I have the 40in 2.5 MES. The only reason I turned them was because I was smoking them in a 9x13 foil pan (with a cooking grate on the bottom, of course). I probably didn't need to, but I did. I guess there are many individual ways to smoke ribs. And as you say, it's okay to experiment. I have been keeping a notebook with notes what I did, how the meat turned out, what I could try differently next time, etc
Dennis, against my better judgment I watched a rerun of "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" last night but it was a good one. Fieri was visiting a BBQ joint owned by a member of the legendary Neely family who are about as good as it gets when it comes to Southern-style BBQ. What I saw will again change how I smoke pork ribs.
I saw the cook apply a dry rub (but I won't copy the dry rub since I prefer other flavor profiles) on St. Louis-style ribs (you could tell they trimmed the spareribs themselves) and then place the ribs on ferris wheel-type racks in an oven. The racks keep rotating to evenly cook the ribs above and below. The ribs cook naked for 4 hours at 225° over hickory logs. They turned out exactly how I strive for mine to look.
So, what I learned was that my decision to reduce ribs cooking time to 4 hours was correct. I'm now going to cook everything in my smoker at 225° since I see that temp recommended a lot. Also, for ribs I'll continue to use hickory but still experiment with using an apple/pecan mix just for a different flavor. And the big decision is that I will once again no longer foil ribs. I also will continue to place the ribs directly on the MES rack and will continue not to turn them over. I don't see the need to place any meat I smoke inside a foil pan since I think that alone will cut off smoke from the meat. Again, I keep things as simple as possible and I've had great success with it. But every time I smoke I try to make it a learning experience. I never write anything down because I tend to remember the important stuff from every smoke.