I smoked my second brisket yesterday and the results were great. I kept everything exactly the same as my first brisket 10 days ago, except for one thing. (See "Taking the Brisket Plunge thread for full details).
The one thing I changed was the temperature to check the brisket. Last time I didn't remove or check the brisket until 195F. This time, I checked at 187 and the meat probe went in like butter at various points, flat and point included.
Something weird did happen though. I put the brisket on at 225F at 6pm last night with 7 ounces wood (4 hickory, 3 mesquite). I went out for the evening and at midnight (6 hours into the cook), the E733 Maverick meat probe (inserted in the thickest part of the flat)read 181F. I knew that couldn't be correct, so I left it and went to bed. This morning at 7:10am, the temperature was 178F (indicating the plateau was finishing). I had to leave for work at 8:30am, and this was for a pot luck, so I jacked the heat to 300F and removed at 8:30. The reading on the probe increased to 187F.
Total smoking time was 14.5 hours for a 13.5 pound full packer brisket.
I never opened the door once during the cook.
The meat was tender, juicy, sliceable, and had a beautiful bark and smoke flavour throughout.
I FTC'd for 3.5 hours, sliced, and got rave reviews, with people asking to take some home, which I obliged.
I don't think I'd change anything. It only took me til my second brisket to get the result I wanted. Perhaps I'll check at 185F, but don't think 2 degrees would make much difference. Surprised it was so tender, as many have said you need to take it to at least 190F, but it's done when it's done!
I now have a 15 pounder smoking right now, as I am flying home to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for Christmas and am taking it home in my suitcase! I think I will only smoke that to 180F and then finish in the oven in foil upon serving.