growing up my parents always used charcoal. when i went to college i got a LP gasser for convenience. once i graduated college i bought a house that had a dedicated natural gas line set for a grill... so i used it. a few years back i started to miss that smoke flavor in what i grilled... i truly believe that the meat that came off of my natural gas grill didn't taste any different than what was cooked inside the house in our gas oven. so i bought a charcoal grill. for the next few years the gasser was only fired up once in a blue moon.
after using the charcoal grill i started to figure out its limitations... it was difficult to go low/slow and high temp searing. also i realized that i really preferred lump to briquettes, but lump is a little difficult to maintain in a typical charcoal grill.
so my search for something new started. i researched everything... vertical smokers, offset smokers, vertical offset smokers, charcoal/lp/electric smokers, pellet grills, you name it i researched it. my problem was that each of these were mostly a one-trick-pony. then a co-worker told me about his kamado and how steaks are just "better" off of them. so i ended up here on kamadoguru. i bought a Akorn, which so far i've found is a formidable kamado for it's price, and i couldn't be happier.
now with all of this said i agree that kamado cooking can be viewed as a hobby, mainly because of the time, research, and effort that needs to be put into understanding how things work. the learning curve isn't steep... but not flat either. but after a while i believe it just becomes normal routine. i think without this site i would not have purchased a kamado. but luckily i found this site. i've talked with some friends about my Akorn, they ask if i like it and if i'd recommend it; so far i've said yes, but with disclaimer that you need to do some research into best practices... and i give out this site because without it i think the vast majority of we kamado users would be lost.