Although these pics were taken after I removed the birds from the smoker, they were placed as identified. It is clear from their color and other evidence in the Qviews that the right side is hotter than the left and that it is hotter on the bottom racks than the top. (I only used 2nd and 4th racks to accommodate the height of the BUBA chicken.) All 4 birds were put in and taken out at the same time. Top pic is the top rack (2) as viewed in the smoker. Bottom pic is bottom rack (4). After finding and reading the thread on MES Mods, I've decided to place a ceramic tile over the element in an attempt to even out the heat. Because I use and AMNPS, the chip tray and loader are unnecessary. I thought that I might remove them and situate the tile so that it sits at approximately the same position that the heat shield sits as delivered. I was wondering if any other MES owner has done this. I'm aware that I'll have to do something about the hole that the chip loader goes through. I was thinking of making a simple draft control by drilling a hole and placing a damper over it that I can adjust to control air flow. Good idea? Bad idea? Anybody got a better one? IIRC, I read in a post that I cannot now find that someone made a smokestack replacing the hole in the unit as delivered. The point was that this would allow better control over the air flow and smoke making it possible to increase it or decrease it depending on how the venting was controlled. I'm considering this, too; but I don't remember anything about how tall the stack should be. If anyone can point in the right direction, I would appreciate it greatly and be much obliged. FWIW, I want these mods to be as nearly reversible as possible. I realize that any holes I drill will go against that rule, but I want to be able to go back if the mods don't work - and to be able to pass the unit on when the day comes with all new parts available and useful.