I started out with a $25 model just like that. I picked it up a a church garage sale after the guy who owned it passed away and his wife wanted to get rid of it. Made the same mods except for the tuning plate. Took a while to get the hang of it, but I finally got to where I could turn out pretty consistent ribs and brisket. After four years, I put it back in the same church sale for $50 and went to Academy and bought an Old Country Brazos offset for a grand. Weighs 600 pounds and is much easier to work with. It already had all the mods except for the fire basket I threw together out of expanded metal. Uses quite a bit of fuel, but it has capacity for four times as much meat ast the NBBD I had and is much more consistent and forgiving. The Silver Smoker will either teach you how to smoke or drive you into the arms of the WSM/UDS crowd. Good luck.
BBQ Apprentice - Old Country Brazos offset, 22.5 WSM, Various gassers, portable grills, etc.