Things I never knew. Thanks!
I tried to pick up and feel the brisket (with heat gloves on), and it felt pretty tender - not quite as pliable/soft as cooked ribs, but nearly that. Then again, it's apparent I have no idea how a brisket "should feel" when it's finished.
And forgive my reliance on the thermometer. Without knowing the "it's done when it feels like this" tricks, I need something to help me before I develop that sort of knowledge.