Charcoal is your best chance at getting a smoke ring. Charcoal produces more of the smoke ring producing chemicals than other types of fuel, according to everything I've read. And, I have no trouble getting a smoke ring using it.
As far as tenderness goes, every brisket is different. But, I have noticed that the point gets tender before the flat. You may want to just cook the brisket until the flat is where you want it. Or, you could remove the point, by cutting through the fat not the lean meat, when you think it's ready and continue to cook the flat.
Operation BBQ Relief Founding Member - I am Obsessive Compulsive about BBQ. Google it.