When I came up with the method I was using a WSM which gives you a lot more control than the Brinkman's version. A briquette charcoal like Kingsford or DuraFlame work much better than your last choice. You are going to have to use fire size for pit temp control.
Ribs can be cooked hotter, say pit temp of 275. Hickory, pecan or fruitwoods are go choice for ribs.
Also just as a side, when you are in smoke cooking you become less senitive smoke flavor, it is a normal reaction, do others feel the same way about the smoke flavor?