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Publication numberUS20030226844 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/421,649
Publication dateDec 11, 2003
Filing dateApr 23, 2003
Priority dateApr 24, 2002
Publication number10421649, 421649, US 2003/0226844 A1, US 2003/226844 A1, US 20030226844 A1, US 20030226844A1, US 2003226844 A1, US 2003226844A1, US-A1-20030226844, US-A1-2003226844, US2003/0226844A1, US2003/226844A1, US20030226844 A1, US20030226844A1, US2003226844 A1, US2003226844A1
InventorsWilson Felknor, Jim Ferron
Original AssigneeFelknor Wilson A., Jim Ferron
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Flip side grill tray
US 20030226844 A1
Abstract
A tray assembly for conveying food to and from a cooking site utilizes first and second covers wherein each cover has a cup-shaped form and a peripheral edge which extends around the cup-shaped form of the first cover, and further utilizes an intermediate section positionable between the first and second covers. The intermediate section provides two opposite tray surfaces against which food can be placed for conveying purposes and has a boundary edge section, and the boundary edge section cooperates with the peripheral edges of the first and second covers so that the first and second covers can be placed in snug-fitting relationship with the intermediate section along the boundary edge section thereof. Therefore, when any residue or fluid which may be left from or flow from uncooked food carried upon one of the tray surfaces of the intermediate section to the cooking site is isolated from the other tray surface of the intermediate section.
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Claims(20)
1. A tray assembly for conveying food to and from a cooking site, the assembly comprising:
a first cover having a cup-shaped form and a peripheral edge which extends around the cup-shaped form of the first cover;
a second cover having a cup-shaped form and a peripheral edge which extends around the cup-shaped form of the second cover;
an intermediate section positionable between the first and second covers and providing two opposite tray surfaces against which a food item can be placed for conveying purposes and having a boundary edge section, and wherein the boundary edge section include means cooperable with the peripheral edges of the first and second covers so that the first and second covers can be placed in snug-fitting relationship with the intermediate section along the boundary edge section thereof so that any residue or fluid from food carried upon one of the tray surfaces of the intermediate section is isolated from the other tray surface of the intermediate section.
2. The assembly as defined in claim 1 wherein the boundary edge section defines a gap for accepting the peripheral edges of the first or second cover when the peripheral edge of the corresponding cover is directed edge-wise into the gap.
3. The assembly as defined in claim 2 wherein the intermediate section includes a mid-section which provides the two opposite tray surfaces, and the boundary edge section of the intermediate section includes an outer wall and an associated band which surrounds the mid-section and which are maintained in spaced relationship with one another so that the gap is formed between the outer wall and the associated band, and wherein the gap is adapted to snugly accept the peripheral edge of the first or second cover section when the peripheral edge of the corresponding cover section is directed edge-wise therein.
4. The assembly as defined in claim 3 wherein the wall and the associated band are joined together by a two-sided spacer section so that a first gap is provided between the wall and the associated band on one side of the spacer section and wherein the first gap opens away from one tray surface of the intermediate section for snugly accepting the peripheral edge of one of the first or second cover section when the peripheral edge of the one of the first or second cover section is directed edge-wise into the first gap and so that a second gap is provided between the wall and the associated band on-the other side of the spacer section and wherein the second gap opens away from the opposite tray surface of the intermediate section for snugly accepting the peripheral edge of the other of the first or second cover section when the peripheral edge of the other of the first or section cover section is directed edge-wise into the second gap.
5. The assembly as defined in claim 3 wherein the associated band has a height as measured from the base of the gap which is at least about 1.75 inches.
6. The assembly as defined in claim 1 wherein each of the first and second covers is elongated in shape and has a handle which is attached to the cup-shaped form of the cover at each end thereof.
7. The assembly as defined in claim 3 wherein each of the first and second covers is elongated in shape and has a handle which is attached to the cup-shaped form of the cover at each end thereof, each handle is attached to the cup-shaped form of its corresponding cover which a pair of spacers, and the spacers cooperate with the band of the intermediate section so that neither the band nor the spacers interfere with the acceptance of the peripheral edge of the first or second cover section by the gap when the peripheral edge of the corresponding cover section is directed edge-wise into the gap.
8. The assembly as defined in claim 7 wherein at least either the spacers of the handle or the band of the intermediate section includes slots which accommodate the acceptance of the other of the band of the intermediate section or the spacers of the handles when the peripheral edge of the corresponding cover section is directed edge-wise into the gap.
9. The assembly as defined in claim 1 wherein the intermediate section includes an elongated mid-section which provides the two opposite tray surfaces, and the elongated mid-section provides, on one tray surface thereof, a ridge which extends between the opposite ends of the mid-section.
10. The assembly as defined in claim 9 wherein the mid-section of the intermediate section includes two substantially two planar portions which are joined together along a line which extends between the opposite ends of the mid-section, and the ridge extends along-the line.
11. The assembly as defined in claim 9 wherein the intermediate section includes a portion which is associated with the boundary edge section and which is shaped to provide a trough which extends around the mid-section of the intermediate section.
12. A tray assembly for conveying food to and from a cooking site, the assembly comprising:
a first cover having a cup-shaped form and a peripheral edge which extends around the cup-shaped form of the first cover;
a second cover having a cup-shaped form and a peripheral edge which extends around the cup-shaped form of the second cover;
an intermediate section positionable between the first and second covers and including a mid-section which provides two opposite tray surfaces against which a food item can be placed for conveying purposes and having a boundary edge section which surrounds the mid-section, and wherein the boundary edge section cooperates with the peripheral edges of the first and second covers so that the first and second covers can be placed in snug-fitting relationship with the intermediate section along the boundary edge section thereof so that any residue or fluid from food carried upon one of the tray surfaces of the intermediate section is isolated from the other tray surface of the intermediate section and so that said other tray surface of the intermediate section is prevented from exposure to residue or fluid which may be left upon said one tray surface from the food.
13. The assembly as defined in claim 12 wherein the boundary edge section defines a gap for accepting the peripheral edges of the first or second cover when the peripheral edge of the corresponding cover is directed edge-wise into the gap.
14. The assembly as defined in claim 13 wherein the intermediate section includes a mid-section which provides the two opposite tray surfaces, and the boundary edge section of the intermediate section includes an outer wall and an associated band which surrounds the mid-section and which are maintained in spaced relationship with one another so that the gap is formed between the wall and the associated band, and wherein the gap is adapted to snugly accept the peripheral edge of the first or second cover section when the peripheral edge of the corresponding cover section is directed edge-wise therein.
15. The assembly as defined in claim 14 wherein the wall and the associated band are joined together by a two-sided spacer section so that a first gap is provided between the wall and the associated band on one side of the spacer section and wherein the first gap opens away from one tray surface of the intermediate section for snugly accepting the peripheral edge of one of the first or second cover section when the peripheral edge of the one of the first or second cover section is directed edge-wise into the first gap and so that a second gap is provided between the wall and the associated band on the other side of the spacer section and wherein the second-gap opens away from the opposite tray surface of the intermediate section for snugly accepting the peripheral edge of the other of the first or second cover section when the peripheral edge of the other of the first or section cover section is directed edge-wise into the second gap.
16. The assembly as defined in claim 12 wherein each of the first and second covers is elongated in shape and has a handle which is attached to the cup-shaped form of the cover at each end thereof.
17. The assembly as defined in claim 14 wherein each of the first and second covers is elongated in shape and has a handle which is attached to the cup-shaped form of the cover at each end thereof, each handle is attached to the cup-shaped form of its corresponding cover which a pair of spacers, and the spacers cooperate with the band of the intermediate section so that neither the band nor the spacers interfere with the acceptance of the peripheral edge of the first or second cover section by the gap when the peripheral edge of the corresponding cover section is directed edge-wise into the gap.
18. The assembly as defined in claim 1 wherein the intermediate section includes an elongated mid-section which provides the two opposite tray surfaces, and the elongated mid-section provides, on one tray surface thereof, a ridge which extends between the opposite ends of the mid-section.
19. The assembly as defined in claim 18 wherein the mid-section of the intermediate section includes two substantially two planar portions which are joined together along a line which extends between the opposite ends of the mid-section, and the ridge extends along the line.
20. The assembly as defined in claim 19 wherein the intermediate section includes a portion which is associated with the boundary edge section and which is shaped to provide a trough which extends around the mid-section of the intermediate section.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The benefit of Provisional Application Serial No. 60/375,161, filed Apr. 24, 2003 and entitled FLIP SIDE GRILL TRAY, is hereby claimed. The disclosure of this referenced provisional application is incorporated herein by reference.

[0002] This invention relates generally to cooking accessories and relates, more particularly, to trays for conveying food to and from a cooking site, such as an outdoor grill.

[0003] When conveying uncooked meat to be cooked at a cooking site, such as an outdoor grill, the meat is commonly transported in a tray, and when conveying the cooked meat from the cooking site, the meat is commonly transported in the same tray in which the meat was originally carried to the cooking site. Without thoroughly cleaning such a tray between its use for transporting the meat to the cooking site and its use for transporting the meat from the cooking site, the cooked meat could become contaminated with contaminants contained within residue or juices left on the tray from its earlier use. Of course, to clean the tray between uses can be inconvenient and time-consuming. Consequently, the tray is often not thoroughly cleaned between uses, and accordingly, an unwashed tray can expose individuals who eat the cooked meat to undue health risks.

[0004] It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved tray assembly for use when conveying meat or other food to and from a cooking site, such as an outdoor grill, which reduces any health risk from food residue or juices left on the tray between its uses.

[0005] It is another object of the present invention to provide such a tray assembly which is uncomplicated in construction yet effective in operation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] This invention resides in a tray assembly for conveying food to and from a cooking site.

[0007] The tray assembly includes a first cover having a cup-shaped form and a peripheral edge which extends around the cup-shaped form of the first cover, and further includes a second cover having a cup-shaped form and a peripheral edge which extends around the cup-shaped form of the second cover. In addition, an intermediate section is positionable between the first and second covers and provides two opposite tray surfaces against which food item be placed for conveying purposes and wherein the intermediate section includes a boundary edge section. Furthermore, the boundary edge section includes means cooperable with the peripheral edges of the first and second covers so that the first and second covers can be placed in snug-fitting relationship with the intermediate section along the boundary edge section thereof so that any residue or fluid which might be left from or flow from the food while being carried upon one of the tray surfaces of the intermediate section to a cooking site is isolated from the other tray surf ace of the intermediate section so that said other tray surface of the intermediate section is prevented from exposure from any residue or fluid which may be left from or flow from the food when the food is transported to the cooking site.

[0008] Thus, the other tray surface remains in a clean condition for transporting or conveying the food, when cooked, from the cooking site.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tray assembly within which features of the present invention are embodied.

[0010]FIG. 2 is a side view of a fragment of the FIG. 1 tray assembly.

[0011]FIG. 3 is a perspective view, shown exploded, of the FIG. 1 tray assembly.

[0012]FIG. 4 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the FIG. 1 tray assembly as viewed along line 4-4 of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENT

[0013] Turning now to the drawings in greater detail, there is shown in FIGS. 1-4 an embodiment of a tray assembly, generally indicated 20, within which features of the present invention are embodied. The tray assembly 20 includes first and second covers, indicated 22 and 24, respectively, which are disposed in superposed relation and an intermediate section 26 positionable between the covers 22 and 24. The first and second covers 22 and 24 are identical in construction, are each somewhat cup-shaped in form (i.e. having a concave interior), and are arranged so that the cup-shaped forms of the covers 22 and 24 open generally toward one another. The intermediate section 26 is positioned between the first and second covers 22 and 24, and during use of the tray assembly 20, is attached to one or both of the first and second covers 22 and 24 in a snug fit-up relationship therewith. To this end and is discussed in greater detail herein, the intermediate section 26 includes a boundary edge section 84 which cooperates with the first and second covers 22, 24 so that the first and second covers 22, 24 can be placed in snug-fitting relationship with the intermediate section 26 along the boundary edge section thereof. In the interests of the present invention, the phrases “snug-fitting relationship” and “snug fit-up relationship” each mean a close-fitting, or tight, relationship as opposed to a loose-fitting relationship in which components are permitted to move or shift relative to one another.

[0014] As best shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, each of the first and second covers 22 and 24 includes a relatively broad, substantially rectangular mid-section 32 and walls 34 which are joined to and extend away from the mid-section 32 where the walls 34 terminate along a peripheral edge 36. Comprising the walls 34 are somewhat parallel and opposite sidewalls 38 and 40 which extend along the two longer sides of the mid-section 32 and somewhat parallel and opposite endwalls 42 and 44 which extend along the two shorter sides (i.e. ends) of the mid-section 32. In addition, the corners of the cover 22 and 24 are rounded in shape to provide the covers 22 and 24 with their cup-like form. The peripheral edge 36 lies in a plane for a reason apparent herein. If desired and as best shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the mid-section 32 of each cover 22 and 24 can include reinforcing ribs 48 which extend transversely thereacross and adjacent each end thereof.

[0015] Each cover 22 or 24 further includes a pair of handles 46 which are attached to so as to extend outwardly from the endwalls 42 and 44 of the covers 22 and 24. Joining the handles 42 to the endwalls 42 and 44 and as best shown in FIG. 3 are a pair of spacers 45 which are disposed at opposite ends of the handles 46 and include slots 47 which, as will be apparent herein, accept a portion of a component of the intermediate section 26 as the covers 22 and 24 are joined to the intermediate section 26. Preferably, the handles 46 include ribs integrally formed therein to enhance the rigidity of the handles 46.

[0016] The covers 22 and 24 are formed (e.g. molded) out of a relatively rigid plastic, but alternative materials can be used.

[0017] With reference to FIGS. 3 and 4, the intermediate section 26 includes a mid-section 50 having two substantially planar portions 52, 54 which are joined together along a line 56 which extends along the middle of the mid-section 50 to form an obtuse angle 57 (FIG. 4) therebetween. In addition, the boundary edge section 84 of the intermediate section 26 includes a portion which is shaped to provide a trough 58 (best shown in FIG. 4) which extends around the entire boundary of the mid-section 50 and defines an outer edge 59 for the mid-section 50.

[0018] As will be apparent herein, one side, indicated 60, of the mid-section 50 provides a tray surface 62 upon which uncooked food products, such as meat, can be placed for transport (e.g. carrying purposes) and draining purposes while the other side, indicated 64, of the mid-section 50 provides a tray surface 66 upon which cooked food products can be placed for transport. More specifically, the line 56 along which the planar portions 52, 54 are joined provides a peak from which food residue and juices are permitted to drain from the uncooked food and flow toward the trough 58 for collection. Meanwhile, the opposite side 64 provides a tray surface 65 upon which cooked food products can be placed with less regard for the draining ability of the tray surface 65. It will be understood that in order for food items to be carried upon a desired one of the tray surfaces 62, 65, the tray assembly 20 must be oriented (e.g. inverted, if necessary) so that the desired tray surface 62 or 64 is oriented so as to face upwardly.

[0019] Attached to an outer wall of the trough-providing portion of the boundary edge section 84 adjacent the outermost edge 59 thereof and so as to be disposed outboard of the edge 59 are a spacer section 66 and an associated band 68 which extend completely around the mid-section 50. The spacer section 66 is relatively thin in form (with upper and lower sides) and extends outwardly from the outer wall (of the trough-providing portion of the boundary edge section 84) where it is joined to the band 68 along the middle thereof. The band 68 has opposite upper and lower portions 70 and 72, respectively, which terminate along upper and lower edges 74 and 76, and further includes two pairs of vertical slots, or slits 78, which are defined within the upper and lower portions 70 and 72 and which are disposed on opposite ends of the intermediate section 26. Preferably, the slits 78 are not very deep to lessen the likelihood of spillage of juices or fluids from the interior of the tray assembly 20 in the event that the assembly 20 is tipped by an appreciable amount (e.g. up to about fifteen degrees) relative to the horizontal. As will be apparent herein, these slits 78 accept the spacers 45, and the spacer slots 47 accept the portion of the band 68 at which the slots 47 terminate when the covers 22 and 24 are positioned in snug-fitting relationship with the intermediate section 26.

[0020] Furthermore and as will be apparent herein, a pair of gaps 80 (disposed above and below the spacer section 66 as viewed in FIG. 4) are defined between the outermost wall of the trough 58 and the corresponding portion (i.e. the upper or lower portion 70 or 72) of the band 68, and it is within these gaps 80 (one of which opens upwardly and the other of which opens downwardly) that the edges 36 of the covers 22 and 24 are received when placed in snug-fitting relationship with the intermediate section 26. Further still, the intermediate section 26 includes a pair of handles 82 which are joined to so as to extend outwardly of the band 68. As will be apparent herein, the handles 82 are used, in conjunction with the handles 46 of the covers 22, 24, to transport the tray assembly 20 between sites and to selectively remove the cover 22 or 24 from or replace the cover 22 or 24 into snug-fitting relationship with the intermediate section 26.

[0021] To assemble the tray assembly 20, each of the covers 22 or 24 is positioned so as to open toward a corresponding side of the intermediate section 26 and urged thereagainst until the edge 36 of each cover 22 or 24 is snugly inserted (i.e. positioned) within the corresponding gap 80 defined between the outermost wall of the trough 58 and the corresponding portion 70 or 72 of the intermediate section 26 and so that the edge 36 of the cover 22 or 24 abuts the spacer section 66. Accordingly, each gap 80 is sized to snugly accept the edge 36 of a cover 22 or 24 when the cover edge 36 is inserted therein so that the cover edge 36 engages the spacer section 66. If desired, an indentation can be formed along the inside surface of the band portions 70 and 72, and corresponding detents can be formed along the outer surface of the walls 34 of the covers 22 and 24 so that when a cover edge 36 of the cover 22 or 24 is positioned, or inserted, into snug fit-up relationship within the gap 80, the cover 22 or 24 moves into a snap-fit, or interlocking, relationship with the intermediate section 26.

[0022] It will be understood that as each cover 22 or 24 is placed in snug-fitting relationship with a corresponding side of the intermediate section 26, the slits 78 defined within the band 68 at each end thereof accommodate (i.e. accept) the spacers 45 to which the handles 46 are attached to the cover 22 or 24 while the slots 47 of the cover handles 46 accommodate (i.e. accept) the corresponding upper or lower portion 70 or 72 of the band 68 so that the edges 36 of the covers 22 and 24 can be placed into snug-fitting relationship within the gaps 80 without interference from the handles 46 or band 68. Accordingly, the width of the slits 78 are slightly greater than the thickness of the spacers 45 and the width of the slots 47 are slightly greater than the thickness of the band 68 as measured through its upper or lower portion 70 or 72.

[0023] To use the tray assembly 20 to transport uncooked food (e.g. meat) to a cooking site (such as an outdoor grill), the cover 22 is removed from the intermediate section 26 to expose the tray surface 62. With the tray surface 62 exposed, the uncooked food is placed upon the tray surface 62, and the cover 22 is replaced upon the intermediate section 26. (Depending upon the height of the food placed upon the tray surface 62, it may be difficult to replace the cover 22 into snug-fitting relationship with the intermediate section 26, but as will be apparent herein, it is not necessary to do so.) With the uncooked food placed upon the tray surface 62 of the intermediate section 26, any residue or fluid which falls or drips from the uncooked food (such as the juices from uncooked steaks) is permitted to flow from the food and along the planar portions 52 and 54 into the trough 58. When the tray assembly 20 has been transported to the cooking site, the cover 22 is removed from the intermediate section 26, and the uncooked food is lifted from the tray surface 62 of the intermediate section 26 for cooking. The cover 22 is then replaced upon the intermediate section 26 so that the edge 36 thereof fits into snug-fitting relationship within the gap 80 corresponding with the tray surface 62.

[0024] When it is desired to transport (i.e. convey) the cooked food from the cooking site, the tray assembly 20 is turned, or flipped, over, and the cover 24 is removed from the intermediate section 26 to expose the (upwardly-facing) tray surface 65 thereof while the cover 22 remains snugly secured to the intermediate section 26. The cooked food is then placed upon the exposed tray surface 65, and then the cover 24 is replaced upon the intermediate section 26. The tray assembly 20, with the cooked food contained therein, can then be transported from the cooking site.

[0025] It will be appreciated that any food residue or juices which have been left or drained from the uncooked food onto the tray surface 62 of the intermediate section 26 during transport of the (uncooked) food to the cooking site remains at all times separated from the opposite tray surface 65 of the intermediate section 26. Therefore, the tray surface 65 remains separated from any contaminants which may be contained within the residue or juices to which a tray surface 62 is exposed, and the tray surface 62 remains therefore in uncontaminated (e.g. clean) condition when the time comes to place the cooked food thereagainst. Consequently and when placed against the tray surface 65 for transport from the cooking site, the cooked food is never exposed to the residue or juices (or the contaminants which may be contained therein) which are left against or flow across the tray surface 62. The covers 22 and 24 are selectively removed from or replaced upon the intermediate section 26 by appropriate manipulation of the handles 46 and 82.

[0026] The tray assembly 20 is particularly well-suited for transporting meat to and from an outdoor grill where the meat is cooked for eating. For example, when transporting the meat to an outdoor grill, the meat is placed against the tray surface 62 of the intermediate section 26 where the juices of the meat are permitted to flow across the planar portions 52 and 54 and drain into the trough 58. When the meat is cooked and ready to be transported from the grill to, for example, the dinner table, for eating, the tray assembly 20 is flipped over, and the meat is placed upon the uncontaminated (e.g. clean) surface 65 of the intermediate section 26 for transport. Thus when carried upon the tray surface 65, the cooked meat is isolated from exposure to the juices of the uncooked meat which may have been collected against the tray surface 65.

[0027] Exemplary dimensions of the tray assembly 20 are provided herein as follows: The wall thickness of each of the cover 22 and 24 and the intermediate section 26 is about 1.8 mm, the length of each cover 22 or 24 (disregarding the handles 46) is about 15.2 inches, the length of each cover 22 or 24 including the handles 46 is about 17.146 inches, the width of each cover 22 or 24 is about 9.2 inches, the height of each cover 22 or 24 is about 1.715 inches, and the height of the band 68 as measured from the spacer section 66 is about 1.75 inches (so that the total height of the band 68 is about 3.0 inches).

[0028] It will be understood that numerous modifications and substitutions can be had to the aforedescribed embodiment without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, although the aforedescribed tray assembly 20 and in particular, the covers 22 and 24, have been shown and described as not including feet which would enhance the stability of the assembly 20 when placed upon a flat surface, the tray assembly 20 and, in particular, the covers 22 and 24, can include such feet. Accordingly, the aforedescribed embodiment 20 is intended for illustration and not as limitation.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8523000 *Oct 22, 2010Sep 3, 2013Pactiv Packaging Inc.Multi-compartment container system
US8955353Mar 21, 2011Feb 17, 2015Columbia Insurance CompanyFood server assembly
US20110031153 *Oct 22, 2010Feb 10, 2011Pmp Industries, Inc.Multi-Compartment Container System
DE102008043349A1 *Oct 31, 2008May 6, 2010BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbHContainer for foods, has lower part for separating upper part and connecting part, which is constructed as separating part for separating lower part and upper part
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/4.26, 220/503, 220/796
International ClassificationA47J47/14
Cooperative ClassificationA47J47/14
European ClassificationA47J47/14
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 25, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: FELKNOR VENTURES, LLC, TENNESSEE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FELKNOR, WILSON A.;FERRON, JIM;REEL/FRAME:014416/0518
Effective date: 20030816