Hey patriots..welcome to the forum. First of all, I am up here in the Boston area too. I have found Cowboy lump charcoal at Lowe's pretty routinely. Not the best but it works fine. I use oak and cherry in a vertical smoker. Now, you should keep it simple. It is important to keep the cook chamber temp as steady as possible. I heat with the lump and use small logs of oak or cherry for flavor. You don't want a lot of smoke so feed the wood in slowly. I have learned that it is super important to monitor the meat temp as well. For years I couldn't get tender, fall-apart brisket, then learned to get the internal temp up and that is the magic. Be patient with it. I don't baste during the cooking either, but then I am originally from Texas. I wish you good luck and enjoy the process, smokin' is loads of fun.