ChefSteps is a cutting edge, high falutin', big muckety muck culinary organization out of Seattle with a fancy shmancy website that offers free and paid cooking courses. You'll see recipes using sous vide, pressure cooker, and all kinds of advanced cooking techniques. They also typically recommend high end equipment for use in the kitchen.
Personal note to Bearcarver: Bear, look at used and unclean it is inside. Again, your advice on not going overboard on cleaning the inside of a MES is right on the money. These guys are top chefs and don't think it's necessary to clean the inside to a sparkling finish. I don't think they even wipe it down; creosote buildup is not a concern for them. The inside of their smoker looks exactly like mine. I still say it's important to wipe down the ceiling to prevent carbon deposit buildup that can fall on food and to also clean off the two sensors on the interior rear wall.
Note also the placement of both the meat with DUAL probes both inside the meat on the top rack. Unable to tell if they replaced the controller or not.,
They're only using two racks. Look at the placement of the water pan and whatever that white thing is inside it. Looks like they took out the drip tray and replaced with a foiled over baking pan.
So, for all of you who claim that a MES is a piece of junk...here's a place that can afford to buy whatever they want yet they chose a the MES 30 Gen 1 as one of their two favorite smokers. For all of you in the market for an affordable electric smoker, this is the one to buy.
Here's the link to the ChefSteps page: http://www.chefsteps.com/activities/barbecue-techniques