Alan, I think this is the cooker I was trying to remember yesterday, but I don't recall the price being that high, so I must have found it on a distributors site (possibly)...seems like what I was looking at was in the $180-$200 range, or less. I searched and found the PBC site and read up on the specs and configuration, total package included, etc. Sadly, I'm not too impressed with what they're offering, especially considering the materials used for construction...it's just a painted carbon steel barrel with customized modifications that many who have built a ugly drum smoker could do, if they wanted to. I think the homemade UDS is far more efficient and offers longer burn times between refueling. Also, the accessories they offer seem very expensive.
Regarding claims of the PBC not being a true smoker and not recommended for use with wood, well, I don't understand why you could not add smoke wood chunks in the coal ring just like with any other vertical charcoal smoker...not gonna hurt a thing. They may have caused some confusion with potential buyers and meant to state that it was not intended to be a stick-burner, but to state it is not a smoker would be a negative sale point and likely is totally unwarranted.
For what it's worth, the price they are asking for the PBC will buy you a 18.5" WSM, which is 1" diameter larger cooking grate, and, you have 2 grates instead of one. The WSM, as with all Weber charcoal kettles and bullet smokers, is a porcelain enameled steel construction...the are literally built to last a lifetime with reasonable care, and they carry their value through years of use. If stainless cooking grates become a requirement in the future, you can acquire them in the standard WSM-18/22 grate sizes through at least one vendor online, and prices aren't that bad. I've not seen stainless grates in a 17.5" (PBC) size
I'm a WSM-18 owner/user of just short of one year, with 6 years of ownership/use of several Weber kettle grills. My WSM has the silicone grommet for pit/meat temp probe cables. I strongly recommend that you consider the WSM line if you are considering a vertical smoker. The price may seem high to some, although you are looking at the same price for a smaller rig with lower quality construction. The WSM has given a shallow and relatively short learning curve, and I've done very little for mods after the first month or less of use. They will give longer burns before refueling, and give fairly steady temp control without intervention, barring severe weather changes. If the reason for you interest in the PBC is only based on the meat hooks and hanging bar, you can do simple mods and buy the hooks to hang on the cooking grate of the WSM. The WSM has a water pan which allows true indirect cooking, and you can choose what to put in it...I run dry with a foil liner, or with several pounds of washed pea-gravel as a thermal mass and foil liner over the gravel. The PBC does not offer this option, therefore, I fail to see where their claims of indirect cooking are justified.
On the PBC product page, about/advantage tabs, there are numerous untruths stated about the bullet smokers (they show a distinct trademark lid handle of a WSM) as well as their PBC, next to it. Example: searing rib eyes (easy)...hmm, who wants to reach arm's-length down into a hot barrel to tend a food on a grill grate sitting right over a hot bed of coals? Not me. Another part states temp control with a bullet is difficult...they obviously haven't the used a WSM or they'd know better. I could go on and on, picking this site's info apart and shredding it...you and I both have better things to do with our time, though. I see a lot of unfounded hype on their product and unfounded bashing of competitor's products...seeing that alone makes me shy away from the company altogether Dishonest advertisements don't sell anything to me, but that's JMHO. All other things being equal (I know, they are not), I would have to weigh who I'd trust as the final deal-breaker...Weber would come out on top without hesitation.
MSRP prices are $299 for WSM-18 and $399 for the WSM-22, which is a beast. The WSM-14 @ $199 I'm sure is not an option for you, unless as a back-up smoker for potatoes or veggies, etc, if you decided to start down that path...otherwise, yes, it's pretty small.
Hope this helps. I'm not trying to sell you on WSM, just informing you of my opinions and distinctions between the PBC and WSM. I only know what I've read about the PBC from their own site...and that info speaks volumes.