long time lurker, first time poster .
Went outside this weekend to discover that the firebox my Home Depot-purchased Brinkmann smoker had rusted through over the winter. Everything everyone has said about it was true. It was difficult to maintain an even temperature in it, it leaked smoke, and the construction was kinda piss-poor. But I made some excellent BBQ with it.
I'm a solid amateur, and I'm wondering where to go next. I'd like to build my skill base with an eye toward competing in 10 years when my kids are older. (not important for current smoker, but important for skill building, etc.)
I'm interested in going to pellet grills/ smokers because my wife would like to be able to grill burgers after work without having to rely on me to light the barbecue. She wants propane. We got our love of BBQ after living in Texas for a few years, but now live in a big northern city, and have only a small backyard about 25 ft by 25 feet, which, due to gardens, decks and playhouses is more like 10 by 10. We really can't have two cooking apparatus out there.
I'd like to spend less than $400. I'm ok with tools, but I cannot weld.
Here are some questions:
Is it possible to buy a pellet feeder, burner to the brinkman? Is this adviseable?
I'm interested in an ugly drum smoker with pellet feeder. Can I cook burgers on this?
Will an inexpensive Traeger be as cheaply made as the Brinkmann?
Are there any others reasonably well-made pellet smokers that I should look at?