I've seen them used in competitions, and I've seen them win. You can find plans all over the web. If you don't want to invest much, it is a good solution. The guys I know that built them spent around $500 each. If you are going to build one, I highly recommend the style with the long air intake pipe that attaches at the bottom, slightly below the coal bed. If you really want to get creative, add a BBQ Guru to one and have a charcoal smoker that can be controlled like a pellet grill. My recreational go to is a Rec Teq 700. These guys build great pellet grills with outstanding customer service. They are pricey but worth every penny. I have a pull behind stick burner for competitions and I've been able to get very similar results with the Rec Teq.