Does your buddy have a grill now? And does he at least cook steaks, chops, wings, sausage and the like? If so it will be easy for him to move into a smoker..... and a drum is as good a choice as any. If not..., starting with a smoker, but not being able to grill sometimes might cause him to loose interest.
KCBS - CBJ
Big Green Eggs, Big Drum Smokers, Big Chiefs, Weber Smokey Joe "Custom Tall Boy"
Oil Patch Horizontal
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Barbecue is not rocket surgery