When I smoke brisket and or ribs, I use red oak. I start off with some charcoal that I start with a propane torch in the fire box. When hot I start adding wood. At first it usually gets pretty hot, but you need to get some coals going. Adjust dampers and add wood as needed. For long smokes I will add more charcoal also. You will always get some thick smoke when you add a new piece of wood but it doesn't last long. Some pitts like to run hotter than others, you may even have to keep firebox door open a little to keep your fire hot enough to burn cleaner, and keeping the temps down in the cooking chamber. Watch for flare ups right after adding new wood. dampening down then opening back up... and so it goes.
Hope this helps