The telling moment came when I tasted the chicken. D.Licious. I was a chicken burner. No matter what I did my chicken always came out a little burnt or at the very least with char marks. This chicken was tender, juicy and amazing. My life changed at that moment.
A week later I purchased a Traeger. They aren't cheap. I got a good deal for $500.
A Traeger is a wood pellet smoker/grill. You put pellets into the hopper (at the left), plug in your machine (it takes electricity), switch it to high and hit on. The temperature can get up to 450 (maybe a bit higher) and down to about 150. This allows you to slowly smoke your meat or to grill it. Since there is no direct flame meat never gets burnt.
I have smoked/grilled the most amazing turkeys on this baby. Ribs, pulled pork, carne asada, Fillet Mignon, whole chickens, salmon and any other meat you can think of. All of them come out perfect. They make me look like I am an amazing griller. When we first bought the Traeger I kept my gas grill because I thought I might use it. It sat an entire summer untouched. I gave it away that fall and never looked back.
One of my favorite things to grill on my Traeger is bacon. The grease rolls into the waste bucket and my house doesn't smell like a breakfast joint. The bacon turns out crispy and delicious. I like to grill up a big batch and save it in the fridge for sandwiches, burgers and salads.
I also like to make "wood fired" pizza. All you need is a Papa Murphy's Pizza and you can make it swanky on the Traeger.
I also have a cast iron pot I grill my veggies, especially onions, in. Another favorite is potatoes. Lets put it this way you can't go wrong with this a Traeger. A friend of mine even smokes cheese and chocolate. I have yet to try this, but I will someday.
Maintenance on the Traeger is much like any other grill. You keep the grate clean and empty the grease bucket occasionally. Every eight hours or so you have to vacuum out the ashes. This takes about ten minutes and isn't a big deal. It is important to do because if you don't do it your machine will stop firing the pellets and your won't have any heat. This happened to me once in the middle of the night while I was smoking pulled pork for a big party. Ugh. I also will do a major cleaning job about every six months. This is a little more daunting, but is no different than a regular BBQ. I have had mine for four years (it could be five) and it is still going strong with no issues.
I use my Traeger year round. It came with a nice cover, but to be honest I rarely put it on. Father's Day is coming up and I know a lot of Dads who grill and smoke (meat that is). I am not getting paid to say this, but if it is in your budget you might think about it. I mean it might be his "toy", but you will enjoy it too.
Last night I grilled prime rib for my Mom's birthday. Wow. It rivaled our favorite steak house. My friends and family will tell you I like to pick apart my meals and am too critical. I honestly can say I would not have done anything different to last night's meal. I am only sad there were no leftovers.