I bought my Masterbuilt smoker from Bass Pro Shops last year for about $150 (on sale). It is basically a converted dorm fridge - but with the digital temp/time control, nice insulated body and compact size that holds a "butt" load of meat, I couldnt be happier. It does everything I need it to and it dead easy to use.
The BGE is being sold in BJs now. The large model comes with the stand (nest) for $799.00, which isnt cheap - but figures to be a savings of about +$200 over the usual price at a specialized dealer. I have had my eye on one for a long time; I am a diehard charcoal guy and my 10yr old Bar-B-Chef from Barbeques Galore (another Alton Brown reference) is slowly dying. The mfg has gone gas and the parts for the charcoal grill are damn hard to find.
The BGE has thick ceramic walls will let me do low & slow with charcoal and be a better year round grill because of the insulation. Tonight's lottery will take care of the funding, I am sure of it
First DE Shave: 29-Aug-11; Feather Popular/Derby Extra/AoS starter brush/Cella/Alum Block
There was an episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown put a hot pot in the bottom of a large terra cotta pot and put the bottom tray on top. Thrift store shopping could net you all of that for $20 easy.
This thread about building your own Mini Weber Smokey Mountain over at TVWB isn't quite the epic read that the UDS thread @ the brethren is.
These little suckers work really well. You'll spend less than 80 bucks and it still functions as a grill. I have spare ribs going on mine right now.
Another Weber kettle smoker here, I did up a chicken last night. Once you get the hang of it it's quite easy to keep a constant temp in the range you want.
"Why go out for hamburger when you can have steak at home?" - Paul Newman
[COLOR="Red"]Member of the B&B 2011 Rudy Vey custom Brush Buy[/COLOR]
Buy a BGE, you won't be disappointed. I've had mine for about 10 years now and I think the longevity of the Egg justifies the price. If you cook on gas grills, how many would you go through in 10 years? Unless you pony up for a really expensive gasser (thereby approaching the cost of an Egg), you would probably buy at least two if not three. I don't see my Egg needing to be replaced any time in the foreseeable future. It can be used as a regular grill for higher temp cooking (I've had mine up to 1000+*F for quick searing) as well as <225*F for Lo-N-Slo smoking. I've even smoked cheeses @ <100*F. Bake on it, fire it up for pizza, use cast iron Dutch ovens in it for chili and pot roast, it can be used to cook it a multitude of ways. I'm smoking an 8.5# pork butt on Tuesday for my son's BD. (Unbeknownst to him, his fiancÚ and I are giving him one for his BD.) The Egg is truly one product I have bought that I felt has been worth every penny.
'I cut my deck to the Queen of Spades, but the cards were all the same. Don't murder me.'