I was in the same boat as you. I was not happy with the typical rattle can paint job...spent some money on a low end paint gun and found out I am not much of a painter. I did some research on powder coating, bought a gun and built an oven that I could fit a 55 gallon drum in.
I have found that the prep time is about the same for powder coating compared to painting, but the end results are so much better.
The cost for a pound of powder is anywhere from $8.00 to $20.00 depending on how fancy you want to go.
I have built about a dozen of these smokers and can almost coat two barrels, lids, 3/4 caps and ball valves with a pound of powder.
I used a hammered black powder coating that looks really good on these barrels. I am getting ready to build myself a "top of the line" smoker with all the bells and whistles that I think I need, and I am planning on using two different colors on the barrel and intake pipes.
I am not that far away from you, and would be happy to talk you through the process.