I had one of the Brinkmann early bolt-together offset and another Smoke-N-Pit. Both were complete garbage and both were thrown away. I then (20 years ago) purchased a much heavier gauge welded steel offset which is no longer made (similar to a Yoder today), and this was MUCH better, but was $800 then... Getting something anywhere resembling fire control, consistent temps, and clean sweet blue smoke is next to impossible on these leaky ill-conceived models. I've since upgraded to a much nicer Lang and all those hassles are gone. Have a friend who had been BBQing on 2 char-griller offsets for the last few years with moderate success, but he'd judged competitions and had had mine on more than a few occasions and knew his BBQ was lacking. This summer he purchased a nice Bubba Grills offset (reverse flow, like Lang) and immediately went from making pretty good BBQ do damned great slap-yo-mama BBQ in just two cooks.
For under $1000, you're just not going to get a worthwhile offset, IMHO, and then I cant think of one in that $1000 range. Anyone seen how much Lang wants for a 48 patio? That's probably where you start getting fairly good equipment. Maybe a larger Yoder (I think they start at $1500+- for what I'm talking about, but they aren't reverse flow).
In the $300 to $500 range, it's going to be VERY tough to beat the quality and versatility of a WSM. Get the 22. There are competitors who compete, and I mean
compete effectively nationally in KCBS competitions using a few WSM's; they're that good.
Hance - Lake Dogs Cooking Team - MiM/MBN/GBA CBJ and comp cook
Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from darn near anywhere)
Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.