Nice ribs john a. Sure looks like the smoke got through them
I'm also undecided on taking the membrane off. I always start off taking it off, but if it tears I don't worry about it very much. No meat on that side anyway. If you're buying your ribs at the counter you can ask the butcher to take it off for you.
I get it started by working a not too sharp paring knife under the membrane a few ribs up from the small end. I too use a paper towel to grab it, but usually end up twirling it around a finger and pealing it off that way.
John, what's that extra metal grate you are using?