I feel you on this.
I have some road eating rules I have developed over the years of travel, and my worst experiences come when I violate them. Here are some of the ones concerning BBQ:
If I can't smell or see smoke coming from the place, or
If they boil their ribs, or
If I can't see the smoke ring, or
If the sauce replaces the smoke ring,
Then that place will either not be visited, or if I do visit it, will not warrant a return trip. I am not a snob, but I have the right to spend my hard-earned money on a quality product. Life is too short to waste on bad food.
Dbl Bbl Smoker, UDS, ECB, Char-Broil gas grill & charcoal grills, SJ - Certified Moink Baller