I did ribs for my second smoke ever, on July 1. After reviewing the forums I opted to go simple my first time out and just put a rub on (from a local specialty spice store), and just put them on the racks. Overall I'd say I had them in at about 235 +/- 3 degrees average temp for almost 7 hours. Sure it was a long time, but zero effort. I did put a sauce (BBQ) on them in the last hour, and it caramelized nicely. Only 1 person added sauce at the table. I used apple wood with a touch of hickory, and only ran smoke for 4 hours out of 7.
They stayed on the bone when you picked them up but fell apart the second they were in your mouth. I think I liked that better than the 'with tug' or 'fall of the bone'. Its right in between. I will stick with this next time for sure. Guests raved and raved.
If you are unsure of a rub to use and have to make something up quickly, you could even go with something as simple as some paprika, chili powder and pepper.(watch the pepper if your chili powder if is a hot variety) You are right that lots of commercial rubs are salty. Of course, there is Jeff's recipe you can get and it is lower salt, if you don't mind some salt in it.
For a glaze, your favorite BBQ sauce works super and its what most guests expect. Or you can get fancy and use a maple glaze (lots of internet recipes there), even maple syrup with a little mustard in is nice.
Oh, and if you have the option, Costco ribs are fantastic and they remove the membrane for you. One less step.
Good luck, and I'd love to hear what you did and how it works out.
Edited by Cael - 6/27/16 at 5:28am