Title:
Cooking apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cooking unit has a gas burner, which supports a pair of nested cooking containers. An inner cooking container has perforated wall structure to allow cooking medium deposited in the outer cooking container to cook items inside the inner container. A pivotal lid closes the containers during cooking and serves as a guiding chute when the cover is open and food is dumped from the inner container. A handle secured on an end wall of the inner container extends substantially horizontally, allowing a one-hand maneuvering of the inner container.



Inventors:
Styron Sr., Karl J. (Creole, LA, US)
Styron Jr., Karl J. (Creole, LA, US)
Application Number:
11/133863
Publication Date:
11/23/2006
Filing Date:
05/20/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
126/9R, 126/41R
International Classes:
F24C3/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MASHRUWALA, NIKHIL P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Keaty Professional, Law Corporation Thomas Keaty S. (2 CANAL STREET, 2140 WORLD TRADE CENTER, NEW ORLEANS, LA, 70130, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A cooking apparatus, comprising: an outer container unit having a closed bottom and upwardly extending walls; a burner support assembly having at least one burner head and a rack for supporting a bottom of the outer container unit; an inner container unit configured for selectively nesting inside the outer container unit; said inner container unit being provided with an outwardly extending handle secured to an upper edge of the inner container unit and extending transversely to a vertical axis of the inner container unit.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a lid configured for covering an open top of the inner container unit, said lid being hingedly secured to an end wall of the outer container unit.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said inner container unit comprises a pair of parallel side walls, a first end wall extending transversely between the parallel side walls, and a second, inclined end wall extending opposite the first end wall.

4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein said handle is secured to the inclined end wall.

5. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein an upper edge of the first end wall carries an outwardly extending lip to facilitate supporting of the inner container unit in relation to the outer container unit.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said inner container unit comprises a perforated wall and bottom structure.

7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said lid comprises a base panel and a pair of parallel guide members secured to opposite sides of the base panel and extending transversely to the general plane of the base panel.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said lid comprises a base panel having an inner surface, an outer surface and an outer end, and wherein said outer surface carries a support member for the base panel for supporting the outer end of the base panel above a support surface.

9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said outer container unit comprises a generally rectangular body having upwardly extending outer container walls, three of which are provided with an outwardly extending flange.

10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein said burner support assembly comprises a generally rectangular frame defined by upright frame walls, said frame being supported by a plurality of supporting legs.

11. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein each of said outer container walls has a longitudinal dimension at least slightly smaller than the longitudinal dimension of a corresponding frame wall and has a vertical dimension at least slightly greater than a vertical dimension of a corresponding frame wall.

12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein said rack is secured between said frame walls above said at least one burner head.

13. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said burner assembly comprises a pair of spaced burner heads.

14. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein said burner heads are connectable to an exterior source of fuel.

15. A cooking apparatus comprising: an outer generally rectangular, open top pan structure having a pair of parallel side walls, a first transverse end wall and a second inclined end wall; an inner, generally rectangular, open top pan structure having perforated sidewalls, perforated end walls and a perforated bottom, said inner pan structure being dimensioned and configured to nest within the outer pan structure, said inner pan structure being provided with a handle extending transversely to a vertical axis of the inner pan structure and secured to an upper edge of said inclined end wall; and a burner assembly provided with a rack dimensioned and configured to support the outer pan structure.

16. The apparatus of claim 15, further comprising a cover hingedly attached to an end wall of outer pan structure.

17. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein said cover comprises a substantially flat panel and a pair of guide members secured to opposing sides of the panel, said guide members facilitate dispensing of food products from said inner pan structure.

18. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein said cover comprises a cover handle secured to an outer surface of the panel, said cover handle forming a rest when the cover is moved to an open position.

19. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein said guide members extend downwardly from said flat panel when the cover is in a closed position.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to cooking machines, and more particularly to a burner-supported cooking apparatus for cooking and heating the contents of a container placed over the burner.

There exists numerous types of cooking units, such as portable stoves, burners, outdoor grills and the like for use in an outdoor location. A special line of products is directed towards cooking machines designed for boiling seafood in large quantities on gas-powered burners. The cooking pot or pan is usually a large container, which is heavy and cumbersome. Often times, the large pots have a pair of handles on the sides allowing a user to grip the pot on opposite sides and move the pot to and from the burner support. Sometimes, the full pot is particularly heavy, requiring two persons to lift and move the pot. Other conventional pot have one arcuate handle on top; when the pot is heavy, it is often preferred that two people grasp the handle and move the pot.

While these conventional cooking units work satisfactory under many conditions, they are often impossible to handle with one hand. If the cook has another item in one of his/her hands, the cook may find it extremely difficult to maneuver the heavy pot. It is also possible that physical limitations may require the user to use only one hand when shifting position of the pot or moving the pot from the burner unit.

The present invention contemplates provision of such a cooking apparatus that allows the user to move the pot with one hand and/or remove the contents of the cooking pot using one hand, if desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a cooking apparatus that can be supported by a portable gas burner unit.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a cooking apparatus that allows a one-hand manipulation of the cooking pot and emptying of the cooking pot with one hand.

These and other objects of the present invention are achieved through a provision of a cooking apparatus, which uses a burner support assembly and a pair of nesting cooking pots. The inner cooking pot has perforated walls and bottom, while the outer pot has solid walls and solid bottom, which is configured to rest on a rack of the burner support assembly. A handle extending transversely to the vertical axis of the inner pan allows the user to easily tilt the inner pot with one hand. The food product, which was cooking in the inner pot, exits the pot onto an open cover. A flange secured to the end wall of the inner pot provides a support for the inner pan when it is tilted against an upper edge of the outer pan.

The hinged cover is secured to the outer pan; the cover has opposing side guide members, which form a chute, helping the food items to slide on the cover into a receiving container, such as an ice chest, a cooler and the like.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Reference will now be made to the drawings, wherein like parts are designated by like numerals, and wherein

FIG. 1 is a perspective, partially exploded view of the cooking apparatus in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a detail view of the inner cooking container of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a detail perspective view of the outer cooking container of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a detail perspective view of the burner support assembly of the apparatus of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a detail perspective view of the cover for use in the cooking apparatus of the present invention.

DETAIL DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Turning now to the drawings in more detail, numeral 10 designates the cooking apparatus of the present invention. As can be seen in the drawings, the cooking apparatus 10 comprises a burner support assembly 12, an outer cooking container, or pan 14, an inner cooking container or pan 16, and a lid, or cover 18. The inner cooking pan 16 is dimensioned and configured to nest within the outer cooking pan 14 during food preparation and storage.

The burner assembly 12 comprises a generally rectangular frame defined by four upright walls 20, 22, 24, and 26. A plurality of supporting legs 28 are secured under the corners of the frame to allow the burner assembly to rest on a supporting surface, such as the ground. The upper edges of each frame wall are provided with horizontal flanges 30, 32, 34 and 36 extending along the edges of the corresponding walls 20, 22, 24 and 26, respectively.

One or more burner heads 40 is secured within the burner frame. The burner heads 40 are connected to a gas supply (not shown) during operation. A suitable conduit 42 connects the burner heads 40 to the independent fuel source. A supporting rack is secured to the inner surfaces of the frame walls, 20, 22, 24 and 26. The rack has a peripheral lip 44 secured along the inner parameter of the walls and a pair of parallel bars 46, 48 extending from end to end of the lip 44 on both sides of the burners 40. A transverse bar 50 extends between the bars 46 and 48, forming a grid on which the bottom of the outer pan 14 rests. The fuel heads 40 extend below the rack and are designed to heat the contents of the outer pan 14.

The outer generally rectangular pan 14 is configured to fit within the frame defined by the upright walls 20, 22, 24 and 26, with relative precision, such that little space is retained between the vertically extending walls of the frame 12 and vertical walls 60, 62, 64, and 66 of the outer pan 14. The space between the walls of the outer pan and the burner walls creates a chimney effect facilitating heat distribution.

The vertical dimensions of the walls 60, 62, 64, and 66 are greater than the vertical dimensions of the walls of the frame 12, such that the top edge of the outer pan 14 extends above the outer edges of the frame walls, as can be better seen in FIG. 1. The longitudinal dimensions of the outer container walls 60, 62, 64, and 66 and slightly smaller than longitudinal dimensions of the frame walls 20, 22, 24, and 26 to allow the outer container to fit within the burner frame.

The walls 60, 62, and 66 are provided with horizontal outwardly extending lips 70, 72 and 76. A hinge 74 is secured on the second end wall 64, as can be seen in FIG. 3. The outer pan 14 has a closed bottom 65 and an open top. The inner pan 16 fits within the open top of the outer pan 14, nesting within the outer pan 14 during use.

The inner generally rectangular pan 16 has a pair of side walls 80, 84, a first end wall 82 and a second end wall 86. The walls 80, 82, and 84 extend transversely to the bottom 85, while the second end wall 86 in an inclined wall. An outwardly extending lip 38 is secured to the upper edge of the first end wall 82 to allow the inner pan to be supported on the edge of the outer pan when the inner pan is tilted for dispensing the food products. The walls 80, 82, 84, and 86 as well as the bottom 85 of the inner pan 16 are perforated to allow food material in the inner pan 16 to be heated and cooked during use. If desired, the inner pan 16 may have perforations in the bottom and side walls, and not in the end walls, or have only a perforated bottom.

A handle 90 is secured to the top edge of the inner pan 16. The handle 90 has a pair of parallel bars 92, 94 connected by a transverse bar 96. The handle 90 extends horizontally as an extension of the upper edges of the inner pan walls 80 and 84, transversely to a vertical axis of the inner pan 16. When the inner pan 16 is positioned inside the outer pan 14, the inner pan 16 is supported by the lip 88 and the handle 90 on the upper edge of the outer pan 14.

The lid 18 comprises a flat base panel 100 which is sized and configured to substantially cover the open top of the inner pan 16. A pair of guide members 102 and 106 extend transversely to the general plane of the panel 100. When in an open position, the guide members extend upwardly from an inner surface of the cover 18 and form a chute, guiding the food items sliding along the panel 100 toward the dispensing edge 106. When lid is in the closed position, the guide member 102 and 106 extend downwardly substantially covering the open top of the inner pan 16 and extending along the side walls 62, 66 of the outer container 14.

A cover handle/support is secured to an outer surface of the panel 110 adjacent the dispensing edge 106. The handle/support 104 is formed as a generally U-shaped body. When the lid 18 is opened, as shown in FIG. 1, the handle 104 rests on the supporting surface, which can be on the ground or the top of a cooler, or ice chest, which can be conveniently provided independently from the cooking apparatus 10. The handle/support 104 allows to somewhat elevate the dispensing edge 106 and oriented the panel 100 at an angle that slows movement of the food along the panel 100. Secured along the inner edge of the plate 100 is a hinge 108 which allows the lid 18 to be hingedly attached to the hinge 74 of the outer pan 14 and pivot between the open and closed positions.

During use, the operator positions the outer pan 14 on the rack of the burner assembly 12 and deposits the cooking liquid therein. The user then positions the inner pan 16 into the outer pan 14 allowing the cooking liquid to penetrate through a plurality of mesh openings 17 formed in the inner pan 16. The user then deposits the food product in the inner pan 16 and closes the lid 18. Once the cooking is finished, the user pulls up the lid 18 with one hand and lowers the outer support 104 to rest on a supporting surface.

The user then pulls the handle 90 upwardly with one hand, with the inclined wall 86 facilitating easy removal and tilting of the inner pan over the plate 100 of the lid 18. By continuously moving the inner pan 16, the user can almost overturn the inner pan 16 over the plate 100 allowing the food product to slide onto the plate 100.

If desired, spices and seasonings can be added to the food product while it is positioned on the panel 100. The outwardly extending guide members 102, 106 prevent scattering of the food items outside of the plate 100. Once all food items have been removed, the user can then easily lift the inner pan 16 by the handle 90 and then empty the liquid or the cooking medium from the outer pan 14.

The outer pan 14 can be transported separately from the burner assembly 12 with the inner pan 16 positioned inside or outside of the outer pan, as desired by the user. The lid 18 can be closed to save space during transportation and storage, thus making the apparatus 10 a compact, easily transportable unit.

The outer pan 14, the inner pan 16, as well as the lid 18 can be made from an easily cleanable sanitary material, for instance aluminum or stainless steel.

Many changes and modifications can be made in the design of the present invention without departing from the spirit thereof. I therefore pray that my rights to the present invention be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.