I've never done ribs with foil on the pit. Not because I think foiling is bad, but because I tend to try and simplify things in my life.
I've only smoked spares, because I like them better than BBs. My process is as follows:
- Remove membrane.
- Rub with yellow mustard and dust with rub. I do this just before I fire-up the pit. I (IMO) haven't found much benefit in rubbing the night before. My preferred rub is Magic Dust. The recipe is listed in Peace, Love and Barbecue. It rocks!
- I put the cold racks on the cold pit--rather than letting them come to room temp or waiting for the pit to hit temps first. I read a post by (I believe) Jim Minion in another forum, and (again, if my memory is correct) he recommended putting the meat on cold and taking your time letting the pit come up to temp. Apparently, this facilitates a good smoke ring.
- Then I pretty much leave it alone; except to make sure that the pit doesn't exceed 275ÂºF (although I prefer 250ÂºF).
- After about four or four and a half hours, I start peeking. When the meat starts pulling back from the end of the rib bones and/or I can pull two ribs apart with just a bit of resistance, I know that I'm finished. Usually between five and six hours of total pit time.
- I typically sauce when I pull the ribs off the pit. I may try saucing for the last thirty minutes some time, just to experiment.
I should mention that I do, typically, foil the ribs after I take them off the pit and put them in a towel-lined cooler for 30-60 minutes of rest. But I don't consider this mandatory. Taste some before; taste some after--and decide which is best.
Hope that helps. This is just one man's opinion/experience. Others' will likely differ, and theirs will be just as valid.