If late 90's TV sitcoms (Home Improvement, Everybody Loves Raymond) have taught me anything, it's that most men/fathers are essentially cavemen. I wouldn't generally agree with that assessment of myself, with the notable exception of my burning desire to cook meat over fire.
Although I've been using a propane (and very occasionally a charcoal) grill since I was in my early teens, it's only in the last year or so that I've developed a fascination with American Barbecue.
The romantic vision I have in my head involves long, possibly overnight, cooks of full briskets, pork butts and ribs, using an offset stick burner. This would mean constantly monitoring temperatures, adding wood, controlling the fire, etc. etc. As much fun as I think this would be (and I do plan on moving in this direction at some point), with two kids 6 and under, I know that it's a very unrealistic view of how to make it work.
The compromise I arrived at was a pellet grill. Pellet grills have been growing in popularity and the simplicity of it is what really sold me. Essentially, they work electrically to create a consistent environment with temperature and smoke using pure hardwood pellets. It gives me a chance to focus on building flavours that I like and getting rough guidelines for time and temperature, without dominating my time managing the fire.
I went with a slightly larger model than I probably needed and picked it up on the Saturday before Canada Day with 20+ people booked for a BBQ the following day. For my first run through I decided to smoke a pork shoulder and a couple of boneless turkey breasts. I knew that if I ran into issues with my cook I'd be able to take steps to salvage them no matter how the smoker performed.
I needn't have worried. The pellet grill worked like a charm, and with just a simple rub (salt and pepper only for the turkey, a few more spices for the pork butt), smoke and time, we easily fed 20 guests without having to neglect them to prepare the meal. Two days later, I smoked a couple of tri tips low and slow (225 F for approx. 2 hours), rested them for 30 minutes, and finished them off on a hot propane barbecue, in what amounted to essentially a reverse sear. It was a delicious dinner for six that required almost no effort on my part. At this point in my caveman existence, that's about all I can ask for.