Chef Randall’s Turbo Cooker: Is it as Good as Advertised?

Infomercials seem to rule the airwaves and advertise a wide variety of products. Some seem to be scams but a few actually work. As a rule, I steer clear of most of these products advertised on infomercials but one of the items I have bought and do use is the Turbo Cooker.
The Turbo Cooker 2-in-1 pan purports to cook an entire meal in a single pan and to prepare food from the freezer to the table in minutes. Chef Randall advertises the Turbo Cooker – or did – on infomercials along with a wide selection of other products than range from knives to gifts.
Because I’m a busy wife and other of three, the idea of preparing delicious meals in minutes appealed to me. I confess that I am always seeking easy recipes that can be made in a short time so that I can put home cooked meals on the table. I saw the Turbo Cooker infomercial several times before I began to seriously think about the product.
My husband is prone to order things he sees on infomercials and he suggested that I purchase the Turbo Cooker. Like water wearing away stone he convinced me to give the product a try.
Before I offer my own opinion on the Turbo Cooker, I want to note that I have seen everything from glowing reviews to scam warnings on the Internet about the Turbo Cooker. I had not seen either praise or condemnation before I bought mine so I wasn’t influenced by anyone else’s opinion.
The Turbo Cooker does work as advertised if you use the product EXACTLY as instructed. It is not quite as simple as Chef Randall makes it seem on television. To prepare a recipe, there are multiple steps that require perfect timing and constant attention from the cook. Unlike my slow cooker that I can load with food and walk away from, the Turbo Cooker keeps me chained to the kitchen so that I can follow the instructions. It does work but it is not necessarily easy.
One of my favorite recipes and the one I have used most with the Turbo Cooker is Really Rotisserie Chicken. The recipe card states that it will be ready in 35 minutes and it is. I do not cook the stuffing croquettes or the carrots that are meant to accompany it nor do I follow the complete directions.
The recipe suggests that I remove all the skin from the whole chicken with a boning knife before I start. That would take too much time in my opinion. The recipe also directs me to press down on the breastbone of the bird to flatten the chicken. I don’t do this either. I do season to taste and from that point on, I do follow the directions and can serve roast chicken in just over a half-hour.
The complicated part, however, is that the cooking is done in multiple segments with the valve on the dome lid open or closed. The cycles are ten minutes, five minutes, five minutes, thirteen minutes, and a final five minutes. The cook needs to be present to either open or close the valve as directed and to flip the chicken over halfway through. I have to use my kitchen timer to keep track of the changes and have the recipe card at hand.
As I stated, it does work but it’s much more complicated than it looked on TV. I’ve tried other recipes including mini meatloaves and they work but like the chicken, each one requires more steps than I consider convenient. And, I have never attempted to cook frozen food and have it done in the short time promised. The potential for food cooked on the outside but raw in the middle seemed too great so I’ve never tried.
Since I work at home as a writer, I’m home. Putting a chicken into the oven to cook for one hour is actually easier than using the Turbo Cooker because I don’t have to be nearby to make the necessary changes. Unless I want to produce the taste of the “Really Rotisserie” chicken, I pop the chicken in the oven. Easier still is to put a whole chicken into the slow cooker and forget about it until mealtime.
My review of the Turbo Cooker would earn a B- on a grading scale. It works, I use it, but it’s more complicated than demonstrated and I don’t use it as often as I thought I might.

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