Texas crutch is wrap in foil. Or you could put in a pan of some sort and then cover with foil. For a while I was using one of those old blue & white speckled porcelain coated roaster pans and just slapping the lid on it.
Right now I'm trying butcher paper wrap on some babies and 2 14+lber briskets. The babies went 2 hours bare. Then been in the paper for about 2.75 hours. seems that they aren't loosing the firmness that they do with foil.
On the beef ribs, I did something a little different the last time. I took them to 150*, wrapped in foil, took them out, to 185*, then started probing the meat every 5* with a meat thermometer looking for the feel of sticking the probe in a stick of butter that stays out on the counter. Which ended up being about 205*!! We like our ribs falling off the bone tender though!!! Yeah, I know all them competition cookers say you want just a bite and good teeth marks. My girlfriend and I prefer to keep our teeth till we die, not leave them on a plate o Q, so we like it tender!!!
All I use in my water pan is water. Some use apple this or a whole bunch of other stuff. You can experiment if you like, but if I was making a recommendation, I'd say get your beef ribs' smoking technique down before ya go experimenting!!!!
I've been using pecan with my beef.
But have used mesquite, just go VERY light with mesquite, it can be over powering!!!
I wouldn't think apple would be bad. We've found beef doesn't like sugar so we only use salt & pepper on ours. Apple's not overly sweet, like peach or cherry so should be alright.
And as far as moving here. Oh hell, just what we need another Caleefornee!
The big issue in Texas with Y'all is, most of youns move here and want to change shit!!! Don't do that!! If you're going to move to a place and make it like the place ya left, then just stay there!!
I'll be honest, my girlfriend took me to San Diego area twice, I wasn't impressed. Oh the view was nice, but the ocean was cold when I stuck my toes in. But just wasn't my thing. So rather than knock the place or upset the locals, I just stay here in Texas or go somewhere else I like better.