I've watched enough Food Network shows and read enough books to know what the "rules" are barbecue are, more or less. The experts disagree on some points, but overall, you should:
1. Cook the meat Low and slow--the slower, the better.
2. Cook over natural chunk charcoal
3. Use some kind of wood for smoke flavor
4. Use a rub (and keep this rub a secret on pain of death)
5. Do not sauce while cooking. After cooking, sauce is optional and hotly debated.
6. Mop meat with flavorful liquid regularly to keep meat moist.
I'm following about half of the rules. I'm breaking some on purpose.
I'm cooking the meat low and slow, but since I'm using coals, and not a smoker, the heat is probably going to be higher than is ideal. There's not much I can do about this right now.
I'm not using natural chunk charcoal. I love Alton, but I gotta go against him here. The stuff is a pain in the ass to use. It burns out very quickly--we're talking minutes--it burns hot, and it flames up a lot. I might use it for grilling, sometimes, but I'll sooner get a smoker than use natural chunk charcoal to try to barbecue something.
I'm not using wood because I don't have any on hand. Well, I've got some pine, but that's not a good flavor to impart in meat, well, not in the states, anyways.
I am using a rub. But I am sharing the details. Caveat Emptor: I've not tried the rub before, so I don't know how it will be. I do suggest that you make your own rub, because it's just fun to toss stuff together.
I'm not using sauce.
I am using a mop. I'm basting the meat about every half hour with:
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
The recipes I've found online usually include beer and/or coffee, vinegar, salt, and some spices. I had no beer, so I used a bottle of red I opened the other night. I wanted to keep the mop simple.
I've got a silicone basting brush I'm using to baste the meat, but some hard-core guys use an actual cotton mop for this purpose. Not my style. I'd probably use a clean cotton dishtowel if I wanted to get a similar effect.
I'm thinking I should probably dig out my meat thermometer to get a better idea when the brisket will be done. Be back soon.