With this setup, I can get about a half hour, more or less, of smoke out of the wood chunks, which makes for a nice interval to rotate the meat. For the first batch, I did not mop, because circumstances kept me from having the necessary hardware and software on hand.
I went with two hours in the smoke, one hour in foil in heat, and one hour in heat without foil. It ended up being closer to 2:30/:45/:45, because I wasn't paying close enough attention and loaded up more wood for smoking near the two hour mark, but still.
The end result was meaty, not dry, nicely flavored, but a bit dark for my tastes. A very nice bottled sauce from Costco with a name that sounds like an old blues player in a tin shack, but that I'm blanking on right now, helped brighten things up, but I still wanted lighter notes.
So, when my mom's birthday rolled around shortly after, I decided that, since ribs vac-seal and freeze and reheat really nicely, that I'd make six frozen half-racks as a present. A present I have yet to deliver, so nobody tell her before this weekend. And I changed up the rub, replacing the ancho (pre-smoked) with dried crushed jalapeno that I buzzed into a powder with the spice grinder, and the smoked paprika with unsmoked paprika.
I also arranged for a spray bottle full of apple cider vinegar, and on the half hours, after I rotated the meat, I sprayed it down. (Obligatory "PHRASING!" here.) And since I was reheating the third rack of Batch 1 for my own dinner last night while making Batch 2, I was able to do a direct taste test.
Batch 2 was closer to where I want it, definitely. I don't think any strong, sharp, bright flavors are going to survive the smoking process. I think that's why people make vinegary, spicy barbecue sauces that get put on right at the end of cooking. But the ribs certainly didn't need more smoke flavor, and the extra heat from the jalapeno was helpful when it was detectable.
What's next? I want some more heat. Either using a sauce, or some different ratios in the dry rub in the hopes of the heat surviving to the end of the cooking. Also, switching up the profiles away from Basic American Barbecue to see how much different rub flavors survive past the sugar and salt and smoke to the final product. And finally, experimentation with my own sauces - there was some success with the pulled pork in that area, at least.
Oh, and by the way, in the middle of the second batch, I threw six Roma tomato halves on the grill and smoked/roasted them for an hour along with the meat. That's going into salsa tonight.