Thanks for all the replies. Let me give you a detailed breakdown of how I've smoked the last 5 or so briskets.
- I smoke on a Kamado Joe (about to switch out for an offset stick burner). On it, I run lump wood as the fuel, using smoking wood throughout the cook for flavor. For brisket, I use cherry/oak or cherry/hickory.
- In terms of fuel, I've found that hotter/smaller fires in the Kamado produce a much more consistent blue smoke. So, I typically load it with enough lump to hold a consistent temp for 3 hours, then after 3 hours remove the brisket/put it in the oven for a few minutes at the same temp the Kamado was running, introduce more lump to the Kamado, let it get up to temp, throw on more smoking wood and then put the brisket back onto the grill. I could see this being an issue, especially with ovens and smokers cooking totally differently, but if I throw too much lump into the Kamado it cooks wayyyyy too hot, forcing me to squelch it which ultimately produces tons of gross smoke. It's a battle of two evils here.
- For prep, I don't inject and simply salt/pepper the brisket Texas-style. I've tried injections, but it's kind of a waste till I get the cooking process down pat and it's not really my thing.
- For the cook, I run the grill at 250. Recently, my cooking temps have been incredibly stable. I've been avoiding the "Texas Crutch" of foiling with a wet mop. I used both for my first few briskets, but much like the reasoning above for not using injection, I've been trying to simplify the smoke so I get good at cooking the cut of meat before adding layers of complexity.
- Last week I pulled the brisket at 195 without doing the "probe" or "feel" test - mostly because I had no idea those existed. This week, I began doing the "probe test" once the meat reached 190 degrees internal. Around 201 the probe was doing it's thang pretty nicely, but not quite like "cutting through butter." I left the meat on for another 5 to 10 mins to keep softening, pulled it (think it was around 208 internal), tented it with foil for 15 minutes, wrapped the foil down, wrapped the foil in a beach towel and then threw in a cooler to rest for 3 hours.
Probably too much information and some pretty poor grammar throughout, but that's what I've been doing.