For starters I'm grateful for the folks on the forum. Y'all gave me some great thoughts and pointers last week going into this project to help me think about how to do some experimentation with my ribs on Saturday.
Here are my findings (as if it's all scientific-like).
With this cook I wanted to try to establish a few things. First of all, I've used Smithfield baby back ribs before and found them to taste really salty. I'm guessing it's however they're processed or whatever they package them in. So I wanted to do some fresh from the butcher at Costco and some which were pre-packaged to see if I had a preference.
The other objective was to use foil on some ribs and not wrap the others. So in one afternoon I wound up with four types of ribs.
1. Smithfield foiled
2. Smithfield unfoiled
3. Unprocessed foiled
4. Unprocessed unfoiled.
In an effort to establish as much control across all 4 ribs I rubbed with my own version of Steven Raichlen's "Basic Barbecue Rub" from How to Grill.
Given the adjustable rig was going to put some ribs closer to the fire--and at greater risk for drying out--those lower-level guys were automatically dubbed foil-bound ribs. I wanted to maximize the smoke flavor, so I kept the dome temperature right around 200f.
Every hour I was coating the ribs with a 50/50 combo of apple juice and apple vinegar.
Two hours in I wrapped a rack of Costco ribs and half of the Smithfield rack in foil. Into the foil wrappers I poured in a nice little brew. Foil ribs went downstairs. Naked ribs went upstairs.
After an hour in the foil I put them back on the grill and gave all ribs some sauce and let everything cook another half hour.
The Smithfield ribs were really salty-tasting like I had experienced in the past. Consensus was that the unprocessed ribs were the best. Whether foil was better or not is hard to say. I look forward to trying again. Ribs and an adjustable rig are a great thing, b/c you can experiment so easily with a couple of things at the same time. Here's a couple of shots to help you see the difference.