Cool! Something I definitely know about....I've smoked a LOT of briskets over the last 20 years or so. I've got a large family that has a lot of get togethers and somehow I usually wind up being the designated cook. I bet I smoke at least 2 briskets a month, sometimes more.
At any rate, here's how I cook mine....Be prepared, this is going to be a wall of text. Sorry about that in advance.
I usually use a 10-14 lb whole packer brisket (No market trimmed meat). I then trim off a little of the fat off the cap but not much.....My aim is to have at least 3/4" of fat on the cap and no trimming at all on the flat. For a rub, it depends....One thing I always use for my rub is Fiesta brand Fajita seasoning ( http://i.walmartimages.com/i/p/00/07...17_500X500.jpg
)and apply it liberally to the entire slab of meat including on the sides. This stuff is basically Salt and Pepper with a little garlic maybe, and a few other spices. If you don't like heat in your meat then that's about it and that's usually how I wind up making mine because I've got people in my family that can't handle the heat.
If I'm making a brisket for my immediate family I'll spice things up a bit and put a little cayenne pepper in the rub as well. I'll also occasionally put some brown sugar in it frequently when I do this to add in a little sweet with the heat.
Again, sprinkle your rub on liberally and RUB it in...Pat it down really good and make sure you get everything a good coating. Once that's done put a piece of foil over it and let it sweat while you're getting your fire ready.
I use an offset smoker, and not one of those big expensive ones. Mine was like $200 and I use it for everything. I generally use oak wood on my briskets because it is abundant down here in TX. I also use a lot of Pecan wood which gives the meat a little bit of a sweet flavor. If you can find it, Pecan is great for a brisket. Hickory of course isn't bad itself but when I use that I have to use chips which I presoak and put on the fire while cooking.
After you've gotten your fire started and the temps top out and then go back down to about 225 put your brisket on fat side up and skinny side to the back as far away from the fire as possible. The idea is that as the fat on top renders down it will drain through the meat and of course the skinny side cooks fastest so you don't want it ever facing the hottest side. I cook my brisket at least 12 hours no matter how small it is. For a 10 lb brisket it's 12 hours and then I just add an hour and a half for each pound over that.
The only reason to wrap a brisket is if you think it's gotten as much smoke as you want it to have. For me, I prefer a LOT of smoke (The reddish/pink ring that forms in the outer 1/4" or so of the meat) so I don't ever wrap mine. If you do, it's just personal preference. Try your best to keep the fire as close to 225 as you can. Variances in temperature can make your meat tougher.
Alternately, if you like to wrap your brisket you can cheat a little if you want since your aim is now to get the meat tender rather than add smoke flavor......After you've decided that you have enough smoke from the BBQ pit, take the brisket off the pit and wrap your meat up nice and tight with foil and get a turkey roasting oven. Set the turkey roasting oven to about 200 degrees and put about an inch and a half of water in the bottom and set the brisket on the wire rack above the water and leave it for the remainder of the cooking time. When I do this I'll smoke mine for at least 10 hours and then leave it in the turkey roasting oven for another 4 or 5 hours and it comes out as tender as it can be.
After cooking, take it off the fire or out of the turkey roasting oven and move it to a pan (to catch juices that might run out) and leave it sit for 20-30 minutes at least.
When cutting, I always start at the flat (leaner meat) end and the first slice is MINE. This slice is worth the time cooking for the entire brisket and is your just reward...Don't share LOL
Cut against the grain, 1/4" wide slices. After you get 3 to 5 slices in, do the pull test. Hold a slice in your hands and pull on either end....It should pull apart fairly easily and not be rubbery...If it's rubbery then the next time increase cooking time but not heat.
The main thing (IMO) for the best results is Do not use a market trimmed brisket. They don't have enough fat on them and cooking times and temperature are completely different.
Secondly, keep your heat as even as possible....A jump from 225 to 350-400 is easy right after you put another piece of wood on the fire so keep an eye on that because that is the biggest cause of a tough brisket.
And that's about all I have for you.....hope this helps and again, sorry for the giant wall of text
Let me know how it goes!