Show me a smoker that can compete with what a MES 40 + AMNPS does for $340. Doesn't exist in the hands-off department. The Amerique from Cookshack is $1500, and the Bradley requires proprietary wood pucks. Smokin-it smokers, while nice and all SS, are small.
And I used to own an inexpensive Brinkmann. Yeah, I made (to me) awesome Q, but I had to fiddle with it every 30-60 minutes. Don't get me wrong - my dream smoker is a Lang 48 Deluxe, but that's a $2000+ smoker that still needs fiddling with every 1-2 hrs. Probably when I'm retired.
If you can't make fantastic Q in the MES 30 or 40 - there's something wrong with YOU, not the smoker.
Chas19 - nice ribs. I like ribs that have a bit of pullback. No pullback and they're not done, too much and there's nothing holding them to the ribs. IMO ribs should be just a bit less than "fall off the bone".