price will display what you get. A good patio pit w\o any hick-up's will run you minimum 1,400.00 ; Lang, Gator, Pits by JJ just few. I own a Old Country Wrangler, not a bad pit for the money. Thick metal to hold the temps for good back yard BBQ. I own a custom trailer pit that cooks awesome BBQ for my church events but for personal use around the farm\house I use the Old Country. I had to do a few modification's to help it function more to "my" standards (The Old Country Pit). I built an adjustable tuning plate, got rid of that flimsy metal shelf and replaced it with a nice sturdy stainless steel shelf, scrapped then worthless metal wheels for some nice 10" hard rubber ball bearing mag style tires (on all 4 corners), it leaked a little out of the cooking chamber, lined the lid with 3\4 x 1\4 wood stove insulation, installed (2) 2 1\2" tel tru thermometers one up to the top cooking rack and the other 5" to 6" off the lower cooking rack. It became a really good pit and kicks out some good BBQ.
I have no problems maintaining cooking temperatures in this 500.00 pit. I've cook brisket, boston butts, deer hams, pork hams in long cooks 8 to 14hrs @ 235 to 245, I've cook hotter temps @ 325 for medium cooks times 5 to 6 hrs with good consistent temperature. As the saying goes, "if your look'n, you aint cook'n". I find that most of the folks have this problem & will not admit it, using a traditional pits. Then they wonder why their pits temps fall below cooking temps and the time frame it takes to build back up to the desire cooking temps & their protein is taking longer than expected. This is their excuse why their pits performs the way it does.
I first started cooking with an cheap tin can cooker 20 plus yrs ago, I am 56 yrs old & I hooked up with a group of old timers 20 yrs ago that cooked off a traditional stick burner built on a trailer. These old boys kicked out some dang good chew'n & swallow'n BBQ. It's breaking that habit of peeking at your meat while cooking, to leave sit & cook. The only time you swing that lip up is...to baste, spritz your meat & or wrap. I cook with my firebox door open, I do not use my damper, I adjust my door as I reach my final cook temp. I was taught this by these old fellers. Both of my pits I do this with. If your pit has a grilling station (located in the firebox) like my smaller one does, do not load your wood from this , use the door on the side of the firebox. This will not have near hindrance on heat & managing your heat & smoke if you used the firebox lid to load your fuel. If your pit has good draw, from the firebox out the stack, that is what aids to your heat besides having a cooker with thick enough metal with the minimum amount of leaks. The other factor is....., does your pit heat evenly throughout?, is their colder spots vs. hotter ones? I've owned my trailer pit for more than 16 yrs, 4 yrs ago I had it converted to reverse flow. Right their I had to re-educate myself from years of use that pit as originally a direct flow traditional to a reverse flow. This is another reason why some criticize the pits they own. They are NOT familiarizing themselves with it, how the pit operates and it's optimum temp is. It takes time to know your pit.