I was asked to smoke a brisket for a family birthday party tomorrow. I have always wanted to smoke a brisket so I said what the heck why not! I ended up getting a 13 LB brisket from Sams yesterday and I'm going to put it on the smoker tonight around 6ish.
I do have a couple question though before I get started later today. Should I smoke it a foil pan and then foil the pan around 160 or do I not use a pan and just leave it unfoiled until its done? I know its mostly personal preference and if it wasn't for a party I don't think I would worry about it too much. From what I understand if its in a pan you are able to save the Au Jus juice. Also I know that the average time for a brisket is about 1.5 hours per pound of meat, but it seems that it can vary quite a bit from that. If my plan is to start it at 6 tonight and if it cooks faster then im hoping and its done early in the AM tomorrow whats the best way to keep it warm until 5pm? Will the cooler method keep it warm until then or should I just stick it in the oven on warm? I'm hoping that it will get done around noon and that will give me enough time to get the burnt ends done and keep everything warm.
Thanks for any help or advice you guys can give me on this!