i smoked a brisket last night, my second one. i used my homemade rig for the first time. the ABT's and Fatties turned out well. i used 1lb of jalapenos, stuffed with cheddar, and wrapped in bacon. i make mine by making "boats" out of the jalapenos. too much trouble to try and leave them whole. i used a JD "sage" and a JD "hot" for my Fatties. they were fantastic. i kinda like the hot better, but the sage is good too. the brisket was 8.31lbs, a packer cut. i sprinkled cayenne pepper, chili powder, black pepper, dried chopped onions, onion powder, and garlic powder on it. i smoked it at 225Â°, with pecan and oak wood, using royal oak lump for my charcoal. i put the brisket in the smokeer at 2015; it hit 140Â° at 2247. i then pulled it out of the smoker, put in an aluminum roasting pan, and poured my mop on it. covered it in foil and put in the preheated oven at 225Â°, at 2300 (see below for the reason it went in the oven). it pulled it out of the oven this morning at 0915, internal temp of 185Â°. i left it on the stove for about an hour, then sliced it up. i made my mop by taking a 6oz can of apple juice and pouring it in a bowl. i added chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and brown sugar. the brisket was tender with a nice flavor, with a nice smoke ring. now a few questions. i had hell getting my smoking chamber to hit 225Â°. i put some of the charcoal in the firebox, put a little lighter fluid on it (let it sit a minute), and fired it up. i had alot of wood ready by the smoker to go in. it took a while to hit 225Â°. once it hit 225Â°, it styed there pretty good. i ended up using the whole 10lb bag of charcoal, and alot of wood. maybe i am just used to a smaller smoker, but i got worried i was going to run out of heat. the last hour, before it hit 140Â° internal, it got down to 200Â° in there. i had the intake wide open on the firebox. there is nothing to close the exhaust stack, which runs from the food rack through the top, and about 12" above the top, with a rain shanty on top. the smoke stack is overall 24" long x 4" diameter. should i use strictly wood? i can get all the oak and mesquite i want, free. i have alot of pecan here at the house. i don't mind tending the fire, that's alot of the fun of it. the firebox will hold 16" long logs. or should i get 10lbs of charcoal burned into coals and put 1 or 2 logs of wood on it? i saw alot of the thin blue smoke, and a little of that nasty thick white smoke. i closed the firebox intake and opened the main door when the white smoke started up. that was when i had the ABT's and Fatties in there. after i took them out, i put in the brisket, and never had the white smoke again. it all turned out good, so it was a success. i am going to make a deflector plate before i smoke anything else in it. i am also going to get another thermometer for the other side of the smoking chamber. here is some pics. we most of the ABT's before i took the pics.