Pros - Set it and forget it, bluetooth control, most everything fits in the dishwasher, lots of space for big smokes
Cons - smoked flavor can be a bit weak if not using an AMNPS - this reduced my overall rating by 1/2 star
I have owned an MES 40 - 2.5 for about 15 months now. I have smoked many briskets, racks and racks of ribs, numerous turkeys, pulled pork, salmon, prime rib, etc. I also own a traditional wood/charcoal Brinkmann offset smoker (serial #1126) made of boilerplate - a real heavy thing and have had this smoker for about 15 years.
I own two smokers an MES 40-2.5 and a traditional Brinkmann wood/charcoal offset smoker. I find I now use my MES 40 about 5 or 6 times for every time I use my Brinkmann. I actually use my Brinkmann more for higher-temp smokes (chicken wings, pork steaks, rib-eye, etc.)
I read through the reviews and I have not experienced any of the problems with huge temperature swings. My temperature swings are maybe +/- 5 degrees using a calibrated thermometer.
I do not like the new MES app for controlling the smoker via Bluetooth...to many graphics and you can accidentally mess up a setting if you are not careful - the old app was perfectly easy to use, simple, clear, concise, etc. I am now used to the new app. but miss the old one terribly. DO NOT UPGRADE THE APP IF YOU ARE STILL USING THE OLD ONE (red screen).
Once I started using an AMNPS 5x8 to help generate smoke, bigger items like brisket, pulled pork, turkeys had a better smoked flavor than just using the chip tray that comes with the smoker...although I can still get a great smoke if I babysit the chip-tray and add a few chips at a time to maintain a great smoke. But if I am going to do that, I should just fire up my Brinkmann.
With the AMNPS - I can set it and forget it - so overnight smokes are a cinch
I had to modify the AMNPS with spring clips to raise it from the floor of the smoker and had to open the chip feeder 1/2 way yo keep the AMNPS lit. (Thanks for your help with this Todd!)
The 40" smoker can easily do two-12 pound turkeys at a time and many racks of ribs if you use rib racks.
I once left the meat thermometer ouy of the smoker after a smoke - and it rained - ruining the meat thermometer (totally my fault). I could not find a replacement on the MB website so I emailed them, told them what I did, and asked them to point me in the direction so I could buy a replacement...they sent me a new one for free even though the smoker was about a year old and it was my fault. So that is great customer service!
I would totally buy this smoker again.
It lost 1/2 star due to the weak smoke flavor on big meats without the use of an AMNPS.