I'm certainly still a beginner when it comes to smoking meats. I've had a MES for about a year or so now and use it intermittently and needless to say, I'm not yet a pit master. I've found a few recipes online that I like and they cook up relatively well, but here's my lingering problem. As opposed to getting a flavorful smoke, I almost feel like i'm tainting the meat. Last night, my wife suggested (and I agreed) that the overpowering smoke flavor almost made it seem like we were eating the mesquite wood chips themselves (in a bad way). This problem isn't limited to the mesquite, but I use it the most. In another thread, i was reading the debate about open or closed vents, and my vent has been closed since i bought it (out of ignorance). Do you think smoking with a closed vent is contributing to this problem? Are there any other suggestions for getting this right? Cooking too long? Thanks in advance.