I will admit that I'm looking real hard at an assisted cooker for catering. But, that is a different animal all together.
If I ever buy one that will be the only reason why, for catering, and for healthy sleeping patterns!
Fat Tommy's Quer's and I were having this very same discussion at the BBQ Bash in Bel Air this past summer. Just do have the team next to us (cannot remember their name) had one of the treagers, I believe it was the Texas BBQ 075, the $999.00 jobbie!
Well, after we fought, and fought with setting up Tommy's new tent and had the meat seasoned these guys were under the hood sort to speak trying to get their unit up and running. Keep in mind they had no other cookers, not even a WSM or simple Weber Grill.
After a few drinks from the Du Claw brewery truck and a few hours later here is the same team, still under the hood, and one more auger replacement later--no dice. They leave and come back around 8 pm. Under the light of the flashlight they replace the thermostat and manage to get some smoke going but still their unit is not fully functional.
They disappear around midnight that night and never returned. The next day there was their equipment still sitting there as we were all cleaned up and ready to go home. I wonder if they ever picked up their smoker!
Needless to say, if they only had a backup cooker, or better yet some charcoal, lump and wood they would of been A-OK!
I'll take the old school method any time!