I've spent a fair amount of time on the forums for electric smokers. Before I take the plunge, I was hoping some of you might be able to give me some guidance.
I live outside Chicago. Thus, half the year it's cold and snowy. I don't have a porch or other covered area. For warmer months, I originally was planning to get an MES 30 or 40, put it on my brick patio, and then cover it when not in use. However, after reading a lot of posts, it seems that you have to be careful of rain for the digital controls, and summer thunderstorms are fairly common here. I see some have invested in "sheds" or other enclosures. For the cold half of the year, I'd have to smoke outside the garage in the front of the house if I wanted to use it in the winter, but I also see some people expressing concerns about using an extension cord.
Am I better off wheeling the smoker in and out of the garage as I use it all year round (perhaps putting it on a cart) rather than smoking out back on the patio for half the year? Or is the extension cord a big enough issue that I should instead look into investing in Suncast/Rubbermaid or other type of enclosure and keep the smoker out back all year round?
I'm excited to make the leap, but now I'm wondering if these are significant issues or if I'm just overthinking things.
Lastly, am I better off simply going for the MES 40 now instead of the 30? I'll generally only be cooking for 3 or 4 other than the occasional party/bbq.
Thanks all in advance for any advice!