great questions - i've done a lot of reading but have only been in on two brisket smokes - take my advice for what it's worth:
What wood should I use, cherry, hickory or mesquete?
i would say try hickory first - a good basic wood that can't go wrong. you can always try something new when you've got a good method down. mesquite and cherry are supposed to be good choices for beef, so there probably ain't nothing wrong with them, but for a first attempt i recommend hickory.
What temps should I keep the smoker at?
i try to hold smoker temps between 225 and 250. with wood or charcoal, it is tough to get exact, but this is a good range. i believe that anything lower will rsult in drier meat and anything too much her could result in the meat being "done" before it becomes barbecue (connective tissue breaks down to make tender, juicy good stuff). i can say with confidence that if you keep it between 225 and 250, you will not fail.
Should I foil?
some do, some don't - it's a personal preference. if you like bark (who doesn't?) i say no foil until it has reached your desired finsihing temperature. then foil it and wrap it in towels and stick it in an empty cooler for at least a half hour OR until everyone's ready to eat. those big hunks of meat hold their temps for a long time and as long as its internal temps is abbove 140, you should be good.
Should I rub?
strongly recommended that you put something on there, but it is not required. if you ahve a favorite rub, give it a try. if you want to try making one, think garlic, pepper, salt, paprika, onion and maybe a little of turbinado (raw) sugar. that's a suggestion, the decision is up to you! MIKEY has an excellent no-salt-no-sugar rub that he will be happy to share. i tried a variation on it that went something like this:
1 tbsp mrs dash table blend
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp chopped freeze-dried chives
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1tsp worcestershire pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp ground mustard powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 envelope unsweetened black cherry kool-aid
regarding the kool-aid powder, don't knock it til you try it! also, it;s not a bad idea to brush on a little mutard before applying the rub. it will help you make a great bark and it will NOT taste mustardy when done - i guarantee this.
Should I inject?
i see absolutely no reason to do this - you can if you want, but the whole idea behind barbecue is to use the meat itself (and its fat and connective tissues) to produce tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. it's your choice, but i recommend no.
Should I cook to 200* and pull or?
if you want something that will slice nicely, cook to around 192-195. if you want to pull it, cook to 200-205. it's your choice and you can't go wrong either way!
Should I use a finishing sauce?
once again - personal preference and it's up to you, but RIVET has an outstanding finishing sauce for brisket that can be mixed in or spooned onto the final product - he's posted the recipe before, so i'll post it here again:
1 medium onion finely diced
3 TSP minced garlic
1/4 Cup olive oil
2 Cups tomato sauce (here's where my Sicilian Tomato Sauce can be used)
1 Cup molasses
2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
2 TBSP chili powder
2 TSP mustard powder
1 TBSP celery seed (or you can substitute 1 TSP celery salt- U use seed toi cut the salt and haven't noticed any diff.)
2 TBSP paprika
1 TSP cayenne pepper
1 1/2 TSP coarse ground black pepper
1 cup water
Sautee onions in olive oil until almost clear. Add garlic and continue for a minute or two. Don't let the garlic brown.
Add all other ingredients. Bring to low boil, then turn down heat to low and let heat below a simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring often. It will thicken up nicely or you can continue to cook until it reaches the consistency you want.
That's it! Good Stuff!
that's about all i got for ya, and i hope it helps! good luck and be sure to give us a bloe-by-blow and plenty of q-view!