What if everything is done by the book, yet the result is still a tough exterior much like beef jerky? Perhaps that is simply called proper barbecue. I believe when barbecue affictionados talk about "tender" they strictly refer to the inner portion of the meat. No smoking method in the world can actually produce a tender exterior, like what you can get with braising in a slow cooker, alder foil pouch, or oven.
I've smoked chicken, salmon, and beef ribs to doneness using 210 degrees gas smoker. Without exception, every piece of meat developed a tough exterior that was impossible to chew. Unfortunately all the smoke flavor was contained in that tough exterior and had to be discarded. Smoke penetration into the edible portions of meat was zero to none; smoke flavor was zero to none. No it was not due to "sugar"--I did not use any.
When bbq masters talk about smoking ribs completely dry for 24 hours, they are somewhat deceiving because although it can be done, only the most gullible would believe that it would actually result in anything digestible by normal human teeth. There is an amount of deliberate misinformation put out; this is to guard their "secrets" and keep competition at bay.
With that said, affictionados actually like to eat tough pieces of meat. They call them "burnt ends". And they despise genuinely tender ribs cooked with, for example, a slow cooker. What I call tender, they call "mushy".
They like to see grill marks on steak, while I don't believe in letting the juices drip down through a grill but prefer a skillet. These are polar opposite mentalities.
In smoking, foil wrapping methods and procedures are merely varying levels of compromise between smoke flavor, tenderness, and outer drying. There will always be a tough exterior, just how tough is the question.
I've finally grasped the concept that smoking produces tough meat on the outside, and that is how these people like their meat. I cannot understand how they can accept such a tough exterior, which is why I originally thought it to be a "problem" when it is actually normal.