I am in the same boat as you. I learned that what I did wasn’t Southern regional BBQ as my wife was from Memphis. So what? I was doing and thought the same way. I have learned the difference between BBQ and grilling since then.
California BBQ is different. It is reflected in ‘Two For The Road’, where starting on page 114 is a full description of Santa Maria BBQ. This may be a abomination to some as it isn’t cooked forever and is usually served medium-rare.
The smoked for hours procedure is regional and does not reflect how it is done in many cultures. There seems to be a belief that what is done in a very provincial region of America is the only way to do things. I am interested in how the World cooks over an open flame.
Now after having said all this, I do believe that smoking low and slow is the best way. I may still be a cretin as I like my ribs wet with a caramelized glaze produced by the heat.