Jimmy, welcome to SMF and congrats on both the new marriage AND a great choice of wedding gifts. Having never BBQ'd anything before and starting with a brisket, that's gutsy! Good for you. Lots of folks start with something easy like chicken or ribs to get to know the quirks of their equipment.
Any chance a generous wedding guest put a Maverick wireless dual probe thermometer on your gift table? Or at least a temperature probe? If not, any grocery or kitchen supply place will have an inexpensive temperature probe ($10) you can buy that will help ensure success by checking the internal temperature of the meat.
Lets see, how to make a brisket easy in a WSM for a first timer. I prefer smoking briskets using hickory wood chunks buried in my charcoal, 3-4 chunks the size of a fist.
Below is what the Weber WSM manual recommends for a brisket. Although that's not the recipe or technique I use in my WSM the guidelines are solid. The only change I'd make for a first timer is the final internal temperature. 190F internal temperature (IT) can work, but use the poke test. When you stick it with a toothpick right through the foil the pick should slide into the meat like room temp butter. If it resists, keep cooking. I tell folks take it to an IT of 200F to help ensure a tender, juicy product. Also, while it is resting in the foil at the end, cover it with old towels on the counter just to keep it hotter longer.
Smoker Temp 250F.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 6 to 8 hours (resting time is an additional 1 to 2 hours)
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 brisket (flat cut), 5 to 6 pounds, untrimmed
2 cups favorite barbecue sauce
1. In a small bowl mix the rub ingredients.
2. Lay the brisket, fat side up, on a large cutting board. Trim the layer of fat to a ¼ inch thickness. Turn the brisket over and trim any hard fat or thin membrane covering the meat. Season the brisket evenly with the rub.
3. Place the brisket, fat side up, in a disposable drip pan large enough to hold it.
4. Place the pan on the cooking grate. Smoke the brisket until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160 °F (71 °C), 4 to 5 hours. At that point remove the brisket and pan from the smoker (close the lid to maintain the heat). Baste the brisket with some of the juices and fat collected in the pan. Then wrap the brisket in 2 large sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Discard the pan.
5. Return the brisket to the smoker and cook until the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 190 °F (88 °C) in the thickest section, about 2 to 3 hours longer.
6. Remove the brisket from the smoker and let it rest inside the foil at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. It will stay hot.
7. Carefully unwrap the brisket, being careful not to lose any of the juices inside the foil. Move the brisket to a large cutting board. Pour the juices into a small bowl.
8. Cut the brisket in 1/8-inch slices across the grain. Spoon or brush some of juices over the slices. Serve warm with barbecue sauce on the side.
Makes about 6 servings
If you can, take pics of your smoke and post them here, letting us know how it turned out.
Have fun with your wedding gift!