Shawn, don't feel bad, everyone goofs sometime. A couple of weeks ago Trish P/U a pack of Hormel Ribs at Wally World. When I cook I don't foil and cook @225*f-or-close, and go un-looked at for 5hrs. and check them; they seemed done and I grabbed them ( they felt a little loose) took them in and tried one. Mushy,so I gave them to my Son-He,He,He.
You said you put the Ribs in before the fire and smoke was good and you messed with the fire a bit. Not good,my latest Matra is "PATIENCE".
Let the fire settle,the smoke to clear to a Bluish color. Place your meat in the 225* zone in your Smoker, close the lid and wait(patience).Working with a fresher cut of meat you should have a better product and will only have to work out the heat and time you want to use to do that.
Today, get a noter book and write down all your cooks,how you did it ,weather,temp(ambient),temp.(cooker),fuel ,time and anything else you want to keep track of to help with your cooks,recipes and hints.
Here's a hint: when you have a bit of time to spare, practice finding the hot spots in your cooker.Knowing your equipment is paramont.
Were you in the Military? They had you practise your abilities to take your Weapon apart and back together again,and again,and again...
point is, familiarity with how to control your Smoker. Just an analogy, but you get what I mean.......
Once you know your Smoker, you can begin to see an improvement in the food you cook.
The others said to calibrate your thermometers; a clearer explaination- as in Physics, water boils at 212*f at sea level Venture gave you a chart for above Sea level so you are covered. Now if you have a little 'nut 'on the back of your thermometer, you can take pliers and adjust the therm. Some don't have an adjustment and you have to calibrate the difference and note it<<< in your noter book.Some Mfg.s have a hot line that helps with the calibration of your unit if it is a probe.(or some of the Bros. on here can help you with that).
If you don't have a good thermometer, get one(for the smoker at grate level-Bass-Pro has Brinkmans for $14 to $15 bucks and they work OK.
or go to Bed Bath and Beyond and get a probe therm. in the Kitchen area.$25 or so.)
Point is... you cook by temp. , but Ribs have so little meat and the bones are so close, you can nopt get an accurate measurement of the meat's process,so hold your chamber temps in check and play with times you need your Ribs in.Sounds hard , but easy as riding a bike...
Another hint: play with a cheaper cut like Chicken,Country Style Ribs and weenies(yes, ask someone how they want thier weenie and try to give it to them that way,burndt,medium, rare with just a little grill marks on them. This is practice to control your equipment.
Have fun and let us know how you do.
Stan aka oldschool