Hi, and Thanks to all for your replies. I'm still experimenting each cook, with temp and fuel and wood choices. I am currently using a kettle grill for these briskets, I really need to get some of my other equipment in shape for smoking. I have been using two charcoal baskets with the brisket in the middle, over a water pan. Temps go hot quickly, so this cook I used only 1 basket and no water pan. Aiming for 275, the kettle fluctuates constantly as charcoal and wood chunks fire up and burn down. I'm not sure if the Maverick is good or evil, it dominates my world during these cooks.
At Walmart Saturday, I picked up bags of Hickory, Apple and Cherry chunks. I decided to use Hickory as I know it is the strongest flavor, and somewhere here I remember reading someone saying that they were from Texas, and they could not get too much smoke flavor. Well I like a pronounced smoke flavor also, so I started out with 2 large chunks, and added probably 6 more as I added fuel. I know we strive for "thin blue", but adding chunks and charcoal always results in "cloudy white" for a while till the chunks burn down a bit.
I'm still new at this whole brisket thing, and I thought I understood the feel of the "probe tender is done" thing. Last brisky I watched the temp rising and second guessed the probe, tough result. This time I started probing at 190(around 9:30), and while the point and the flat under the point were "butter" the thin end of the flat had some resistance, just at the very bottom of the meat where it contacts the grill. I left the meat on for about 2 more hours waiting for the perfect probe, and at midnight and 215 degrees I pulled it even though it was a little tough on the bottom with the probe.
So Monday dinner was disappointing. I refrigerated the brisket whole, I should have separated the point while warm. The meat was overcooked, slices would fall apart, but the surface of the meat that was against the grill was dry and tough, fat cap was up the whole cook. That eighth inch of meat against the grill was what made me think that the brisket was not probe tender. Live and learn(on Prime CAB).
The taste was way oversmoked. Reminded me of smoked fish, kind of sour. I know Hickory is strong, but I don't know if it was too dry, it burned quite fast, or if I just used too much. I know it billowed white smoke when igniting, and pit temp drop drastically with the kettle lid off for adding fuel.
I feel badly for showing such disrespect for such a magnificent cut of meat. But there is a beautiful 14 lb'er in the fridge that I need to do a much better job on, probably next Sunday.