In order to properly smoke some ribs, you need the following:
1. Even heat, across the board. Low-temp (if you can keep it low) is critical.
2. Water. That's right, you need a water pan in the smoker/grill. Keeps things moist and catches the drippings.
3. Smoke. I use Mesquite.
Keep working on it, and you'll get there. It's woooooorth it.
Bill, et al--
As for MESA...I have made money on them in the past. Still undervalued (IMHO) in the .25 range. Might make for a good short-term flipper.