Originally Posted by flyingbassman5
Just to throw it out there, just because you own a WSM which, yes, is proven to and regularly does win competitions, it doesn't automatically make your Q amazing and 1st class comp grade. I feel that sometimes, a lot of people get the notion that they can just buy a $300 cooker that wins competitions and expect awesome results. It takes practice to turn out good Q, not just good equipment.
Back in October, I competed in the Backyard Class at one of the late BBQ comps here in STL. The team next to my spot had 2 22' WSMs and 2 Ceramic cookers. Easily over $1000 in cooking equipment that ended up getting beat by a majority of the 22 teams. The cooks experience is just as valuable as the price tag on his equipment, if not more. That said, I had my Silver Smoker and my Coleman, both costing me a combined total under $100 from sellers on CL and with mods to the Silver, and I ended up with 5th in Ribs and 12th in chicken. Not too shabby for using two pits that are second or third hand with the Coleman being about 5-10 years older than me. You just need to find a pit that is going to compliment your cooking style and experience, and also give you room to grow. And once you find one, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!
**Disclaimer** I am in NO WAY discrediting the WSM. They really are fantastic cookers for the price. I am only trying to illustrate the point that cooking experience and a cheap pit can go a much farther way than a $500-$1000 rig and an inexperienced cook.
Hopefully we didnt say anything contrary to this. Great quality smokers dont make great quality BBQ; experience (aka. practice, practice, practice) does.
But, like Bandit said, it's about his 3 factors (I cannot see them here), but things like learning curve really play into it. I'm probably the goofus that mentioned competition first. My point wasnt that he could or should compete (or not), but that the smoker is good enough that some quality competitors use them with very good success. Not me, mind you, I prefer my heavy-as-hell Lang, but that wasn't what he was asking. I think I understand the guy, because 20 years ago I was there. I wish I'd purchased the WSM then... I'd have saved a lot of money wasted on mediocre equipment and meat ruined.
Going a little higher in money, look to the very versatile cookers like Acorn, Primo, BGE, Bubba Keg, etc. They're darned good smokers and darned good grills (and please understand that smoking and grilling are quite different).
Then, towards the upper end of those prices you begin to get into the prices of (IMHO) worthwhile offset smokers and some cabinet smokers.
And up, and up, and up.... :-)