We definitely prefer to use lump charcoal instead of briquettes. Lump charcoal alone will provide a nice smokey flavor, however briquettes, even competition smoking briquettes seem a little flat on the smoke flavor. If using briquettes we highly recommend also using smoking wood chips (ie. apple or stone fruit tree trimmings, hickory, pecan wood chips). Use your favorite sauce at the end of smoking the brisket. Here's a great write up on the principles behind a good smoked brisket.
5-6pounds(2.25-2.75kg)Brisket(you can cook a whole brisket-usually @12lbs. if you like, it will just take quite a bit longer to cook)
Optional - fruit or nut wood cuttings or chips (if using chips-soak in water for @30 minutes before using)
Rinse and dry the brisket with paper towels. If needed, trim off most of the fat cap, leaving the fat cap a just a bit more than 1/4-inch (7-8mm) thick. Generously season with salt and pepper.
Light charcoal (a chimney is our favorite method). If using a side smoker box, place the lit charcoal next to the side vent door (furthest from the grill), then stack the unlit charcoal going towards the grill (not on top of the already lit charcoal). Start with the vents open just a little bit.
Place the brisket in the smoker and close door. After about 15 minutes, check the smokers temperature. You'll want to keep the temperature between 225°F-275°F. Adjust the vents as needed (less air to cool the temperature, more to increase the heat).
While smoking occasionally adjust the vents to keep the cooking temperature between 225°F-275°F. Add more charcoal or briquettes is needed. If using briquettes *see head note, two or three times during the smoking, add a handful of wood cuttings or chips on top of the lit charcoal. (Don't do this too much or else the meat will be overly smoky. Once every hour to hour and half is usually perfect).Smoke for 8-12 hours, depending on the size of the brisket and average temperature you maintained while smoking. Remove from the smoker when the internal temperature reaches 195°F - 205°F in the thickest part.
After smoking, let the brisket rest, preferably for about half an hour. (Some will rest in a room temperature cooler or cambro to give an even more tender finish). Slice the brisket only right before serving, as it will dry out fairly quickly. Serve with your favorite sauce.