I have one and I'm Happy with it. I have been smoking since I tended my Pops firebox. I have been electric smoking approx. 30 years I guess. Mine works perfectly as delivered, it was packaged well. It is made for small applications. If you want to do a 10 pound packer it will do it, if you want a bigger one you'll have to cut some off.
Its built for city folk where fire burners are not allowed, with a small family. It good for apartment dwellers and first time smokers to hone their craft. Takes little space (you'll want a short stand to set it on, 2 maybe 3 feet tall, cheap bedside or end table.
Mine holds temp like a champ I have ran 100 for 12 hours and 275 for 22 hours without incident. Its electric and slow to recover heat loss, its electric and does hold meat's moisture well when used properly. It is an electric, it is not going to crisp skins like a fire burner. Its not made for that.
If you want to try and use it more as a fire burner you can get an axillary smoke generator and with a couple of simple mods easily achieve a reasonable fact simile. But still its electric, its not supposed to be a fire burner.
Your first purchase should be a remote temperature sensing element. This allows you to cook using the perfect IT (Internal Temperature) This means that even when you try to mess up while learning, its still a delicious mistake you'll eat. I have an old Maverick ET72 that works just fine for that. I like my sensor seperate, goes back to the old days of have an all in one stereo unit instead of components, the more ya add, the greater the chance something will fail. Then its all broken.
I am completely happy with mine as long as you realize its short comings, you can't cook for a big party, you need a stand and a temp probe, you may want an aux, smoke generator, and I have heard sometimes the temp sensing element can be off, (its digital electronics, go figure) Its electric so it doesn't like rain, but what smoker does.
That's my take on the MES30, again I am completely happy with mine although I now wish I would have gotten a bigger one. It just seems that when I smoke these days, I have more friends than I remember asking. LOL
Whatever you do, I wish you luck and happy smoking.
PS I note you have missed the Roll Call Forum, let me suggest you make a stop in there so you can get a proper welcome, meets some of the Guru's who will help you with intergrating into the forum. Its really easy and it doesn't hurt much.......
Edited by Foamheart - 7/6/13 at 5:40am