Just put on my first brisket at 6AM - WOO HOO! Why is it that it takes a team of horses to get me out of bed for work, but I can jump right out at 4AM when it comes to hunting, diving, or cooking? Hmm, think I just answered my own question... So here's what we've got going on: - 6lb brisket, unfortunately had to get a flat only/first cut because the only packer cut my store had was a HUGE 16lb'er... and there's no way that guy was going in the vertical smoker. Kind of disappointed there, as this is the first time I really couldn't do something because of real estate limitations inside my vertical smoker. - Using mesquite for the first time. I've mostly used hickory in the past, and this is my first mesquite smoke - and DANG the mesquite smoke is WAY stronger than hickory. This is getting interesting already. Noticed that the mesquite soaked up a lot more water than the hickory normally does. - Prepped the meat last night (mustard + commercial "Oklahoma Joe's" rub) - scored the fat, too. I've read a lot about doing that vs. not doing it, and most places seem to recommend doing it, so I did. Can't say that I really buy into the reason for doing it though (allowing the smoke to "get closer" to the meat"?, mm hmm, ok riight) so that'll definitely be something I experiment with in the future. Used the store-bought rub also because I didn't want to play with TOO many variables right off the bat. Using new wood on a new cut of meat is enough for me. - Got the BBQ Grillware vertical gasser running at 6AM, got him up to 225, and put the meat in about the time the smoke started to roll. I've got one of those RF temp probes, so I'm sitting in here on the couch watching a documentary on the P-38, finishing up my second cup of coffee. Temp right now after an hour of smoking is 94 deg. The brisket wasn't at full room temp when I put it on - it was still in the 50's. Well, it's about time to go check on it and hit it for the first time with the apple/jack mix. The wife's got the camera in St Louis visiting her aunt, but maybe I can find our old camera and take a few pics. Thanks to all for the advice and for getting me excited about taking on a brisket!