We try to hold our smokers at a temperature of 250 degrees for our briskets.
Very rarely do we go above that temperature but we have cooked at a lower temperature, around 225. I think anywhere in there you are pretty safe. We fire up our pits half an hour before putting our meat on the smoker. Once the pit is hot I place the point towards the hottest part of the grill. Most of the time that means where the heat is coming from. I smoke at that rate till about 160-170 degrees. At that point I wrap.