LAKE WYLIE — Traditional grill cleaners beware, there’s a new kid on the block.
It’s called the Grill Blaster, and it was invented by Lake Wylie’s Lee Kehler and his son Chris.
“The Grill Blaster is a device similar to your self-cleaning oven system, but for your barbecue,” Lee Kehler said. “It’s the only one in the world. It’s entirely unique.”
This version of the Grill Blaster, the latest of several designs and which looks like a mini muffin tin, is made of metal and coated with Teflon to keep the metal from melting on the grill. The amount of time it takes the Grill Blaster to clean depends on the grill’s heat and the amount and type of food baked onto the grill, according to the Grill Blaster website.
“Stick the Grill Blaster on the barbecue and turn it on high. You’re going to see an awful lot of smoke the first time,” Kehler said. “What’s fueling this whole thing is the food.
“What you do when you’re through is you whisk off the barbecue and Grill Blaster, and then set the Grill Blaster back on the barbecue to store it.”
That’s it: The grill is clean. There are no chemical cleaners required, and the Grill Blaster requires no washing or cleaning, Kehler said.
“We would assume five to 10 years would be the lifespan of the product,” he said.
“We have not seen any degradation of barbecues related to doing this,” Kehler said. “The Grill Blaster is made to sustain the kinds of temperatures used in barbecues.”
Earlier Grill Blaster designs consisted of a metal-wire plate covered with a sheet of tinfoil, but Kehler was unhappy with that design, so the father-son duo decided to change it.
They are patenting the current design.
It was Lee Kehler who was inspired to create the original Grill Blaster. “I’ve been doing this all my life. It’s kind of the nature of what I do,” Kehler said. “When I was in corporate life, I was involved in a number of firsts.”
Those firsts included the metalized polypropylene used to line snack-food packages, the redesign of the resealable Oreo cookie packet and other food-related inventions.
“I like the challenge of taking something that people see as an issue and changing it and making it better,” Kehler said.
The original version of the Grill Blaster saw much success.
Kehler said he expects the new Grill Blaster to see improved sales. “Anybody who sees Grill Blaster wants to know where to buy one,” Kehler said.
Kehler said he is talking to a Charlotte marketing company and considering updating the website.
The Charlotte firm “will sell the product, ship the product out of their warehouse, the whole thing,” he said.
The Grill Blaster retails for $39.95 and is available online at www.grillblaster.com.
A handle designed for lifting the Grill Blaster from the grill is sold separately.