Jamie Oliver American-Style BBQ Chicken

Jamie is a global phenomenon and sticking his name or face on a product undoubtedly pushes sales, so it is weird how he doesn’t have a coherent brand. He sells things like this misjudged Italian Christmas Pud in Boots, a bottle of balsamic vinegar in Sainsbury’s and a line of ready meals in his own shop-cum-cookery school Recipease. Nothing seems to link all these products up, except a pastel colour scheme and of course Jamie himself. I’ve worked in tiny organisations who have been more precious about their brand and how it is represented than team Jamie seem to be. The guy is happy to stick his name on anything as long as you can eat it or cook with it.  On top of all that, the combination of products he endorses seem to be random too; some peppercorns here, some frozen fish fingers there and now (thanks once again to Ocado) a spatchcock BBQ chicken.

Jamie BBQ Chicken Packet

As any Jamie Oliver product should be the chicken is labelled as “Higher Welfare British Chicken” interestingly though there is no explanation of what “higher welfare” means. They don’t say it’s free range, so presumably it’s kept in a barn, they don’t say it’s organic, so presumably it’s pumped with drugs. Perhaps in this instance higher welfare means “higher than you can legally get away with” which isn’t really saying much. I’d like a bit more transparency than that please Jamie, so please put some more detail on your packaging next time.

The chicken is flavoured with a chilli, orange and fennel marinade which sounds pretty good to me. It was simple as anything to cook as it was oven ready and only took 70 mins. I made some spicy wedges to go with it and stuck some salad leaves on the side. It came out of the oven accompanied by a delicious waft of fennel and it looked delicious.

I don’t know if you saw any of Jamie’s recent programme about cooking on a budget, but the premise was basically that you buy a piece of meat that feeds about four people, you give them a tiny portion and try to stretch it out to cover ten meals. It would definitely save you money doing things that way, but it would also leave you hungry. I mention this because the spatchcock chicken said it would serve 4-6 people but in reality two of us got through it with little effort. I’m willing to admit that it was a big portion – but at the same time I pity the folk who tried to stretch this bird between six of them.

Jamie BBQ Chicken Served

Anyway the important thing is how it tastes; the meat was flavourful and moist, there was a subtle chilli heat, but I would have preferred a bit more, the fennel was fragrant but not overpowering and the orange I couldn’t taste at all. Overall though I thought the whole thing was delicious, my girlfriend thought it was dry – so make of that what you will!

I’d happily recommend this for an easy, tasty roast and I think if Jamie ever decides to have a more targeted approach to his products then marinaded meats are a good way to go.

Jamie Oliver American-Style BBQ Chicken 1.3kg for £7.21


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2 Responses to Jamie Oliver American-Style BBQ Chicken

  1. Another great post as always! Fantastic pictures too. That’s a handsome plate of food.

    Completely agree that the Jamie brand often feels all-over-the-place. It’s like there’s no consistency in what it’s applied to (anything I guess they think will make money?)

    During my uni days I used to work for the Virgin Cinema chain (which became UGC, which became Cineworld – where Heston once worked!) and dissatisfied customers often used to tell us that they were going to write a letter of complaint directly to Richard Branson.

    This threat always used to amuse us, mainly because we were all part-time workers and honestly didn’t give a hoot. But also because, as near as we could figure, the Virgin brand name was something the faceless Leisure / Retail management consortium that owned the chain had rented to give their product a recogniseable mass-market brand.

    Like the revolting Virgin Champagne we all got one Christmas, or the repugnant Virgin Perfume we were saddled with the next, we wondered if Branson was even aware he’d put his corporate identity on to the cinema group formerly known as MGM (prior to that, Cannon).

    Anyhow, I bring all this up in case you have or haven’t seen this fascinating guide for any manufacturers licensing the Jamie Oliver brand. (I discovered it via Marina o’Loughlin on “that Twitter”). It’s not worth properly reading, but a minute or two of brief scrolling gives a fascinating insight into the North Korean levels of strictness that need to be applied to Jamie merchandise.

    That flippancy aside, I think you’re right to highlight the welfare aspect. I know the point of Jamie’s Fowl Dinners was to do away with the bottom level of battery farming, but “higher welfare” seems a vague term to be allowed to use.

    Incidentally, Ling and I are both (admittedly infrequent) Nandos-users so we’d completely agree that half a chicken is a satisfactory and standard portion.

    • Oh my word I feel your pain on the “I’ll write to Richard Branson” front I’ve been there in various jobs – It’s amazing that people don’t realise the futility of their statements!

      I hadn’t seen the Jamie branding guidelines document – that is brilliant! I’ve had a quick flick through and it would appear to be relatively simple to buy in brand Jamie as long as you use the right logo and position it on the left! Maybe I’ll create a product and buy Jamie’s name to put on it!

      Perhaps I’ll write to the manufacturer and ask them to define “higher welfare” the responses to emails like that can be pretty interesting!

      Thanks for your comments!


      PS – I’m a Nandos fan too!

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