I've got a Wal-mart special upright smoker with a couple of mods, made a burn pot with 1/2" steel grate for better burning and am using sand in the water pan. First brisket was tasty but not tender enough - had issues with keeping the temps from jumping around. First set of ribs (2-2-1) were wat over-cooked. Second batch of ribs was better (2-1-1).
Here' my second attempt at brisket:
While waiting for smoker to heat up I pulled the brisket out, let it come to room temp then coated it with mustard and rub.
After 7 hours at about 250 degrees
After resting for 30 minutes. Tender and tasty.