Michael Sandeen

Breakthrough Consumer Product Launches, with Spin Jammer & SearBQ Creator Michael Sandeen

We talk a lot about the high failure rates of consumer products. It’s a tough road, and launching a hit consumer product is a rare event. Michael Sandeen is an innovator who’s exploded those odds—and he’s now done it twice. 

Thirty-five years ago Michael created Spin Jammer, a uniquely spinnable flying disc that sold by the millions in big-box retail stores like Walmart, Toys R Us and K-Mart. Then, in late 2020, he introduced SearBQ, a cast-iron griddle and press combination for the barbecue, and it turned to be his second hit product. But SearBQ doesn’t sell retail: it is only available direct-to-consumer (DTC), through what is now one of Shopify’s top-selling new stores.

It’s very deliberately a different strategy, and Michael Sandeen has been quick to adopt other new ways for SearBQ. He started out with a successful Kickstarter campaign, and due to pandemic-induced supply and shipping challenges, launched his summer product in the middle of winter—the winter solstice to be exact—and too late to capture holiday sales. 

Sales exploded nonetheless, and Michael quickly found himself facing new challenges, battling retail giants for shipping freighter space and Amazon for packing materials. Growth would be the next frontier in his DTC experiment, and he’d need to pull out everything he’s learned to manage it successfully. 

In this mouthwatering episode (we do talk about food more than we’d meant to—SearBQ has that effect) Michael Sandeen shares how he leveraged three-and-a-half decades of product design, manufacturing and selling experience to make launching a breakthrough product seem so easy. It ain’t just spin and sizzle—but those things help!

Here are some key-takeaways from this exciting and enlightening episode:

• How selling consumer products has transformed since the late ’80s (2:00)
• Why a retail veteran decided to sell only direct-to-consumer (3:30)
• How one big idea and two burned steaks sparked SearBQ (5:04)
• Delighting ideal buyers and winning over the haters (8:00)
• Why Michael won’t use Kickstarter for another product, despite his success (12:47)
• Things product-makers need to know about Kickstarter marketing agencies (15:08)
• The biggest lesson from supply-chain challenges and inventory depletion (17:00)
• Where you CAN’T beat Walmart and Target (17:45)
• The importance of continuous improvement—even when you’re crushing it (19:20)
• How beautiful product design and smart engineering are critical success triggers (20:00)
• Putting the brand name front and center on the product (22:15)
• Leaving room for buyers to surprise you (23:30)
• The (hands-down) best things SearBQ’s inventor loves to cook on it (24:42)
• The innovation curve never ends (27:45)

Buy the SearBQ Griddle & Press online: SearBQ.com
The Product Launch & Marketing Agency: GraphosProduct.com

Episode transcript:

Laurier: Hey, product makers and product marketers. if you’re hoping to launch a breakthrough direct-to-consumer product, this episode is for you.

Welcome to Product: Knowledge, the podcast about creating and marketing products people truly need. I’m Laurier Mandin, founder and principal of Graphos Product.

35 years ago, Michael Sandeen invented a flying disc with a unique cone shape on the bottom that enabled it to spin, balance, and twirl better than any disc on the market. He called it Spin Jammer and went on to sell millions of them in stores like Toys R Us and Walmart. More recently, Michael had a hunch he could repeat that success. From the ashes of two ruined rib eye steaks came his latest invention, a combination griddle and press called SearBQ. With its patented design, SearBQ makes it easy to cook steaks, chicken, seafood, and vegetables in half the time, with unmatched consistency and amazing flavor.

From a successful Kickstarter to launching in late 2020, SearBQ has gone on to be a Shopify top-selling store. And in those few short months, the product has already literally changed the way tens of thousands of people cook. After Mike reached out to me last fall, I loved the product enough to back his Kickstarter and was thrilled when he hired Graphos Product to launch and market SearBQ.

I’m proud to bring you this discussion with Michael Sandeen about his career spanning four decades of creating successful consumer brands, from big-box retail to selling exclusively online. I started by asking Michael about how selling those millions of Spin Jammers influenced the way he chose to launch SearBQ.

Michael: Launching Spin Jammer, it was a different era. There was not the internet. When I started my company, I didn’t even have a fax machine. One of the reps called me up and says, “Hey, you got to get this new thing called a fax machine.” So I went out and bought it.

It was the greatest thing ever. ’Cause the orders came right directly. So that’s how far back I go. Back then, what you did is you hired a rep group. And I hired a national representative, and then you had to make sales calls and go directly to the headquarters of Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas.

And Kmart was in Michigan and so forth, New Jersey for Toys R Us. So you would fly out, you would present your product, then you would wait probably two or three months before you hear, and then maybe two or three months more before you got the order. That’s the way it was for a good 15, 20 years until the internet came on.

Hitting the ground, doing all the hard work of sales taught me a lot of things, about people, about business, and then also connecting with manufacturers. We had this product manufactured at three different factories over the course of 35 years.  I’ve been in a lot of contact with a lot of manufacturers, so I know how to deal with them. I worked with a lot of companies on packaging. Spin Jammer, I thought, was one of the most attractive packages when we introduced it. And so you learn from your mistakes, you learn from the things that are positive and you build on that.

When SearBQ came along, the idea, I knew exactly what to do based on the experience of the 35 years. So it was really easy to bring this product to fruition because of everything I knew. There was hardly any question that I had, how I was going to do it. Spin Jammer helped a lot with that.

35 years of experience definitely helped in all the areas you needed to introduce a new product.

Laurier:  You made the clear decision not to sell through retailers, you were going to sell SearBQ direct to consumer. Have you ever gone back in your mind on that decision or wondered if you should maybe have used other channels or are you happy you’re selling directly to the customer?

Michael:  The experience I’ve had with selling to retail outlets, like for instance, Toys R Us. The Spin Jammer was a seasonal item. It was a spring-summer toy. So you get an order in October,  you start producing, you ship the product  in January, February, and then in Toys R Us’s case, you do not get paid until June.

You have to be a multi-million-dollar company to be able to handle all of that. The taking the orders, producing the product and then holding on until they pay you. So for individuals that come up with products, the internet is the greatest thing, because you can start selling the product immediately.

You bring it in, sell it immediately people purchase it from you and they pay you upfront for the product and then you ship it. So that helps considerably when you’re a startup company.

The second thing is the costs involved. Internet advertising, it’s a cost per click.

You could be doing an advertising campaign and it may not pay off. You don’t know.  On a national level with a retail advertising, you’re probably right now looking at a million-dollar investment, if you have to do just a basic spot market advertising campaign.

With the internet, it was a no-brainer for me. I probably wouldn’t have brought it to market if it wasn’t for the internet. Because at my age to start all over and raise funds, the payoff is so far down the road.

When you go that way, that’s why the internet was so attractive, and it proved to be a successful way of going.

Laurier: And clearly you’ve got an innovator’s mind.  The idea of SearBQ came to you from a moment when you were cooking a special dinner for your wife and you incinerated a couple of expensive steaks. Most of us would then just go and order takeout, but you turned that disappointment into a breakthrough product.

How did your mind make that leap to this amazing griddle and press combination as the solution to burned steaks?

Michael:  Our family owned a restaurant. My brother is a chef. We kick around ideas. We kick around theories, and we kind of talked about, what if you could cook the top and the bottom, sear it at the same time, wouldn’t that lock in the juices? That was brought up many years ago, just the concept. Yes, when I burnt the steaks, I put them on the grill like usually you do, but you get distracted. I go inside. The phone call comes and then, oh, the steaks are on. You go outside. And there they are, the flames are two feet high, smoking. So that’s what happened to me.

I got up one day and I said, I know I can do this. I’m just going to try it.  I fabricated some prototypes and I brought it to the grill. I got the steaks and it was an experiment for the temperature and the time. And I think about the third time I got the right temperature, the 500 degrees, the four minutes, for medium rare.

When I took it off and I put it on the plate and I tented it, like we have in the instructions. Once I un-tented it and cut into the steak, I knew I had it. I knew that was it. And was easy after that because the results were exactly what I envisioned and it came out great.

That was the light bulb effect that went off, but then going forward, it’s the design, the look, the feel, everything, the ergonomics.  Those are the things we went through phases of development and prototyping before we came up with the exact size, weight and  look of the unit itself, the SearBQ .

Laurier: For anybody who hasn’t seen the SearBQ, it’s a really beautiful product. It’s two pieces.  The bottom is a griddle with handles on each side. And the top is a 10-pound press that sits on top of the food you’re cooking. And it’s got a coil spring steel handle you lift it by with your oven mitt, and you place it on top.

It’s an amazing process to experience cooking with a SearBQ. Customers out there, when they receive it, recognize right away they’ve got a quality product. They can’t believe the heft of it. They’re impressed with the build. It’s   just a fantastic product.

One thing that we see in marketing and communicating with customers is that SearBQ isn’t for everyone. The steak purists are constantly posting on social media that, ” you should never put weight on the meat,” but again, we recognize people who say those things haven’t tried it.  I’ve cooked dozens of meals on my SearBQ. And it’s literally changed the way my family eats. I can say literally because the last two nights I’ve cooked on my SearBQ and when my kids see food getting prepared, they ask, “are you going to be SearBQ-ing that?”

What do you say to people who put down SearBQ?  Who come on say, ” oh, you should never do that,” without having tried it?

Michael: Food is a very personal thing. The cooking of food, how you do it, how you like it, it might be recipes that are passed down through generations. We don’t want to change you. We understand that you have a way of doing things and that’s the way you always want to do it. We understand. But you have to try it before you criticize it. That’s what I’m saying. Because a lot of people that did criticize it and I bring over and they finally try it, they go, “Oh, that is NOT what I expected!”

And I go, “I know. It’s incredible.” And a lot of them will say you squeeze the juices out. It doesn’t. It sears it instantly to hold the juices in. And you’ll see, like on the rib-eye video, when the chef pulls the steaks off the plate, after they’ve been tented for five minutes, there’s so much more juice than if you cooked it normally on the grill, but yeah, we understand that our market is maybe 50% of all the barbecuers out there. There’s going to be the purists out there that will have to cook their chicken in a smoker, they’ll have to do it a certain way, and I get it. And I appreciate that. I don’t have anything against that. Maybe someday you’ll come around and just try it.

Maybe some of you will own one and you can see how it works. We know that there’s a market. There’s a lot of people that appreciate the consistency, the flavor, the juiciness and it comes out exactly the same way every time. And you cannot say that with 50% of the barbecuers is out there, they’re like us.

They would go out and burn the chicken and it wouldn’t be done on the inside. We’ve all done that. On the SearBQ we have it down. It’s 400 degrees, 20 minutes. It does it perfectly every time. And there’s a market for that. No question.

Laurier: I think that market is the majority of people trying to cook dinner. Myself, I’ve experienced serving pink chicken and heating it in the microwave and the shame of having to make your family wait while you try and get things right. With SearBQ there’s that ability to repeat.

In the engineering of the product, you have that big, heavy weight. And when you’re cooking steaks, the chemical magic and the physics of taking that 500 degree, 10 pound weight and putting it on top of a steak, and four minutes later, what you have with the way that the meat caramelizes and the reaction that you can’t get by putting a steak, on a hot grill and turning it over and cooking it, using the traditional method.

And the other thing I experienced that people don’t seem to realize until do it, is that no juice is lost into the flames. The griddle has these ridges on the bottom that hold all the juices in. And so, when I’m done cooking a steak or a lot of other things, I’ll take those juices and pour them over top of it.

And you’re keeping all of that liquid that you can then distribute over the meat or stir it in all that stuff that is lost with traditional grilling into the flames. You get a bit of benefit from it splashing back up. I don’t think that even compares with the benefit you get from cooking the steak and preserving those juices.

And likewise, whether it’s vegetables or chicken or anything else there’s a return on what you’re cooking you just can’t get any other way. It’s quite amazing.

Michael: We explain to people the theory what you always try to achieve when you’re barbecuing or cooking anything is the recommended internal temperature. The faster you can reach the internal temperature, because all plants and proteins are around 75% water.

You want to reach that internal temperature as fast as you can, without burning off or evaporating off the moisture. That’s what the SearBQ does. That’s the theory behind it. And that’s what works, is that because of the unique design of the press lid, it conducts heat and continues to conduct the heat at the same rate as the griddle.

So they maintain the same temperature throughout the cooking process. Therefore they’re cooking the top and bottom simultaneously achieving their internal temperature in half the time with double the juices remaining, and that was the theory. That’s what works, and that’s what makes the product so great is if you follow instructions on the temperature and the time, you’re going to get the great results.

And your temperature and your time might be different. You can vary it a little bit. But once you establish what you like, then you can repeat that the same time, every time using the same temperature and time. And you cannot say that with barbecue unless you’re really good.

Laurier: It’s not just the ability to repeat, but repetition and the consistency enables better experimentation, because I know where the baseline is. And from there, I have the ability to know if I add another 30 seconds, I’m going to get something that’s a little bit more done. It’s amazing cooking asparagus, for example, that’s one of my favorites.

I can make it a little bit more crispy on the outside if I want to. And I know exactly how much more time I’ve got to give to it. So the consistency leads to better, more successful experimentation, not just replication because I’ve hardly cooked the same thing twice.

Welcome back to Product: Knowledge, the podcast about creating and marketing products that people truly need. I’m back with Michael Sandeen, inventor of the Spin Jammer and SearBQ.

When you went to market with SearBQ, you started out with a pretty successful Kickstarter. You had a thousand plus pre-orders and a multiple of your original goal, but that whole thing led to some lingering frustration. Would you go the Kickstarter route if you were to launch SearBQ all over again?

Michael: Knowing what I know now, no, I would not. This Kickstarter campaign did help in giving me some feedback and seeing that people like it and purchased it. But, just the Kickstarter campaign in general…

They wanted to do worldwide. So we started doing worldwide. Well, I have some product, if I shipped to them now, it costs me $300 to ship it to somebody in Indonesia or something. So that was a mistake. I should’ve kept it in all of US, but yeah, the Kickstarter campaigns they’re they’re interesting. We had a lot of people that, what they do is you order. And then when the campaign is over and we’re at close to the date of which we’re able to ship, because basically what Kickstarter is, if people know, it’s like a crowdfunding for startup companies. And the investment that they make is they purchase the product in advance. It could be six months in advance prior to the company even producing any product.

The company uses those funds then to produce the product and they turn around and ship it. It might be six months. With Kickstarter, we send out what we call surveys. An email is sent out, and when people order, they do not send any of their shipping information.

When the product’s ready, you fill out the survey and then we ship it. We had a  ton of people that didn’t fill out the survey, maybe the notice went to their junk mail. Even after shipping like 800 units, we had 200 people calling or emailing saying they didn’t get the product and it’s because they never filled out the survey.

So it was a real challenge to take care. And I’m sure there’s a couple left out there, but I know are 99% shipped, but that was…

If I knew that, yeah, I definitely wouldn’t have gone the Kickstarter route.

Laurier: I think the challenge is that Kickstarter has to be a one-size-fits-all solution for all the different types of products. But when your product weighs 18 pounds, advising you to ship to people all over the world is just bad planning.  If you’d kept it within the US you’d know that you could fulfill and create happy customers, which is as important as product validation when you’re starting out.  You don’t need people disliking you and disliking the brand early on when you’re going to market and you don’t need to be dealing with that kind of frustration when you’re out there selling to the real world.

Michael: Yup.

Laurier: So that’s what I was referring to with the lingering frustration. The validation side is a bit different with Kickstarter too, because you’re selling to a group of insiders and early adopters that are within that Kickstarter community and not necessarily to the general public.

Your audience is a bit different from what you’re going to be experiencing when you’re selling in the real world.

Michael: Yes. And you use a marketing company that helps you launch on Kickstarter. You can’t do it by yourself. And these companies make money by the gross sales. So they’re not going to tell you all this stuff, you have to learn it.  When I got up to 30, 40 units being sold all over the world, I cut them off and said, no, let’s go US.

This is not going to work. The only way you can do it is fulfillment companies in Europe or wherever you’re at and you send them full container loads, and then they ship it. But for us to ship from California to Singapore? I found that out fast. So yeah, that’s what happens is these marketing people make their money on gross sales.

They do not care if you turn a profit. Those are the things you learn.  I’m the one that just wants to move forward instead of just sit there and analyze and analyze. And even analyzing, you’re not going to get all the answers.

You have to figure them out on your own. But it was fun. I gotta admit, we did the video, that video that we did for Kickstarter was fun. When it first launched, it was exciting. But the tail end of it, yeah. There’s a lot of frustration that hindered me from me ever doing it again.

Laurier: Well, and as a veteran entrepreneur, Mike, we’ve worked together on a number of things and SearBQ has had an amazing trajectory.  It’s been so well adopted by the market. It’s a fantastic product and the people who it’s made for absolutely love it. But there are always those hurdles and bumps and surprises.

You launched this product. By the time you had it and it was ready to go, it was right before Christmas.  You couldn’t ship it as a Christmas gift.  It had to just start testing the market in those early days before Christmas.  And that happened to be, you know, at the tail end of the COVID pandemic. There was a point where the product got log-jammed in the Port of Oakland for weeks. You went through additional weeks of waiting helplessly while customers were getting impatient and not sure if they were being scammed or what was happening. That was a super stressful experience for you.

And you were very cool through the whole thing, where a lot of entrepreneurs would have probably lost their minds. And I say that from the experience of seeing how people tend to panic when things go sideways like that.

What was the biggest takeaway from the inventory experience in particular?

Michael: With Spin Jammer, we made it domestically for 20, twenty-five years. And finally, I had to go overseas because the costs were getting out of control. So I had experienced importing for about 15 years using the same freight forwarder, and it was like clockwork.

You would order, and the factory had the product ready, and you were looking at a six-to-eight-week window for delivery. I never even thought about it, because it was so automatic that prior to COVID we would plan on ordering with an eight-week lead time so that we’d know we would have the product before inventory ran out.

I never even thought twice about it. And so when we started placing the orders, the last two or three containers, I got the eight-week window. I contacted the freight forwarder, and this is exactly what happened. They said, “It hasn’t even left China yet.” I said, “It’s supposed to BE here. This is the eighth week.”

They said, “You don’t understand. The cargo ships. They’re so loaded that, it’s the Walmarts and the Targets. They’re the ones that are getting the spaces.  You have to wait.”

And so that was a shocker. I learned that I’m not taking it for granted that they’re going to have my product on the container coming here.

I have it tracked every step of the way. So when it leaves the factory, I know that in two weeks it’s going to make it to the port. And then I watch when it goes on the ship.  I know when it goes on the ship, you’re looking at probably a month to five weeks before you have it in your possession. Then we front-end loaded the deliveries of product. We ordered more inventory coming in on a steady flow, so that we can build inventory and absorb these shocks that happen. I hope it doesn’t happen again, but we can’t take that chance anymore.

So we’ll have a two to three month reserve of inventory in the warehouses now, just because of what happened to us on that one shipment.

Laurier:  There are a few lessons, right? From what you’re saying, one of them is trust no one when it comes to the information that they’re going to give you in terms of where your product is at. And the other one is to take control of your own inventory. You’re creating a warehouse where you can stockpile more of it, so that you’re always on top of what is happening upstream and preparing your orders in advance so that you’re ready to fulfill more quickly.

You’ve done so many things in that half a year that you’ve been selling SearBQ to make that entire experience better for the customer, to limit breakage because you had an issue where boxes would get dropped by the couriers on one side, and handles would break off.

So you fixed the packaging for that. So many things that you’ve nimbly tweaked get to where you are.

Michael: Yeah, you have to constantly review and improve, and there’s always things you can improve on. And that’s what we’re doing. You don’t sit back, just keep improving and we want to continually add to our product line and our brand.

Laurier: Mike, there’s a lot of fear in launching a product because the risks and the costs are so incredibly high and there are all these surprises that we’ve talked a little bit about. With SearBQ, at what point did you know you had another hit?

Michael: The first thing that I did is I knew that it had to have the look and feel of something substantial, something that, you want to have on your grill. And the second thing is, there’s a functionality of the lid. You have to be able to conduct heat, so the high walls are like fins on a motorcycle in reverse. Rather than expelling the heat, they attract heat. So  I knew I needed a design engineer   could come up with a great looking design .You want it to look like a Harley, have that image, that good look and the functionality. When I sent the concept over to the design engineer, he came back with some drawings and I said, oh my God, that’s it.

The function’s there, but now we have the look, the feel, the structural integrity. Everything’s great. And so when I saw that drawing, I said that’s the final step right there. Everybody looks for good design and they appreciate it. And I appreciate it.

When it came back looking that way, I was excited and I knew we had something. Even before I even tried that version of it, I knew. I didn’t know it was going to be that much greater than my prototypes in function, but when both of them combined, when we got the samples from the factory, there was no way this was a fail, no way.

Laurier: I love that you point that out, Mike, because that wasn’t the answer that I was expecting and it’s even better because a lot of product makers underestimate the importance of beautiful aesthetic and industrial design in creating a product that customers are going to feel a need to own. When someone sees the SearBQ, when they receive it, when they opened the box, it looks even better than any photos or video can make it look just because it’s so substantial.

It’s only when you’re lifting it and holding it in your hands, people say that’s when they recognize the quality. That’s when they know they’ve got something better than they’d hoped. It’s that combination of beautiful design and the substance and the weight, and the overall experience that gets people off on the right foot from the moment that they first see it in use in one of the videos to when they open the box and take it out, and, they get that smile on their face. I remember when I first opened mine, it was like Christmas. I was so happy.

I couldn’t wait to get out there and use it. And we see people posting that on social media that they were just, wow. You’ll have someone who complained during the delays about the shipping times and when they finally got their SearBQ, All of a sudden, they turned into a fan of the product before they even got to use it.

Michael: I know. The Kickstarter video production was in North Carolina. I’m in California. Just before we were going to film, two weeks before, I said, you know what? We have to have the SearBQ logo incorporated into the product.

It’s just a no-brainer. So I got ahold of the factory and I said, ” I want it to look like a branding iron logo.” And so it’s the raised SearBQ logo on the top of the lid. I sent it off to the factory and said, “you need to overnight it.”

So they went ahead and they made it. It arrived the day before I left for North Carolina, and I was stressing. I still had the other prototypes without the SearBQ on there. And we could have filmed, but when I opened it up and saw the SearBQ logo, I couldn’t believe it.

Laurier: The angels sang.

Michael: Oh, exactly. It was spectacular.

Great move. When people see that, they know it’s so slick. That’s just fun. And that’s why it’s in all our photos and everything. Cause it just stands out. That was another great moment. Really made me happy that day.

Laurier: You got to be the first to experience it. And now every SearBQ customer does because of that revelation that you needed to have this thing branded with the SearBQ logo, right on the top face of it.

Michael: And this is cast iron. This is going to last generations. You know, I still have a griddle from my grandmother, that’s the only thing I like using, but it’s the best pancakes in the world.

Laurier: It’s an heirloom product. And we find selling SearBQs, you have two products, really. One is the SearBQ, and one is the SearBQ twin pack.  Forty percent of customers are now buying the two- pack, whether it’s for themselves or to give to someone, as a father’s day gift or to give to their brother so that they can share that experience.

Michael: And it’s a great price. We give them a good price break when they buy two. Yeah. Seeing that we were surprised. And the other thing that’s amazing is the purchases from women are about 40%. You’d think this would be just a guy thing. It’s not.  We’re so happy about that.

It makes us feel good that we’re crossing over into all areas of the consumer. And that just makes it more exciting to sell.

Laurier: That was something we saw when we were creating and crafting the buyer personas in the beginning. We had essentially two of them: one was the guy who is the BBQ user that was going to use the SearBQ. And the other was the female buyer that was probably buying it for gifting.

And we see all the time that women are buying the product and they’re using it themselves.  They’re writing great reviews and they’re loving what the product does as well. Those are interesting surprises and you have to be ready to pivot a little bit and to recognize that wow, this product is something that is being bought by more people than you thought.

Michael: Yeah.

Laurier: And it’s seldom to find a product that’s a cooking thing where almost half of the buyers are buying two of them at a time.

Michael: Yeah. On the first purchase. Yes.

Laurier: These are some fantastic surprises that tell you that your invention is a winner.

Michael: I agree.

Laurier: I have a number of favorite things to cook on SearBQ, but what’s your absolute favorite SearBQ recipe?

Michael: Hands down, it’s the rib-eyes. I absolutely love it. My family absolutely loves it. And I’ve done it hundreds of times. But then I always love the chicken too, because there’s nothing like putting the chicken on there for 20 minutes, closing the lid, setting the timer on your phone and then going inside and not worrying about it, making your sides and then come out.

And it’s perfect every time. It’s the same every time. So it’s the chicken and the rib-eyes. And then of course we talked about it earlier, is the asparagus, there’s hardly a week goes by that we don’t do asparagus because you can use it, cook it, refrigerate it, put it in your salads later.

Asparagus can be used in everything. And it’s so easy. Five minutes.

Laurier: I’ve never had leftovers with the asparagus.

Michael: Yeah. I try to do a couple bundles, and serve them hot. And then try to have some leftover. Yeah, you’re right. They do go fast.

Laurier: The other thing you introduced me to was cutting an onion into half-inch slices and then SearBQing that, because on a SearBQ is the only way you can create this perfectly caramelized on both sides, slice of onion. If you try and do it in a frying pan or on a griddle turning it over will ruin it.

The only way you can do it is to plop it on the SearbQ, hit it with the press, turn it beautiful, and then just lift it off and put it onto a hamburger. And, it is…

Michael: There’s nothing like it. When you have a half-inch thick slice of caramelized onion, that’s a full slice, and normally when you have to chop onions, so that you can caramelize them, they just flow off the hamburger while you’re eating it.

The full slices, every bite.  It is something. Amazing.

Laurier: Yeah, that’s worth the price of SearBQ alone. I got to say.

Michael: I know, and the veggies. And just, it’s everything. The fish. The veggies. And then the fun part is, like you said, once they learn the theory of the heat and time, they’re experimenting on their own, and they’re coming up with their own recipes, which is amazing too.

And a lot of fun. People are emailing in recipes, I’m going in and trying it. And I go, thanks. Thanks for taking the guesswork out of it for me.

Laurier: Mike, you’ve got some exciting things cooking now. Tell us about that. What’s next for SearBQ?

Michael: One of the concerns of some people is how it can be easier to clean. So there is a product on the market, and it’s called the chain mail scrubber. Chain mail is like the chain mail that the Knights wore under their helmets. It’s a flowing chain.

They made a scrubbing pad out of that. So they take a block of silicone that’s solid. It’s non porous, just has some holes through it. And then they wrap around with chain mail. So it looks like a regular sponge scrubber, but it’s this chain mail. What that does, it’s able to take the debris off without removing any of the seasoning on the SearBQ.

Laurier: Cause like your grandma’s griddle or frying pan, you don’t want to ever wash it with soap, but you’re cooking at high temperature and some things do stick a little bit stubbornly. So I use a resin scraper that just tears off whatever’s on there. And I’ve never washed mine.

I just scrape them. And you don’t worry about bacteria when you’re heating something to 500 degrees.

Michael: 500 degrees. It’s gone. Yeah. And that’s the way everybody did it.  When the settlers came across the country here, they had cast iron pans hanging off the wagons. They never… they just reheated them. But you want to get the debris off of there. And that’s what the chain mail scrubber is.

So we found a manufacturer that makes them. We’re going to be bringing them in, and it should be soon that we’ll be introducing them on the website. We can sell them separately and together with a SearBQ, with a package price. And then having said that, we always know that the SearBQ is hot and you always have to use protection when you grab the SearBQ.

So we are introducing our own line of oven gloves, and they’re specially designed. We’ve got the prototypes in. We tested them, they work fantastic. They have our logo on them. They’re amazing-looking. They’re black with red flames and the SearBQ.

We are also going to introduce those individually and then a package. And of course we’ll have the package with all three that you can purchase and that will be available soon. Very looking forward to adding that to the line. And can’t wait to introduce it to people.

Laurier: They’re a thing of beauty and everybody who looks at them—my design team has had a look at them and everybody’s, “I need those.”

Michael: Yeah. You can use them for everything. once you have them, you can use them on any hot pot that you’re carrying or whatever, and you can use a chain mail scrubber on all your cast iron. Yeah. it’s gonna be fun.

Laurier: That’s it for this episode of Product: Knowledge and my conversation with Spin Jammer and SearBQ creator Michael Sandeen You can find out more about SearBQ, watch the recipe videos, and buy it online at SearBQ.com. That’s S-E-A-R-B-Q.com. Be sure it also visit GraphosProduct.com where you can listen to all our podcast episodes, read the transcripts, and get insights from our blog. Reach out to us on Twitter @GraphosProduct.

Or email us through the contact form at GraphosProduct.com. Thanks for listening. I’m Laurier Mandin.