Title:
Apparatus and method of providing a universal condiment rack for a cooking grill
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A universal condiment rack having a mounting bracket for adjustably securing the rack to cooking grills of many configurations is provided. The mounting bracket pivots to accommodate grills of a variety of dimensional characteristics and has an adjustable protrusion for leveling the rack on grills having different vertical tapers.



Inventors:
Cummings, Alan (Opelika, AL, US)
Kahler, Andrew (Fortson, GA, US)
Application Number:
10/957921
Publication Date:
04/06/2006
Filing Date:
10/04/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
126/9B
International Classes:
F24B1/191
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BASICHAS, ALFRED
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
McClure, Qualey & Rodack, LLP (Atlanta, GA, US)
Claims:
Therefore, having thus described the disclosure, at least the following is claimed:

1. An apparatus for providing a universal condiment rack on a cooking grill of any shape, comprising: a plurality of substantially parallel longitudinal members, configured to define a rack for supporting condiments, for attaching to a grill; at least one support attached to the plurality of longitudinal members; and at least one universal mounting bracket, pivotally attached to said at least one support, for mounting the rack to said grill, wherein the at least one universal mounting bracket pivots for attaching to said grill.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one universal mounting bracket comprises an opening configured to engage a top edge of a grill housing.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one universal mounting bracket comprises flat metal, formed to be generally J-shaped comprising a base, a long leg, and a short leg.

4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the at least one universal mounting bracket further comprises: a fastener configured to engage a first surface of a cooking grill housing; and a hole in the short leg, configured to threadably receive the fastener.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the at least one universal mounting bracket further comprises a passage formed in a first surface of the long leg, for pivotally receiving one of the plurality of supports in an orientation parallel to the long leg.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one universal mounting bracket further comprises a length-adjustable protrusion secured to a second surface of the leg, for contacting a second surface of the cooking grill housing, wherein the protrusion is adjustable to permit leveling the rack when attached in a plurality of different grill housing configurations.

7. A method of attaching a universal condiment rack to a grill housing, comprising: pivoting a condiment rack mounting bracket to correspond with a top edge of a grill housing; engaging an opening in the condiment rack mounting bracket with the top edge of the grill housing; securing the condiment rack mounting bracket to the grill housing with a fastener, wherein the fastener engages the condiment rack mounting bracket; and adjusting the condiment rack mounting bracket with a leveling protrusion, wherein the adjusting permits a substantially horizontal rack position independent of the grill shape.

8. A system for providing a universal condiment rack for a grill, comprising: a pivoting means for adjusting a mounting device; a supporting means for attaching a rack to the mounting device; and a fastening means for securing the mounting device to a grill.

9. The system of claim 8, further comprising a leveling means for adjusting the rack to a substantially horizontal orientation.

10. A grill, comprising: a cooking grill housing; a rack surface for supporting condiments; at least one support, attached to the rack surface; and at least one pivotally-adjustable mount, for attaching the support to the cooking grill housing.

11. The grill of claim 10, wherein the mount comprises a fastening device engaged with the cooking grill housing.

12. The grill of claim 10, wherein the mount comprises a rack leveling device engaged with the cooking grill housing.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure is generally related to cooking grills and, more particularly, is related to an apparatus and method for providing a universal condiment rack for a cooking grill.

BACKGROUND

Outdoor cooking is commonly performed on cooking grills, which use charcoal briquets or propane or natural gas fueled burners for generating cooking heat. Cooking grills of these types commonly feature a lower housing, for containing the heat source and supporting a cooking rack or grill above the heat source. In general, the geometry of the lower housing tapers inwardly from top to bottom, such that the top opening has greater area than the cross-sectional area at the bottom of the lower housing. Although the geometries and dimensions of lower housings vary widely among different grill brands and models, they commonly are configured in either generally rectangular or circular shapes with varying degrees of taper.

One prevalent aspect of all cooking is the use of condiments to enhance and supplement the flavor of cooked foods. Unlike a kitchen, the outdoor cooking environment commonly lacks surrounding countertop space and thus does not typically provide sufficient space for storing condiments while cooking. Although some grills are provided with racks, shelves or trays, these devices are usually produced to specifically complement particular grill shapes and dimensions and thus are not compatible for many other grills.

For example, a condiment rack specifically designed for a generally rectangular grill with a generally linear grill housing top edge and a very slight taper will not be properly fitted to a circular grill having a more pronounced taper. In addition to the angles at which the rack would engage the circular grill being different from those for the rectangular grill, the difference in taper would likely result in non-horizontal rack orientation.

Thus, a heretofore-unaddressed need exists in the industry to address the aforementioned deficiencies and inadequacies.

SUMMARY

The present disclosure includes embodiments of an apparatus for providing a universal condiment rack on a cooking grill, comprising: a plurality of substantially parallel longitudinal members, configured to define a rack for supporting condiments, for attaching to a grill; a plurality of supports attached to the plurality of longitudinal members; and a plurality of universal rack mounts, each pivotally attached to the plurality supports, for mounting the rack to a grill, wherein the universal rack mount pivots for attaching to arcuate or linear cooking grill housings.

An embodiment of the present disclosure can also be viewed as providing a method of attaching a universal condiment rack to a grill, comprising: pivoting a condiment rack mount to correspond with an angle of a top edge of a grill housing;

    • engaging an opening in the condiment rack mount with the top edge of the grill housing;
    • securing the condiment rack mount to the grill housing with a fastener, wherein the fastener engages the condiment rack mount; and adjusting the condiment rack mount with a leveling protrusion, wherein the adjusting permits a substantially horizontal rack position independent of the grill type.

Another embodiment of the present disclosure can be viewed as a system for providing a universal condiment rack for a grill, comprising: a pivoting means for adjusting a mounting device; a supporting means for attaching a rack to the mounting device; and a fastening means for securing the mounting device to a grill.

Yet another embodiment of the present disclosure can be viewed as a grill, comprising: a cooking grill housing; a rack surface for supporting condiments; a support, attached to the rack surface; and a pivotally-adjustable mount, for attaching the support to the cooking grill housing.

Other systems, methods, features, and advantages of the present disclosure will be or become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following drawings and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features, and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the present disclosure, and be protected by the accompanying claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Many aspects of the disclosure can be better understood with reference to the following drawings. The components in the drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon clearly illustrating the principles of the present disclosure. Moreover, in the drawings, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the several views:

FIG. 1 illustrates a partial perspective view of a grill with an embodiment of a universal condiment rack attached to a linear front edge;

FIG. 2 illustrates a partial perspective view of a grill with an embodiment of a universal condiment rack attached to an arcuate front edge;

FIG. 3 is a partial side elevational, cross-sectional view of the embodiment of FIG. 2, taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is a partial perspective detail view of an embodiment of one end of a universal condiment rack.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference is now made in detail to the description of the embodiments as illustrated in the drawings. While several embodiments are described in connection with these drawings, there is no intent to limit the invention to the embodiment or embodiments disclosed herein. On the contrary, the intent is to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalents.

Reference is made to FIG. 1, which illustrates a partial perspective view of a generally rectangular grill 100 with an embodiment of a universal condiment rack 110. The grill 100 comprises an upper housing member 101 and a lower housing member 102, which also serves as a grill cover. The lower housing member 102 generally contains a heat source (not shown) disposed beneath a cooking grate or structure (not shown). The upper grill housing 101 may be pivotally attached to the lower housing member 102 along, for example, the rear edges (not shown) of the upper and lower housings 101, 102. The grill 100 features a generally linear grill housing top edge 106. The universal condiment rack 110 is attached to the grill housing top edge 106 with universal mounting brackets 120.

Reference is now made to now to FIG. 2, which illustrates a perspective view of a circular grill 200 with an embodiment of a universal condiment rack 110. The grill 200 comprises an upper housing member 201 and a lower housing member 202, which also serves as a grill cover. The lower housing member 202 generally contains a heat source (not shown) disposed beneath a cooking grate or structure (not shown). The upper grill housing 201 may be pivotally attached to the lower housing member 202. The grill 200 features an arcuate grill housing top edge 206. The universal condiment rack 110 is attached to the arcuate grill housing top edge 206 with universal mounting brackets 120. As shown in both FIGS. 1 and 2, an embodiment of the universal condiment rack 110 has a generally arcuate profile configured to engage a linear grill housing 102 in an arc/chord manner or for receiving an arcuate grill housing 202 in a complementary manner. The universal condiment rack 110 accommodates the differences in the grill housings of FIGS. 1 and 2 by utilizing universal mounting brackets 120, which pivot at each end of a generally arc shaped condiment rack 110. The pivoting function of the universal mounting brackets 120 permits the brackets to receive grill housings at varying angles relative to the condiment rack 110, corresponding, respectively, to linear and arcuate front edges 106 and 206.

Reference is now made to FIG. 3, which is a partial side-elevational cross-sectional view of the embodiment of FIG. 2. The universal condiment rack 110 of FIG. 3 is illustrated as attached to a cooking grill 200 having an arcuate grill housing top edge 206. The universal mounting bracket 120 of this embodiment is, for example, fabricated by forming a short piece of flat metal into a relatively J-shaped profile, wherein the J-shaped profile has a base 122, a short leg 126 and a long leg 124. The gap between the long leg 124 and the short leg 126 forms an opening 136 for receiving a grill housing top edge 106, 206 when the universal mounting bracket 120 is in an inverted-J position. The short leg 126 includes a hole 128 for receiving a threaded fastener 130. The threaded fastener 130 is tightened to securely attach the universal condiment rack 110 to the cooking grill 200. The long leg 124 of the universal mounting bracket 120 includes a distal end 125. Adjustably attached near the distal end 125, is a protrusion 132 for engaging the outside surface 104 of the grill housing. The protrusion 132 is adjustable to provide a leveling mechanism or means for the universal condiment rack 110, such that the rack 110 may be installed on a variety of grill shapes and sizes. For example, a rack mounted to a slightly tapered grill housing will require a shorter protrusion adjustment than a rack mounted to a grill housing having a more pronounced vertical taper.

A rack support 150 is pivotally attached to the universal mounting bracket 120 and fixably attached to components which define the condiment supporting surface 160. The rack support 150 and condiment supporting surface 160 of this embodiment are formed longitudinal wire components, but one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that both or either of these components could be fabricated using alternative materials and methods. For example, either or both of the rack support 150 and the condiment supporting surface 160 could be fabricated from a planar material, such as sheet metal. In another alternative embodiment, the rack support 150 and the condiment supporting surface 160 could be integrated into a single component fabricated from a planar material such as, for example, sheet metal, heat-resistant plastics, etc. The condiment supporting surface 160 is further configured to receive hooks 180 for hanging grill related tools or accessories.

Reference is now made to FIG. 4, which is a partial perspective view of a detail of an embodiment of a universal mounting bracket 120 and support 150. The universal mounting bracket 120 features a deformation 134 in the long leg 124 defining a passage for pivotally receiving the rack support 150. This embodiment features a rack support 150 at each end of the universal condiment rack 110, but one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that more than two rack supports may be used within the spirit and scope of this disclosure. The rack support 150 is attached to, for example, a plurality of parallel longitudinal members 160, which are planarly arranged to support condiments. By way of example, the longitudinal members 160 defining the rack of this embodiment are metal rods formed into a generally arcuate shape. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that an alternative embodiment could feature a single planar member or a plurality of longitudinal members of other geometries. The universal rack mount 120, pivots through a range 170 to accommodate grill housing top edge configurations of many shapes and dimensions.

It should be emphasized that the above-described embodiments of the present disclosure, particularly, any “preferred” embodiments, are merely possible examples of implementations, merely set forth for a clear understanding of the principles of the disclosure. Many variations and modifications may be made to the above-described embodiment(s) of the disclosure without departing substantially from the spirit and principles of the disclosure. All such modifications and variations are intended to be included herein within the scope of this disclosure and the present disclosure and protected by the following claims.