I remember finding this board a few years back when I picked up my MES from Costco. I was ecstatic, loved the idea of smoking and couldn't wait to begin jumping into every recipe I could find from you folks.
Over the years, I lost a lot of my enthusiasm for smoking. No matter what I smoked, nothing really ever came out that great. I remember a few turkeys I did that had a nice smoke flavor, but otherwise, nothing ever really blew me away. I tried everything, from modding my recipes to modding the MES itself, new woods, different brands of woods, etc. I truthfully do not know if I just never used the MES right, but I became pretty sour on smoking because of the results I got from it. Finally, one day I was watching a review on a WSM from a guy who previously owned a MES. He switched because he too was tired of the results he was getting, and commented on how he didn't believe you could ever get great results from an electric smoker relative to a charcoal/live fire smoker.
So, in an ah-hah moment, I sold my MES on craigslist. I got really lucky and someone picked it up for $250, which I then immediately spent on a used WSM 18.5, a blower setup, and all of the gear (rib racks, weber cover, wood/charcoal, two wireless thermometers, etc). I regret to say I didn't take pictures of my inaugural rib smoke yesterday, but I'm BLOWN AWAY by how much better these ribs tasted than anything I have *ever* cooked on a MES. I'm now fully convinced that while electric is convenient, I don't believe burning wood over a heating element will ever produce the results of charcoal combustion. The blower setup on the WSM makes it just about as easy as my MES was, to boot!
My complaint with the MES is that it threw off plenty of smoke, yet nothing I ever made had that taste of a piece of meat well-seasoned with smoke. Either things came out looking and smelling super smokey with very little to no smoke flavor, or I would overload it with wood out of desperation (even knowing this was a bad idea) and get bitter-tasting food. Chicken was okay for the most part since it was, I'm assuming, delicate enough to take on some smoke flavor. These ribs I just made in the WSM, though.. oh my god. Each bite just rings out with the apple wood flavor, and I can honestly say they are perhaps some of the best ribs I have tasted to date. I used to be stuck getting my fix at Famous Daves for ribs, even with a smoker in my own backyard! This is true BBQ heaven now.
I'm planning on smoking up a bunch of stuff this Fri/Sat (ribs, brisket, and pork shoulder). PLENTY of pictures to follow soon!
Edited by elohel - 9/26/16 at 5:14pm