Just over a year ago I received a Traeger Pro 575 Grill from my parents as a gift to our family. I love grilling and smoking, and just about any nice day in the summer I'll be cooking in the backyard. My folks were kind enough that they found one on sale and totally surprised us with it. I had never given wood pellet grilling much thought, and had always been a charcoal guy.

From the start the grill was shiny, new, & fancy. It worked just as advertised. It was fantastic and we used it all the time. I have the nice canvas cover for it, and after every shutdown cycle completed, I would cover it up religiously. Every so often you need to shopvac out the inside of the grill and replace the aluminium foil that goes over the drippings catcher. But that's the extent of it. It sat outside even through our winter under the cover because I didn't have anywhere to put it. (To do list: build a shed.)

I have to be honest I was a little worried about how it would work this spring after a pretty brutal winter. I plugged it in the first time and it did a software update that took quite a bit of time. I'm glad that I didn't plan on putting a brisket on it that first day. The update, and me messing with my wifi definitely cut into my grilling time. The update was pretty cool, though. There's now a bunch of recipes that you can follow along with the app and the grill will automatically adjust to what step your on.

This grill right now retails for about $800. A lot of people have asked me, is it worth it? Would you buy it again? Yes, and yes. Every single meat I have cooked or smoked on this grill has been fantastic.  There are some people who say the Traeger isn't a real "smoker," and I get what they are saying. It smokes on start up and then doesn't really smoke that much from that point forward. But, you do get a decent smoke ring. Sure, I've smoked stuff on charcoal grills before that have had more of a smokey flavor. But, they were not nearly as moist, and it was so much more work. I've babysat a grill all day doing a brisket. It turned out great, but I gave up my entire day. Now, I fire up the grill and load the pellets in and forget about it. Don't get me wrong, it does still have a great smokey flavor and the meat is just so tender. It's definitely worth it.

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Let me give you these final tips as someone who has used the hell out of my Traeger. Buy lots of pellets. You go through them! Make sure you clean it out good, not just vaccum. I had some grease/crud material that had accumulated by the grease drain. I didn't think much of it until it caught fire one day. It had gummed up like it's own charcoal material and it was extremely flammable. I cleared it out and haven't had an issue since. Make sure you do take care of your Traeger and keep it clean. You take care of it, it'll take care of you.