If you are using charcoal for fuel, you should get a decent smoke ring, but this can also be dependent on the level of humidity in the smoke chamber. If there is a water pan in your smoker, or if you can add one, this will help when using water. I don't recommend using water for the entire cooking, but closer to 1/2 the total anticipated cooking time, as high humidity can result a dryer finished product, especially if taken to high internal temps. Note that beef typically yields a shallow, but dark pink smoke ring (sometimes a red mahogany), while in pork, a deeper smoke ring is more easily achieved and more pink in color. Smoke ring doesn't necessarily translate into smoke flavor, but if an adequate amount of smoke was used when a deep ring is produced, there should be a good amount of flavor as well. Smoke ring is actually not a product of exposure to smoke, but is instead caused by the burning of fuels (such as charcoal, propane, natural gas) which produce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) which reacts with the hemoglobin in the meat to produce a temperature-stable pigment. This is why electric smokers produce little to no smoke ring without pulling a few tricks...this is not to say that electric smokers don't produce good smoke flavor, it just means you typically don't see the tell-tale smoke ring with smoked meats from electric rigs.
This article will explain the humidity and effects on smoke reaction in more detail...the upper portion of this is a little run-down of how this all came about for me, while the principle details why and how it works. There is also a very good thread linked here which explains some research which was done in relation to how smoke really works for us, and how to use different smoke for different applications...called: Understanding Smoke Management...recommend you have a look at this when you get some time. For a good look at a deep smoke ring in beef (something even I rarely see) check the link to the brisket:
Lots to read there, but it should answer your current questions, as well as some you haven't yet thought about.
Also, agreed with Pineywoods on the apple chunk...very light smoke for beef and would have provided a lighter, longer smoke than the hickory chips, which will provide a sharper smoke with less duration. For a bit more zip to the smoke, hickory chunks and chips along with apple chunks and chips should give a better balance of sweet and sharp form the smoke flavor. Other fruit woods could be used for beef such as cherry, which has a heavier flavor with a sweet back-ground that pairs well with beef, especially when mixed with hickory.
Your chip/chunk combination is the right idea, as chips come on faster, and as they are nearing their end of smoke, the chunks will be well underway, but will smoke far longer than chips. For charcoal fired, chips generally go up too fast unless I use a container to place near the fire (not in), and this allows for better control of heat to the smoke wood for a slower burn. Chunks can go right alongside the charcoal and smoke quite well as long as the fire isn't too hot.