My first charcoal smokers was a Meco and it ruined me on charcoal smoking for a good 8 years. Even with mods they are horrible at keeping temps. There's no set and forget! For a little bit more you could build a Mini-wsm and have one of the best smokers around.
I started with one also. Ruined some meat then figured out, at best, you can Hot and Fast Smoke/Bake ribs or Chix Parts but low and slow ain't going to happen without continuously adding a handful of lit coals every 30 minutes or so. Temps were all over the place. A year later my MIL bought me a New Braunfels Horizontal Offset and years of easier control and great Q followed...JJ