I’ve had several BBQ units in my relatively short life as a father and husband. It is one of those gadgets that you buy when you start in a serious relationship, and over time you develop your grilling skills.
You get your tools, apron, sandals, and of course a cup holder. You might explore some store-bought BBQ sauces, but mostly you stick to the safe dishes; hotdogs, steak, chicken fillets, and burgers. Nothing too exotic.
Our grills always did the trick, nothing fancy, but they were loyal grills that suffered the abuse by less skilled pit masters as we burned some sausages, fried some burgers, created a charcoal steak, and not to forget the mandatory crispy dry chicken fillets.
Every summer, the BBQ was fired up, at least a few times a month, or when the weather permitted it in Ireland. The family would gather in the sporadic sun rays, and friends would bring the beer. We’ve always enjoyed outdoor foods.
Nobody would ever complain or comment on your BBQ skills. It is not considered polite to return the steak, use because it is slightly black on one side. We simply endured.
It is about the social aspect of grilling. The beer. The friends. The salads. The laughs and the music. We love it.
Our last grill in Ireland, before moving to the US, was the famous Weber. It served the family well and survived the rainy season
Upon arriving in the US, fresh off the boat from Ireland, I headed straight to Home Depot. The first purchase in the US was a grill.
Not just any grill, but a multipurpose grill that could apparently smoke meats. I had no idea about smoking but bought it anyway. It looked mean and took up a significant area of the back porch.
It turned out this grill could not smoke, or perhaps it was me who completely misread the instructions. Either way, it was just an American sized grill (huge) and I could burn even more meat at the same time.
One year I bought an actual smoker. Actually, I invested in two smokers. One traditional with coal, flavored wood, and water tray. Another was electric. Both suffered a tragic faith – being put out for trash a year later.
At my 20th work anniversary, I received a large Weber grill, with a side table and rotisserie. The only problem, it was the same struggle I’ve had for two decades; working with charcoal. I just can get the hang of the coals. Indirect or direct heat! I just wait for the heat to be 450F and above, throw the meats on the machine, and hope for the best. It normally ends up ok, but with a slight taste of sod.
For the past year, I have been eyeballing a pellet grill. Not just any pellet grill, but the Traeger Pro series. Yes, it is a helluva lot more expensive, but the reviews are awesome.
After 6 weeks of isolation, and the urge to start cooking outside and the prospect of testing my cooking skills on a pellet grill was too much for me to resist.
I logged on to the Trager web site, picked the gear I wanted and went straight to check-out. Yes, this was almost an impulse purchase, except I had researched and saved for almost a year. It perhaps helped that I had one beer with dinner and felt invincible.
The blessing and curse of having been diagnosed with heart failure, and observing a strict diet with limited alcohol (about 2 beers a month) has significantly reduced my resistance to alcohol.
If I have more than two beers on one night, I can feel a happy tingle 🙂
I was also encouraged by the taxman, as I was awarded a small refund. A refund I had not calculated with receiving, so it was a double bonus.
Anyway, I checked out at the cashier, added my credit card, and bought the sucker.
I was thrilled and nervous. Had I just spent $1500 online? How would I break the news to m lovely wife?
In fairness, she bought the Peloton bike earlier in the year, so I felt we had both made some questionable decisions, although both were with noble thoughts.
Now I just had to wait for the grill to arrive.
My plan is to significantly increase the culinary skills on the pellet grill. It is summer after all, and we all love BBQ. I will try to document my experiences, hoping to entice you to also one day invest in a Trager.
Do you have any recipes I can try?
Do you have a pellet grill and how is it?