Welcome JoshuaFlores! you will find a wealth of information on the forums!
Brisket and Pulled Pork are two of my favorites! IMHO, no secret to cooking. Low and slow.
I've had better luck with drum smokers than offset smoker. i find the cheaper offset smokers are more difficult to maintain consistent temperatures. There are some great offset smokers, but, i'll let others comment on those. I'm cheap and i bought a food grade 55 gallon drum and built my own "Ugly Drum Smoker".
Here are some general things to do you want to keep the smoker temp. at a minimum 225, 250 MAX
The secret is low and slow cooking until the internal temp is a minimum 180/190 for slicing. higher temp if you plan to shred/pull the brisket.
Rubs on brisket, it's more of a personal preference. i get more compliments on my brisket when i use a simple 1/2 kosher salt 1/2 coarse black pepper rub. I've used alot of rubs over the years and i've never really had one come out bad or get anyone sick!!
I don't brine brisket or marinade it or rub and fridge overnight. i take the brisket our a few hrs before i plan on cooking and let it get close to room temp. i rinse it, pat dry and trim off the thickest piece of fat on the thick side of the brisket. the rest of the fat i leave on. rub on the 1/2 kosher salt 1/2 coarse black pepper rub and i put it on the smoker. i check the temperature at 8 hrs and pull the brisket off once i get above 185. then i put the brisket in a foil pan covered in foil or wrap it really good in foil and let it sit for at least 1.5 hrs before slicing.
Use lump wood charcoal. you are in LA area and you can get the best lump here:
if you go to this place bring cash unless you want to buy over $100 of product. i bought three bags and its been over a year and i just cracked my last one. EXCELLENT product.
I like the Oak and Hickory lump
same drill, i just take it out a few hours to warm up. then i rinse it and coat the shoulder with yellow mustard really good. then i sprinkle on whatever rub i want so, it's coated good.
cook the pork with lump charcoal at 225-250 until it's at least 195 to 205 for pulling.
now, here is the secret that was passed on to me thru this forum. I'm cutting and pasting from my recipe archives. I'm not sure which member i got this from or the thread. But, whoever it was THANK YOU AND YOU GET CREDIT FOR THIS!! LOL here is what they recommended.
The Finishing Sauce I use is as follows:
1 Cup Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Course Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
Warm the Vinegar up enough so that it disolves the Sugar well. Then add the remaining ingredients.
I use it in one of those clear Ketchup bottles you can get from Wally World for about $0.99. Snip a little bit larger hole out of the spout with a pair of scissors. Once all your ingredients are mixed together, put your finger over the top, and shake vigorously.
Randomly squirt this over warm freshly pulled Pork, then kind of mix it up with gloved hands. This adds very little heat (despite the Red Pepper) and mellows out the stronger, gamier parts of the Shoulder. The Vinegar also helps break it down even more for some REAL juiicy pork.
here are some rubs i have used. I got these on the forum too. feel free to adjust the ingredients to your personal tastes.
8 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons cayenne
5 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons onion powder
6 tablespoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme
Combine all ingredients and store in an air-tight container.
Good for any pork BBQ. Good on Chicken too!
Chris Lilly's six-time world championship pork shoulder rub recipe,
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup paprika
1/3 cup garlic salt
1/3 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
Hope that helps!! good luck with the smoking and family bonding!