What's up guys!? Been a while since I have been around...had my first kid a couple months ago, so life has been changing! It has been great though... I wanted to detail my first brisket cook for you guys and see what your thoughts are on what I need to do differently. I will try to be as clear as I can, as there are many variables, and I will also be including some info about my buddies brisket that he cooked at the same time. Sorry for the lack of pictures...I wish I would have taken some. :/ I bought a 13.75lb CHOICE (I know...but it was on sale for $25 and I didn't want to botch a prime brisket, ha!) packer from Kroger. Friday night I trimmed it down to 9lbs (I cut 1-2" off the flat so it would fit in my SV18), seasoned with a 50/50 blend of coarse salt/coarse pepper, wrapped in plastic wrap and set in the fridge overnight. Got up at 4am, pulled it out of the fridge to come up to room temp. The cooking was taking place at my buddies house, so by the time I fed the baby, got to his place, set the smoker up and got the brisket in, it was 6am. He was cooking a brisket as well, CHOICE from Kroger, on his small offset smoker and he got his brisket on at 5am. We were following Aaron Franklin's youtube and PBS videos, so our target cooking temp was 250. I was trying out the A-maze-on pellet tube for the first time on this cook, and had a heck of a time keeping it lit. I must have been doing something wrong, or maybe the heavy wind that day was causing issues? I'm not sure. I messed with it for about an hour and a half before giving up and putting pellets in the tray because I was tired of the lack of smoke and having to open the smoker to mess with it. Smoker temp was holding steady and my IT was catching up to my buddies. He had his own set of issues due to the wind causing backdraft and throwing his smoker temps all over the place. He got a spare dryer hose and attached it to his smoke stack and that eliminated the backdraft issue. Around 11am, I was happy with the color of the brisket and decided to wrap in butcher paper. Meanwhile, my buddy's brisket had been wrapped since about 7am as his bark developed rapidly. After wrapping, temp was steady around 250 and I was waiting for the stall to occur. Around 12:30 or 1 it hit 175 and sat there for about an hour, then steadily began to rise. IT hit 195 by 2:30. I probe tested and it felt tender, 195 in thick part of the point and around 203 in the flat. I decided to pull it out and rest, because I was terrified of overcooking it. Wrapped it in a towel and put it in the cooler. After adding the dryer hose, my buddy was able to control his smoker temps better. His brisket hit the stall at 180 and sat there for 3 hours. We had planned on eating dinner around 6:30-7. His finally broke through the stall at around 4:30 and SSLLOOOWWLY began to rise. By 6 it had only risen to about 191. I suggested he probe it to check for tenderness and temps in the flat, etc...it was really tender, but IT in the flat were reading >180. We were really confused, but decided to pull his off and rest it for an hour. Not as long as we wanted, but it was dinner time, mine had rested for 4 hours at this point, so we figured we could cut into mine and give his more time to rest. My finished product was less tender and less juicy than I was hoping, but the flavor was really good and it wasn't dry. I have definitely had worse brisket (Dickies anyone?) Overall, my first brisket was okay, but it could have been much better. My friends brisket was much more tender and juicy. Mine cooked for 8.5 hours and rested for 4, while his took 11 hours and rested for 1, AND it was a smaller brisket. So, all that to say...my thinking is that mine just cooked too fast. Maybe 250 was too high? Should I try around 230 next time? Did the lack of smoke early on effect it by delaying the bark buildup? Anything else seem off to you guys on either brisket? I want to pick ONE thing to change for the next cook so that I can try to pinpoint what may have gone wrong. I appreciate any an all input!