I want to smoke a brisket for lunch on Fathers Day.
But I don't want to get up at 2:00am to start it.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
FYI: I do not have a smoker, I have a large charcoal grill and a 6 burner gas grill.
If you want it for lunch, you won't be getting up at 2:00 am...you'll be starting it mid-afternoon the day before or even earlier than that, unless it's a center-cut (trimmed flat) instead of a whole packer. Figure on 2hrs/lb, and that's not not always enough time, either. I've never tried a hot & fast brisket before, so can't say what your results may be if go that route...may not get tender, and may scorch your dry rub. Speaking of dry rubs, avoid added sugars...they scorch with prolonged exposure to heat, even in the 225* range.
You will need to know your cooking grate temps so you can cook at 225-250*F, indirect heat only (no fire under the meat unless you use baffling). A direct read long stem fryer thermometer if you can fit it through a hole and position it next to grate level close to the meat, or a digital probe (best choice) stuck through a potato or small block of wood works well.
For sliced flat/point take to an internal temp of 175-185*. Probe for tenderness if you like before foiling to rest...give it more time if it doesn't probe tender. Any of the meat you may want to pull, such as the point, take to 195-200*. Wrap in foil and towels to rest for an hour or so before processing to serve.
Gas grill would be your easiest route for tending, as repeatedly reloading charcoal to maintain heat won't be a fun ride, and every time you open the grill, you loose heat, extending your cooking time that much more. With 6 burners, you should be able to have one burner lit on either side of the meat for indirect cooking. Place a drip pan under the meat with water, onion slices, garlic, celery, carrots...whatever you want to flavor the brisket with...this will also add humidity to the cooking chamber for better smoke reaction.
For smoke, you can use a burned out tin can to put chips into and place near the path of the flame on the rock grate (not under the meat...drippings will kill it). Control the smoke output by moving the can away form the flame for less smoke, closer for more. Hickory, mesquite and cherry are all strong enough smoke flavor for the brisket...apple, pecan and other milder, sweeter woods will do fine as well. I prefer a mix of other woods when using pecan, as it has a mild but pungent aroma...it's a nice combo with cherry, hickory, etc.
Make sure you have a full propane tank and a spare when you start...grills are notoriously inefficient and use a lot of juice on long burns like this.
That is a viable option. If I were contemplating that, I might just toss it in the "O" for much better temp control and even cooking.
If you opt for a shorter smoking period, don't be afraid of laying on the smoke fairly heavy, as brisket can take on a lot of smoke and not taste overpowering, so with a shorter time for smoking, a heavier smoke may be to your liking. I generally run with smoke for approx 1/2 of the cooking time on brisket, with a heavy smoke for the first 30-60 minutes, then lighter for the duration. Also, higher smoke chamber temps reduce smoke reaction time vs low & slow.
Your much better off getting about 4 to 6 hours of smoke on the meat, then wrapping it up and throwing it in the oven for the duration of the cook. This will take alot of headaches and potential disasters out of the mix. I finish them off in the oven all the time.
I don't cook brisket on a grill (only in smokers...been a long time since I've smoked anything on a grill), but no I don't foil at all anymore, not until I rest it. But, that is with a dry smoke chamber to finish it up after running wet to get a good smoke on it (wet-to-dry smoke chamber and lean trimmed meat).