Let me start by thanking all y'all with your numerous posts, great hints and more info than I could gather in this forum in my research to smoke my first brisket. (I spent 45 minutes just reading on fat cap up/down alone!!) I got a smoker by request (Can you imagine that â€“ no ties!!) for Fatherâ€™s Day. Seasoned it and ran some split chicken last weekend. That was yummy! Course after that, I had to jump right to the top and try the black diamond runâ€¦. So, brisket here I come. Equip: Char Broil off-set smoker (El cheapo from Wally World- but it's mine!) Fuel: Kingsford briquets Mexican mesquite lump charcoal â€“ Live in Yuma, Az, can see Mexico from my window.... Mesquite wood chips Intended victim: 9.36 full packer from local Grocery. Slathered, rubbed and fridged the night before with a mustard/salsa and a basic rub â€¦. Looking at a 12 hour smoke. Here's my ordeal ....got up at 0530 and laid the fire box out. After reading, chatting with others and much internal debate, went with a 'minion' alternating layers of Kings, Mesquite and chips. First problem is that the fire box isn't very big on this model so ran into space problems right away. I decided to persevere regardless . Got that sucker aâ€™burning with a cut up coffee can as a chimney and let it hit the bed on the side next to the firebox damper. Let it settle for 30 minutes rising to 250 and then the meat hit the smoke at 0645 fat side up. Let it heat thru and flipped it fat side down with the point toward the fire after the first hour. First problem â€¦â€¦ had to take the daughter to meet grandma 120 miles away. Bad planning, but the fire looked good, it was creeping across the box slowly and I knew I could get back in less than 3.5 hours. (Gotta love those flat desert highways at 85.) Box seemed to have enough fuel. So I left the fire in the hands of my lovely, talented wife who has never even grilled a burger before. (A whiz in the kitchen but her idea of open flame is natural gas). Told her the best thing was to do was to do nothing at all. Called a couple of times to check on temp, it went up to 275 and had dropped to 200 by the time I got back. Reloaded the charcoal the same way quick, got temp back up to 250/260 and left it alone. Had to empty the box, clean ashes and totally re-build the fire after about 8 hours, didnâ€™t seem to lose much temp. Flipped the meat 3 times end to end. Started checking internal temps around 4:00. 140â€¦. â€¦..140 â€¦.. Okay, I read about this plateau, here I am â€¦.140â€¦140 â€¦150 in the point â€¦. 145 in the flat â€¦.150 â€¦. Wife went to buy chicken to feed the screaming teenagers at 7:30â€¦.. â€¦.. 160 in the point â€¦. 150 â€¦.. At 8:45, after 14 hours, I got 170 in the point and 155+ in the flat. Wrapped in foil and towels, stuck it in a unheated oven and let it sit for 2 hours. Separated the point and flat. Wrapped the flat back up and carved the point. Damn, that looks almost gray, and dry. Nice ring and crust but pretty bland tasting. Maybe I should have made some sauce after all. I just wasted a day and my hopes and dreams on this? My dogs chunky meaty treats taste better than this (Donâ€™t ask me how I know â€“ Mescal was involved). Threw that in the fridge, left the flat wrapped and hot in the oven and went to sleep all bummed out. Got up early this morning and something was buzzing around in my brain; something about points and cubes with barbeque sauce and re-cooking and flats sliced thin. Made some coffee and thought â€¦. Got that flat out, still nice and warm, sliced across the end, hmm nice ring, pinkish tinge to the meat and lifted a piece to my mouthâ€¦â€¦ Now thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m talking about! Great flavor, moister, tender, Fried up some eggs and potatoes, heated some Rayâ€™s sauce and had the best breakfast Iâ€™ve had in a long time. Family will get it for lunch today. I could sell this stuff!!! I re-read and see where some suggest chopping up the point and using it in sandwiches â€¦ I get it now. Final thoughts: I donâ€™t trust the thermometer that came with this unit. I was hitting between 250 and 275 the whole 14+ hours. No way was that accurate. Even with a temp drop nearer the meat, It must have been 30 degrees off. I need to get something accurate, and I need to allot more time to smoke I guess. I thought 12 hours would have adequate, but it was not close. Plus, now I see why everyone says use an internal. I choose not to baste or mop, I was concerned with blowing my heat load with the small smoker. I didnâ€™t want to crash the temps every hour or so. I was wrong in that. I need to buy a better mesquite charcoal, that Mex stuff is dirty as heck. Or maybe the chips are enough â€¦. Have to ponder that. The wrapping and setting time is crucial, I see that also now. Again, thanks for all your wisdom, I couldnâ€™t have achieved even my mixed results without lurking thru your forums and resources. I have alot to perfect, but I need a new hobby and â€¦. See ya!