Below is my Step by Step on smoking a Butt in an MES.
What you want is an AMNPS and a mess of Pellets.
And yes---Once you get the AMNPS lit properly, it's basically "Set & Forget".
Let me give you the Reader Digest version. I'm a charcoal guy, but this is what I've read:
You will want the A-MAZE-N-PELLET-SMOKER 5X8. Unless you are high altitudes.
Some people have had issues with keeping the AMNPS lit, but I understand the owner of the company is really good at helping out to make thing work as well as possible.
Some people go with the "Mail box" mod to remove the AMNPS from inside the smoker. I have not hear of any negatives to this mod, but you are modifying a new smoker......
I'm sure others will chime in with more.
And Bear is faster on the enter button then me!
BTW: You should also get a wireless Digital set of Therms, so you know what the actual Temp of the smoker & the meat is.
I recommend the Maverick ET-732, and you can get that from that same Site "Amazing Smokers".
Built in Therms on Smokers are usually not that accurate.
The owner "Todd" & inventor of the AMNPS is a Great Guy & an outstanding Member of this Forum.
Everyone has opinions, they are like..... well we all have 'em. But Just a friendly suggestion. Before you go out and attempt to add chips every hour for a full smoke, try less, you may find you like it more. I found that if I apply smoke from one hour to three, it is plenty and usually those who are not the hard core smokers will find it more than ample.
If you are from Texas and love constant mesquite, I apologize for the suggestion. LOL
Give your meat an hour to dry, then apply the smoke, 3 hours of poultry I usually do about an hour of smoke. 20 hour butt. maybe 4 or 5.
Longer smokes like butts and brisket I can't more highly recommend an aux smoke generator. The Amazin works fine, you should call Ms. Rhonda and she'll help you out. Basically it'll either be a pellet or dust type, I have not used the dust but looking forward to it. I just have too dang many pellets laying around to jump to that horse currently but I think it might be a better match for your smoker. It requires less air flow to make smoke,
As I total newbie, I highly recommend you get your feet on the ground using whole chickens. Cheap, easy to get, and fast cookers. It allows you to get over the initial learning curve pretty much painlessly. And chicken is my personal favorite anyway. I smoke one every other week if not every week just for me.
Everyone will be happy to help you, you'll get tired of having to read all the different ideas for the same question..>LOL
Just remember to take notes and have full.
....And just because I seem to have ADD today... I would second Bear's recommendation for a good leave in wireless thermometer. A lot of guys like the mavericks, I have an Igrill2. I really like it, but the blue-tooth range is not so good with my metal sided house ( but neither would the mavericks. Seriously, this house is like a Faraday cage)
I've got a MES 30 Gen 1. I bought the AMNPS about 3 years ago and it forever changed the way I smoke. Let me again emphasize: I've been using it successfully for 3 years. Yes, it is practically set it and forget it. There's a slight learning curve for how to light it and keep it lit. Once you get that down you can enjoy up to about 11 hours of nonstop smoke. The people who advise against just, for some reason or another, weren't able to resolve their own problems with it, especially those who own a Masterbuilt Generation 2 electric smoker.
I also buy all my wood pellets from Todd Johnson, the man behind the AMNPS and his other smokers. I bought mesquite pellets from him specifically for when I smoke a tri-tip roast, Santa Maria (CA) style. Here's his website: http://www.amazenproducts.com/
You can also PM him at SMF. He'll be able answer your questions. Todd provides the among the best customer service I've ever received anywhere.