I don't know how I'd say it, but it doesn't matter since we're on the same page now.
Ribs are one thing shoulder is another.
Try thinking of ribs as kababs on bone skewers. All the kabab things like wet rubs or glazes with pomegranite molasses; yogurt / tandoori paste; the standard Med olive oil / wine / lemon / garlic / onion / herbs and so on. You can take the garlic to the max, use a spedies recipe and marinate the living heck out of them.
You can do these open pit or kettle too, just go with a slow fire.
Chinese barbecue -- marinate your ribs in chinese cooking wine or inexpensive sherry; rub lightly with salt, white pepper, granulated onion, and five space. Glaze lightly with a good brand of char-siu (red sauce) or hoisin which has been sufficiently thinned once about an hour before cooking is finished, than again about 20 minutes before you're done.
Use the ribs as seasoning to compliment the main attraction. Smoke your ribs for about an hour, and add them to braises, soups, lentils, beans, greens, etc., as you'd use a ham hock or a turkey wing to get some smoke, richness and umami. The best and most economical way is to use a turkey wing to put a lot of cheap flavor into your dish, then add a few ribs and cook them long enough to get them tender.
Shoulder's somewhat different. It's hard to get enough flavor into the meat using a rub, marinade, or even an injection to make it anything other than smoked pork shoulder. It is what it is.
I like to use smoked pork meat in ways you'd use any cooked pork shoulder. Curries, tamales, flautas (aka taquitos), taco meat, in a pita with tzatziki, etc. You get the drift. You want to watch the internal temp when you cook the shoulder. The 185-190F is better for chunk, while the 195-200F works better for shredding.
Try making Salvadorean style tamales with chunk.
Bone your shoulder (okay, the pig's shoulder; don't be so difficult), cut it into semi-manageable portions and wrap them in banana leaves before smoking. Kalua pork without all the liquid smoke is beyond addictive.
With the Mexican stuff you can do an al pastor marinade and inject it, but you're still going to get smoked pork with a subtle twist. I know you're going to try it. Don't forget the beer in that one.
I particularly like a peach / ginger / gewurz traminer injection -- and usually make sort of German-ish style sides to serve with the pork. I ran it by some "certified KCBS judges," but you can't budge them from apple or apple / white-grape juices. Then I brought it up in a BBQ chatroom and the southern boys exploded. Wine, it appears, is anathema.
You are injecting your butts and briskets, right?
We sure don't want to forget about ABTs either. You could make them "exotic" by using good cheese and starting with pickled jalapenos.