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Wacky Patent Wednesdays: Barbecue Edition

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US5896668: Barbecue Fork

US5896668: Barbecue Fork

So far this month, we’ve talked about wacky patents related to ice cream and baseball, and now we’re turning to another of summer’s grandest traditions: the barbecue.

Cooking over an open flame goes way, way back of course, and America certainly didn’t invent the barbecue grill—but there have been many patents granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that have helped the process along. Those include the gas grill and the design for fuel for a charcoal grill.

No matter your preference of charcoal or gas, though, I know you’re waiting for the wackier BBQ patents, so grab your oven mitts and let’s get started.

First we have something essential for every good barbecue: a barbecue fork. But this isn’t just *any* fork, mind you. In fact, it doesn’t look much like a fork at all as you can see on the right:

A new barbecue fork for lifting and turning food stuffs on a cooking surface. The inventive device includes an elongated shaft and a handle. The proximal end of the shaft is coupled to the first end of the handle. A pair of spaced apart hooked-shaped prongs are coupled to the shaft with the prongs located towards the distal end of the shaft.

US 2005/0168972 A1: Lighted Barbecue Tongs

US 2005/0168972 A1: Lighted Barbecue Tongs

The description notes that it is actually “an apparatus primarily developed for the purpose of lifting and turning food stuffs on a cooking surface.”

Has anyone used one of these to flip a burger or steak? Do tell!

Sticking with the utensil theme, check out the lighted barbecue tongs on the right. Yes, you guessed it, these are cooking utensils with a built-in lighting system to make night-grilling that much easier:

“A lighted barbecue tong allowing a person who is grilling outdoors to see at night comprising a tongs having an elongated handle portion comprising interconnected rolled steel arms and heat proof grips mounted on the arms. Each arm ends in a flared scalloped end and a switch activated flashlight is mounted in a clip assembly mounted on the elongated handle portion of the barbecue tong.”

No excuses for only grilling in the daytime now!

And last but certainly not least is the barbecue sauce sprayer for those times when slathering on the good stuff with a brush just won’t do:

US4796806: Barbecue sauce sprayer

US4796806: Barbecue sauce sprayer

A barbecue sauce sprayer includes a container, a pump for pumping barbecue sauce out of the container and a disc having a plurality of holes for causing the barbecue sauce to be discharged in a spray pattern.

Looks like it could even be converted into some sort of party game as well—although I doubt such shenanigans would be covered under any warranty, so do be careful with that.

Happy barbecuing—and more wacky patents next week as LegalZoom continues to celebrate innovation, so stay tuned!

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August 17th, 2011 at 9:55 am