To keep the brisket from cooking too quickly we need to make a heat shield out of foil. Once the fire is ready and the pan is in place add the brisket fat-side down on the upper grill over the pan side placed on top of a one-ply sheet of foil. Fold up the foil on the fire side to create a heat shield. Add a few hickory chunks to the fire side and close the lid.
Allow to cook for 2-3 hours but pay close attention at about the one hour mark. A fire can either go out or flare up if unwatched and that can lead to a meatamorphasis, where you can turn your beautiful meat into a plywood disaster. Use the top grill vent to regulate the heat accordingly and keep the bottom vents wide open. A column of smoke slowly exiting the top vent is a good indicator of the proper fire. Sometimes coals need to be added. This is an unpredictable cooking method folks, that’s why a BBQ anything needs to be monitored. You need a day when you have nothing else to do but hang around the deck, occasionally watch and wait. And pour another cocktail.
Turn the meat so the portion that was away from the fire now is closest to the fire. Use an instant read thermometer to check the meat temp after a total of 4-5 hours of cooking. Anywhere between 160-170 is good enough.
It will take another 3-5 hours to complete this smoky beef-a-rama. Watch the grill, add coals and wood if necessary every hour or so while you have a drink, mow the lawn, wash the car, launch some bottle rockets, whatever.