I’ve not had a big green egg, but a few years ago I picked up a knockoff made in Georgia on craiglist (guy though it was broken) for $50. Ceramic smokers are worth every bit of the exorbitant price. Drink as much beer as you like. Ignore it and it just chugs along at 225-250 for hours. Coming from the R2D2 brinkman, it makes it almost too easy. I have to keep the old offset stick burner around to make me feel better. But haven’t used it in 5 years…..