Before you begin work on any other step, you can begin by trimming your meat.
This simply means tidying it up by cutting off small bits of meat, fat, and silver skin to give it a more uniform appearance.
Uniformity helps the meat cook more evenly.
Additionally, try to cut the fat cap to around half an inch in thickness, as this will provide optimum moisture and flavor while preventing it from not rendering fully during cooking.
To help enhance the flavors of your meat, marinate your whole brisket in the fridge overnight and up to a whole day.
To create a marinade, simply mix together the beer, the onion and garlic (both peeled and diced), 1/4 cup of chili powder, the brown sugar, the bay leaves, the vinegar, and 2 tablespoons worth of salt in a large container.
Place your meat into the container, turning it over to ensure the marinade can coat the entire surface, covering with a lid or plastic wrap and placing it in the fridge.
If there is not enough marinade to fully cover your meat, remember to turn it every few hours during its soak.
Once marinaded, remove the brisket from the container and place it on a wire rack, letting the excess drain off and patting the surface dry with paper towels (reserve any remaining marinade for later).
When this is done, score the surface of the fat in a diamond pattern with a sharp knife, being careful to only cut through the fact and not the meat itself.
Mix together your remaining spices and apply them generously to the meat, rubbing into the cuts you made earlier.
When completely covered, wrap the beef tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for at least two hours and up to two days.
The longer you let it sit, the more the flavors will develop.
Half an hour before you're ready to cook, take your beef out of the fridge and let it sit out to warm up to around 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, soak any wood chips you intend to use in hot water at this point, too.
As it does, go outside and prepare your smoker by loading it halfway with charcoal and setting it alight, closing the lid to let the coals burn down.
While the smoker comes up to temperature, transfer any reserved marinade into a saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, then set aside to cool.
Once the smoker has had a chance to get hot, add on more charcoal, your wood, and fill the water tank before closing the lid again to let the smoke build up.
With your smoker ready, you can finally begin cooking.
Place your brisket into a large aluminum baking pan to catch the fat and juices as it cooks, setting the pan on top of the smoker grate and closing the lid.
Over the next several hours, monitor the levels of charcoal, wood, and water in the smoker, refilling as needed and adjusting airflow to keep the temperature consistent.
Every half hour or so, brush the meat down with some of your marinade to help add extra flavor and keep the outside of the brisket moist.
By weight, the meat described in the supplies above would take around 3 to 4 hours to finish cooking completely.
To be sure, beginning checking the temperature with a thermometer around two and a half hours in.
Additionally, try sticking a fork into the meat and twisting it; if it moves easily and without much resistance, you're good to go.
After you take the brisket off the heat, wrap the top in aluminum foil and let it rest for half an hour or for the same amount of time it was cooked (you can also store it inside a cleaned cooler to help retain warmth).
This allows the meat ample time to finish cooking and helps it tenderize as the proteins relax.
With your meat cooled, you'll finally be able to serve up your smoked brisket.
If you like, you can use some of the remaining marinade and the collected juices from the resting meat in making a sauce or gravy by simply reducing them in a pan and seasoning as needed.
Otherwise, carve it up and eat it as is next to some classic barbecue sides.