I'm a newbie smoker from the Houston-Galveston area.
I just got a MES 30" a few weeks back. I've already used it a few times. Messed up chicken breast and then messed up pork shoulder. With help from this forum, I now know what I should be doing.
Things I've learned:
1. Bigger is better; wish I had waited and got the new 40" MES - missed it by a week or so.
2. The meat thermometer in my MES is very accurate (compared MES temps in the same meat as a Maverick)
3. An additional meat thermometer gives piece of mind - I got a 733 Maverick
4. Smoking is an art not a science - you can follow the instructions to a "t" and it still won't turn out right because the same cut and type of meat can vary when smoking and so too can the heat inside the smoker based on location.
5. Temperature is more accurate than time.
6. If the meat tastes right for you it is done
7. The folks on this forum are very helpful