As seen on TV: Turbo Roaster review

turboroaster-1

TV infomercials are ingenious advertisements that draw us in with a slick sales pitch, grab our attention, pique our curiosity and then our wallet. I’ve been given the opportunity to review a couple “As seen on TV” products to see if their claims stand up to a real world test and if they are worth buying. First up, the Turbo Roaster, which claims to be able to roast a 6 lb chicken in 45 minutes. Let’s put it to the test.

Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.

turboroaster-2

Package Contents

Turbo Roaster jar, tube, seal
Instruction and recipe guide

turboroaster-3

What is it?

The Turbo Roaster is basically just a small glass jar with a metal lid that has a long tube attached to it. The jar has a screw top and is very similar to an ordinary canning jar. The idea is that you fill the glass jar with hot water, screw on the lid, place the tube in the chicken and roast it. The steam from the water in the Turbo Roaster jar is supposed to travel down the tube, into the chicken and help cook it in 1/2 the time while allowing it to remain juicy and tender.

turboroaster-4

Does it work?

First of all, I cook a lot of chickens, so the process is not foreign to me. I fix one every other week other week or so. My normal method of cooking is to place a 5 lb fresh thawed bird in a roasting pan, add a few carrots, stalks of celery, chunks of onion, clove of garlic and a bay leaf around the chicken. I then fill up the pan with water until it’s about 3/4ths of the way up the side of the pan (I save the resulting stock for making soup). The top of the chicken is not covered in water. I then generously salt and pepper it, put the lid on the pan and bake the chicken at 350 F degrees for 20 minutes per pound. For a 5 pound chicken, that works out to 1hr and 40 mins.

The Turbo Roaster claims to roast up to a 6 lb bird in 45 mins, so I’ll save 55 minutes of cooking time. Sounds good to me!

Last night I opened the Turbo Roaster box, washed the jar, lid, seal, tube thingy and placed a washed and thawed 5 lb chicken in a glass baking dish. I added my spices, salt and pepper to the top of the bird but didn’t add any water around it. As per the directions, I preheated the oven to 450 F degrees, filled the Turbo Roaster jar a quarter full of hot water and screwed on the lid.

When the oven was heated I then had to figure how to set the combo of the chicken and the Turbo Roaster in my oven. I didn’t come up with the most elegant solution, but it worked even though the angle of the TB causes it to tip over a bit.

turboroaster-5

According to the instructions you’re supposed to roast at 450 F degrees for 20 minutes and then turn the oven back to 425 F for the remaining 25 minutes. I followed this instruction and at the end of the 45 minutes, I checked the internal temp of the chicken by using a meat thermometer. The temp was only 136 F. A properly cooked chicken should be at least 160 F. So I set the timer for another 20 mins and checked the temp again. This time it was up to 145 F. Hmmmmm…

turboroaster-6

I set the timer for a final 15 mins and afterwards the temp finally showed 160 F.  The chicken smelled wonderful and looked tasty.

turboroaster-7

The chicken did taste very good, but I can’t say it tasted any better than it does when I cook it my usual way. The only real difference is that the skin is crispier when using the roasting method as opposed to my baking method.

Verdict

The Turbo Roaster claims to be able to roast a 6 lb chicken in 45 minutes. With my test (following their exact instructions), it actually took a total of 80 minutes to cook a 5 lb chicken. That only saved me 20 minutes over my normal 1hr 40 min baking time. Saving even a few minutes might be worth it though right? But I don’t think saving even 20 minutes makes the Turbo Roaster a good buy. First of all, you have to wash it after you use it and then you have to find a place to store it. I also have a feeling that the TB has very little effect on the cooking of the chicken. For one thing, the jar still had some of the water in it after the chicken was roasted. I’m guessing that I could remove the TB from the equation and the cooking time would be about the same and the final results would look and taste the same.

My advice is to save your $20.

 

Product Information

Price:$19.95
Manufacturer:As seen on TV
Pros:
  • None
Cons:
  • Separate item to wash and store
  • Doesn't save that much time.
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, Reviews

25 comments… add one

  • Fred November 13, 2013, 10:50 am

    Could you try it with beer or wine instead of water ?

    • Julie Strietelmeier November 13, 2013, 11:02 am

      @Fred the instructions only say to use water. The sugars in wine and beer might clog up the tube and make it really hard to clean it. Although one wasn’t included with my review sample, when you buy online it’s supposed to come with little infuser bulb that can be attached to the end of the tube.

  • Andrew Baker November 13, 2013, 11:42 am

    Maybe try something more volatile like 180 proof booze. turn it into a little blow torch. that will speed up cooking

  • Phreqd November 15, 2013, 2:55 am

    Good review! Do more like this with the As Seen On Tv products.

    • Julie Strietelmeier November 15, 2013, 9:26 am

      @Phreqd I’m hoping too. They had offered another product to review when they offered the Turbo Roast, but they only sent the TB and now they aren’t responding to my emails… I guess my bad review torqued them off or something :)

  • Margaret November 17, 2013, 9:11 am

    Do you think the angle matters? If the chicken pan had been raised, would the steam have traveled more effectively?

    • Julie Strietelmeier November 17, 2013, 9:52 am

      @Margaret I think that if the steam can travel out of the jar, up the tube, around the curve and down the length to the end of the tube and into the chicken, an additional angle shouldn’t really matter much.

  • Janna Benkelman November 17, 2013, 11:45 am

    A huge racket. I tried to order two and they added on two chef’s knives that I didn’t want. Tried to call to cancel and can’t get anything but an order line. Now another hassle with my credit card company and their email. Never again!

  • Stu November 17, 2013, 12:05 pm

    Recipe from Thomas Keller of French Laundry and Bucheron fame: He recommends NO STEAM for most moist bird. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better. Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone—I don’t baste it, I don’t add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don’t want.
    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/my-favorite-simple-roast-chicken-231348

  • will November 24, 2013, 12:13 pm

    The tilting of the jar allows for less surface area on your baking pan. With less surface area the longer it will take to heat the jar. Most would say its in an oven and the oven is hot. True but the pan is a great conductor of heat and the correct ratio of conductor to surface area would make the heat transfer more efficient. Try it again. I don’t believe you gave the turbo roaster a fair shot. The worst thing that happens is you have a chicken for dinner. ;-) Good luck.

    • Julie Strietelmeier November 24, 2013, 12:34 pm

      @will the design is poor because there’s no easy way to get the jar flat when the chicken is lower than the tube. Since the tube can’t be bent, it require some way to raise the chicken.

  • will November 25, 2013, 10:09 pm

    Gotcha, well I know I will not buy one based on your review . Thank you for your time

  • Francois Kern November 27, 2013, 4:55 pm

    Hi Julie,

    I read your review on the Turbo Roaster and I can see why you came to the conclusions. I have used the TR many times and have not had this problem and it occurred to me why I had the difference.

    I don’t put a pan under the Turbo Roaster. This would act as a heat shield and therefore not produce the steam needed to heat the core of the chicken.

    I would suggest you try the test again and put hot water in the jar about half full. I even place the jar under an element. I have been able to cook chicken in as little time as 32 minutes with the core temperature reaching 165 degrees.

    Please give it another try. I think it would be worth doing this as it would be fair to state that it really does work. I agree that balancing it could be an issue when it’s on the rack but even on it’s side it still works fine. No need to put a plate underneath it. This is not how it is intended to be used.

    Kind regards,
    Chef Francois

    • Julie Strietelmeier November 27, 2013, 5:12 pm

      @Francois I’ll try it again the next time I have a chicken to cook and report back with my results.

  • Francois Kern November 28, 2013, 2:17 pm

    Good stuff Julie. It’s very good of you to give it another chance. Also I would be happy to put a link on my site to help promote your site. Let me know if you want to reciprocate.

    Thanks,
    Chef Francois

  • Albin December 4, 2013, 12:10 am

    I have been using this system for years .. but .. i use a glass tobacco pipe with a long mouth piece. .works better cause it a straigt shot ..have u seen the glass plant watering bulbs..these work great .. enjoy .. this will give you the desired result .. you can also buy a glass old school coke bottle ..and screw a metal salt shaker top on it .. $1.25 cram in chicken keyster ..lay bottom right on rack,

  • Eduardo December 19, 2013, 1:08 pm

    Julie,

    By placing a pan underneath the jar(not in the instructions) you created a heat shield that reduced the amount of heat raising from the oven elements and heating up the water, thus defeating the purpose of the device. I recommend you try it again.

    The bigger the bird the more dramatic are the results. Try it with turkey, it will give you moist and delicious breast meat that you will not get the conventional way and it will significantly reduce cooking time freeing up your oven for other things.

  • DMC December 23, 2013, 11:32 pm

    I noticed in the pictures for the ads for this product that the chicken is resting on a rack in the roasting pan, which lifts it up a bit higher. This could give you the right height you need without the jar being tilted as well.

  • robert May 2, 2014, 12:09 pm

    I tried this and it was awful. I did manage to elevate my chicken so the jar was level, although the water went too fast and was so hot I couldn’t open to add more. The chicken took too long to cook and although “tender” had a very strange consistency, almost hard and rubbery in some places, the skin was not “crispy” but mostly uncooked with burnt sections, a ruined chicken.

  • cooklikeme November 5, 2014, 9:21 am

    I just found this item at a ROSS it appears to be sans the alluded to bulb and seal (silicone I’m guessing?) Im searching for info as I noticed the threaded end and no attachment noted on box or in packaging. Found your site- neat idea! BUT, where is the follow up trial you agreed to?

    • Julie Strietelmeier November 5, 2014, 10:21 am

      @cooklikeme I didn’t get around to updating the review, but I did try it another time and didn’t have much better results.

  • ken November 27, 2014, 10:40 am

    BS Julie, almost a year later and you just forgot to give another go, highly doubt that. So instead of opening this up for another go you figured be best by claiming another failed attempt, perhaps you misplaced the Turbo Roaster or is it that you had to reply back because of 2014 Thanksgiving? Or maybe your the type of person who refuses to admit on your own mistakes, after all you did modify it as what wasn’t instructed.

    • Julie Strietelmeier November 27, 2014, 10:58 am

      @ken Thank you for knowing the type of person I am since I don’t know you and you don’t know me. You’re entitled to your perceived ideas of what I did or did not do. All I can say is that after more than one attempt using this product, I didn’t notice enough of an improvement in cooking time or juiciness to really make me want to buy it or recommend buying it. The way I’ve always cooked a chicken works perfectly every time. My chickens are always juicy and tender.

  • Andrew Baker November 27, 2014, 1:25 pm

    Shame on you Julie, You’ve been caught red handed in the conspiracy to falsely review this product. We have unwoven the years of planning and lies you have put into this unfortunate ruse.

    I actually got this as a house warming present not long after your review. I intended on doing a mini-review but never got around to doing the review. I did however try it. Actually tried it 3-4 times. I didn’t notice any changes in cooking time or tenderness. But then again I never really had problems with a dry bird. It is conceivable that if your method of cooking your bird tends to dry it out, using this might help. Perhaps it’s not necessarily the device that is helping keep the bird moist/speed cooking, it’s following different directions with the device. The final test I did, I used a wine and smoke flavor mix instead of water. It did succeed in this, It injected a nice sweat and smoky flavor, however the unit was basically unclean-able for a second round. I would not recommend it.

    but again to recap. SHAME ON YOU JULIE. The shame of a million nose-pickers. :D

    • Julie Strietelmeier November 27, 2014, 6:50 pm

      @Andrew Yes, the cat (or chicken) is out of the bag, I’m a horrible horrible person… :) You’re right about cleaning it. Unless you can some how hook a hose to one end to blow water through it, I don’t see getting any chicken cavity gunk out of the tube. Eeeeew…

Leave a Comment