I'm basically a complete noob to real smoking. I have done some ribs & jerky in my grill with a chip box sitting on a burner. That being said, I got roped into smoking a brisket at my In-Laws house over Labor Day. I stumbled across this sight & found it a great help.
Equipment: Charbroil vertical gas smoker, don't know which model. I checked the door thermometer vs, a stand up bi-metallic thermometer & an electronic job, at the same height. The door read 150°, the stand up read 200° & the electronic read 225°. I decided to trust the electronic one. I had to turn the temp. knob to between High & off to get it to run at 225°. I wish I could get an electronic pressure regulator that worked between 0 & .5 PSI.
I got an 8 lb brisket flat with the little chunk of meat above (I believe it's called the point). There was more than the popular 1/4" of fat cap on it, so I trimmed to that. I mixed up a batch of Basic Barbecue Rub from the BBQ Bible book. Rubbed it in & let sit for 24 hours.
Put brisket right on the rack once smoker was up to temp. I smoked over half hickory/half apple. I also put an aluminum pie tin with some sea salt on the top rack to give it a little flavor. I had forgotten the 2lbs of pepper I wanted to smoke on the other side of the state, so that was a bust.
I got up every hour to check the water level & wood chip level. It would need filled with water every hour. I didn't get up one hour, all the water had evaporated, & the temp had gone to 285°. It finished up in about 7-1/2 hours. A lot quicker than I anticipated. I wrapped it in foil & beach towels, then put it into a cooler until lunch.
There was a lovely 3/8" thick layer of pink meat on the outside of the bottom (without the fat cap). All 12 people eating said it was quite good. The flavor was quite nice. It was not as tender as I would have liked it to be. I know not getting up the one time & having the temp. spike has some to do with it cooking quicker than predicted.
What hindsight tips do you folks have? For both food & equipment, because I'm probably going to have to break down & get a smoker for myself now.