I smoke in a UDS or kettle, always with charcoal and wood, I use apple the most, with smaller amounts of oak, sometimes pecan. I rarely use hickory as I have yet to find that sweet spot with it in my kettle. I think the opposite of your supposition is true, that a all wood hickory and oak smoke in a stick burning offset gives a milder smoke, for the same wood types, than does a smaller direct fire cooker.
I use three to four chunks, fist or smaller sized.
I'm feeling bearish, and I'm packing a Wusthof Grand Brisket slicer from MABA
"perhaps...but then again...maybe not..."