommend you avoid it. Charcoal cooking takes some practice, especially in getting it lit, and it can make more smoke than a gas barbecue, but the cooked food can be very flavoursome.


Fiona Mair, our resident cooking expert, grilled sausages and steaks on the barbecue and had good results with both. They were reasonably evenly cooked and had a nice smoky flavour. As with any charcoal cooking, you need to preheat the barbecue beforehand (30 minutes or until the charcoal is almost grey) which makes overall cooking time slower than a gas barbecue.

Ease of use

The barbecue is easy to use, with good access to the food and with vents in the bottom and in the hood to regulate the heat. Having no side panels it is susceptible to wind and draughts when you cook without the hood – the coals are unlikely to go out but cooking may be slowed down. Position the barbecue in a safe, level place before lighting it and be careful around it as the exterior gets hot.

The Big Boy is easy to clean, though as with any barbecue, baked-on fat and charcoal may need some scrubbing.

The verdict

The Jamie Oliver Big Boy barbecue is a good inexpensive option for picnics and camping, or even backyard cooking, if you like a smoky barbecue flavour and don’t mind taking the little extra time that charcoal cooking requires.



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