If he is cooking for a small amount of people (2-4 people) Make a mini WSM (you can find detailed builds by googling it). You get quality time with gpop doing an easy build (takes less than 90mins to make it, including painting it) And it is super efficient (with a load of royal oak lump charcoal I can get 6+ hours, with a load of wicked good lump charcoal I can go 9+ hours)
If you don't want to build it, a 18in weber smokey mountain for $300. It is a little bit more expensive than the entry level smokers, however it is also ready to go right out of the box. It requires no mods to cook well, and it is very simple to learn how to use it.
*Weber Mini WSM* *Weber Touch and Go Performer X3* *Sublime Smoke UDS* *Maverick ET-732 * World's Fastest Blue Thermapen **Pitmaster IQ110*