About seven years ago, my husband came home with a unique smoker that was only being sold in a little mom and pop hardware store in a rural community. It was a Traeger wood-pellet grill. Many ribs, veggies, venison legs, chickens and turkeys later, our Traeger smoker is still helping us enjoy many smoked delights.
Bass Pro Shops has been selling the Traeger now for a few months. The beauty of the Traeger is it can be used as a grill, a smoker, a barbecue, or a wood-fueled oven. We use ours solely for smoking. We own an earlier model of Traeger, but the basics are the same. You load your pellets into the hopper on the side, turn it on and let the smoker work for you from there. The pellets are auger-fed into the burner.
Depending on what you are cooking, you may need to replenish the pellet supply. It is recommended that you use Traeger pellets, which come in a variety of species and are 100% hardwood. They are also approved by the National Cancer Institute because they produce less benzopyrene than other popular grilling systems.
The smoker has an EZ-Drain system, so grease drips out the side into a bucket, which is very easy to clean up. Important note: If you have a dog, you'll want to block off access to that bucket or they will have their nose in it!
We don't have the shelf in ours, but the new versions do have a removable grill shelf for more food!
There is no open flame, so you won't have grease flare-ups, nor do you have to worry about burning things from flames. There is a heat shield that diffuses the heat making it like a similar to how a convection oven works, then a steel drip tray above the diffuser...line that tray with foil for easy clean up.
The adjustable chimney cover allows you to control the smoke, too. Put the dial on smoke for 5 minutes until the smoke gets rolling, then bump the temp up to your desired cooking temp...use it as an oven or leave it low and slow. We love our Traeger...and look forward to many more smoked ribs, shoulders, and more on it! In fact, it's time to get the turkey ready for tomorrow!
PS: Don't forget the cover!