Since everyone seemed interested this is what happened with my brisket:
Smoking temperature: 200-210 degrees
Time: Approximately 3.5 hours
Weight: Just a smidge over 2lbs of prime beef brisket (pretty lean-I suspect that was a mistake)
Rub: Unsweetened chocolate, ancho chili powder, cayenne, thyme, salt, olive oil, garlic, black pepper
The urge to smoke some meat came on pretty quickly this week so I kind of went into this first try half cocked. We picked up the meat on the way home from work, then while my wife prepared the rub and slathered it on, I assembled the smoker.
We put the meat on, and I started everything up. Pretty quickly I had an internal temp of 190 in the smoker-but since I had the electric element turned up too high the wood chips went from a 'smolder' to 'ignition'. I ran into this a few other times during the process. After that I got the heat under control and watched from near by-only opening the top to replace the wood chips and after several hours to test the internal temperature of the meat.
After almost 3 hours the internal temp of the meat was only 130 degrees. It was nearing 8 pm, so I pulled it from the smoker and put it in the oven on 375 because I was more than ready for dinner. It was very chewy-but the flavor and moisture levels were all very good.
Things I learned:
I shouldn't use the small chunks of hardwood that are designed for gas grills-they have too much surface area and are prone to burning
I should have budgeted more time-I think 3 hours wasn't enough
Things I suspect:
I think I need to raise the temperature of the smoker-200-210 degrees isn't really warm enough
I think I should use a tin foil pan to catch the drippings-not only for later use but to stop flare ups from the grease burning
Does anyone have anything to add? I'm a very begining novice so this is all new to me. Right now I live in Ypsilanti (in the city) so I thought I should start off small before fighting my neighbors about a huge smoker :-)