A brisket is going to tax you if this is your first cook! For a long cook you'll absolutely NEED to have figured out fire control and it can be a bastage. You'll also have to have your fire grate raised because the amount of ash you'll produce while cooking a brisket will choke out the fire if your grate is too low. And trying to clean out excessive ash while the fire is still going is...fun. BTW - do you have a steel ash bucket yet? ;)
Buy lots of wood! The 'Dera can be a bit of a fuel hog, even if you've mastered fire control. It will be worse if you can't keep the temps even.
If you aren't baffled up yet - and I'm sorry, I'm just assuming you haven't had time to make all the mods yet! - you'll have a real hot spot all along the right side of the smoke chamber and it can crisp a piece of meat that takes HALF as long to cook as a brisket does.
You'll need to have a way to keep the meat moist. I don't know if you're a sand- or water-in-the-water-pan guy, but you should spray or mop some sort of liquid on the meat at regular intervals. Keep the door closed as much as possible, but the beef will dry out on you if your temperatures are too high (I cook at 220° - 225°).
Others will chime in, of course, but that's what I recommend if you're set on cooking a brisket as your inaugural cook. What I REALLY recommend is that you learn the 'Dera by cooking something a little more forgiving, like pork spares or a loin! Anything that takes less time to cook at this stage of your training might be better.
And don't forget to throw on some fatties at different spots on different racks. You'll spot your hot/cold spots easily with something cooking everywhere!
Give me a call if you need to. I'll PM you with my number.
 If anyone else has something to say that I said wrong - don't hold back! We're all learning all the time. <wink>
Help out, you farkers!!
NB El Dorado Offset, Primo Oval Junior, Traeger Model 075 Pellet Pooper, Big Chief, Kingfisher Kooker 14" gas/wood combo, PBC Brethren Edition
Home Brewer, Murderer of Squirrels, Armadillo Inspector
Flaming Pig Head Mod
Black Thermapen, red backlit Thermapen
Certified KCBS BBQ Judge
Last edited by Arlin_MacRae; 10-05-2006 at 01:12 PM..