I use hickory and/or pecan for brisket. I used to use post oak and live oak a lot too. I've never added fruit woods to beef, but lots of people do it.
If you want to try mesquite, burn it down to coals first, then you don't have to worry about ruining your meat. I'm from Texas and still like mesquite a lot. So from time to time, I'll heat up my pit with it, and then throw the meat on with some seasoned hickory or pecan. This way you get some mesquite hints in the flavor profile from the early smoke.
I prefer fruit woods with my pork and chicken.
Amount of smoke flavor is all about fire/temp management. And that takes practice to master to your tastes.
Custom 30"X84" competition-style RF trailer smoker
Pecos 20"X60" OS by Old Country BBQ
Char Griller 5050 with side box
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