In commercial kitchens, you'll usually find an infrared broiler, commonly known as a salamander. These top-down cooking ovens produce extremely high temperatures that are great for that perfect steak. The Namath Rapid Cooker tries to reproduce this process in a small, portable device that is ideal for tailgating. On the most basic level, this is an infrared gas grill, but with the burner above instead of below making this a broiler, not a grill. This is proven technology that can cook at high temperatures while still maintaining a grill-like experience.
High-temperature cooking ability
Largely stainless steel construction
Virtually incapable of flare-ups
Hot, but doesn't reach the temperatures advertised
On anything below medium-high setting, the burner can be blown out in the wind
- 143 square inches of cooking space
- One 21,000 BTU infrared burner
- Push button electronic (AA-battery) ignition
- Mixed stainless steel construction including 304-grade outer shell
- 38 pounds total weight
- Three-position adjustable cooking surface
- Can be converted to full-size LP tank or natural gas
- Full height stand and carrying case available
- Available propane only
- Made in the United States by EdenPURE
The Namath Rapid Cooker is a small infrared broiler oven. It is about the size of a small microwave and has a 21,000 BTU ceramic type infrared burner mounted in the roof of the unit. A three-position slide-out drawer sits below the burner on which the food is placed. The adjustment allows the food to be moved closer or farther away from the burner. This is one way of adjusting the cooking temperature. The other adjustment is a control valve for the burner. The marketing says that there are nine cooking temperatures. This is kind of an odd way of looking at it, but it does explain how the Rapid Cooker works.
The cooking grate and drip pan can be removed and thrown in the dishwasher and, all in all, this is an easy unit to use and maintain. The Namath Rapid Cooker works like a super-powered broiler and since the burner is above the food, there is virtually no chance of a flare-up. While large roasts or a whole chicken is not going to fit inside, this cooker can be used for most of the common foods that hit a grill.
There are some claims about this unit that are not entirely true. That it cooks at 1,400 F is something we couldn't reproduce. In comparison with a standard gas grill, this unit cooked at about the same speed. The thing is that while the core of the infrared burner might reach 1,400 F, that doesn't mean that the food is being cooked at these temperatures. Infrared is radiant heat and, therefore, follows the inverse square law.
As for the claim that it increases flavor or is at least as flavorful as a standard grill, this really isn't true either. Grill flavor comes from produced smoke in conjunction with intense heat. In this oven, what little smoke that is created rises away from the food.
The disturbing problem with this product and the reason that I haven't given it a rating is that on a burner setting of medium or lower the burn can be easily blown out. From a safety issue, this is serious -- very serious. When a burner blows out in the wind, gas continues to flow. Once that gas reaches an open flame or someone hits the igniter button, all the gas spontaneously burns. This is the sort of thing that causes severe burns. It is my opinion, based on the unit I tested, that this product needs to be redesigned or safety inspected by professionals to determine if it is safe to use.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.