Neat forum. I have been reading for the last few weeks. Our family loves smoked and grilled food and I love preparing it. This looks like one of those skills you will never master, which means a lifetime of interest (like flying). I bought an electric masterbuilt (MES, I think you call it). It was so easy I thought there was nothing to this smoking thing. I always assumed I would be chastised for using an electric smoker by the 'purists'. Maybe I will, but it was a great entry to smoking. It really got us hooked. The best turkeys I have ever had came out of that thing. Chickens, ribs, home-made venison jerky, pork loins and full turkeys have all come out great. Maybe we are just easy to please, but I think everything tastes better coming out of the smoker.
We like outdoor living so much, we built a new outdoor kitchen on our porch and put a built-in Kitchenaid 90,000btu grill and plumbed in natural gas. My old MES was just too ugly and becoming non-functional so I opted for a new gasser smoker. Lowes had a Master Forge, 2 door ~30" display model. It looked like just what I wanted but they don't stock it any more. The manager knocked the price down since it was a little beat up and missing the door thermometer (bonus!). I have parts to plumb it in to my natural gas line and convert it to ng. A few mods and some seasoning and we will be back in the smoking business. Can't wait!!
College Station, TX is a little northwest of Houston. Wind is not really an issue since I am on a porch. It stays hot and humid here most of the time. Some of the issues we fight are rust/corrosion, pests, and heat making it unvcomfortable to cook outside during the summer.