Looking through the literal mountains of info and opinions available on the internet - I've come down to what (I think) are 2 good choices - although I'm still open to suggestions
Here's my decision guide:
The family likes ribs - we tend to eat them about once a month or more in the summer. (and probably will moreso if I can get a smoker working decently at -20) so thinking a wider smoker
Family is 3 people - so it doesn't need to be a gigantic one. but from time to time I make stuff for up to a dozen people when we entertain
The smoker will be left (relatively) unattended for periods of 4 hours or so, so I'm thinking propane. I've already got a 100# cylinder for the grill, so I should be able to share it with the smoker.
based on reviews, and what I have read so far - It's looking like either the masterbuilt xl or the smoke vault 24.
anyone care to put it to a vote/suggestions?