I no longer use a meat probe in ribs. I use the bend test. Probe temps in pork ribs give a false since of when there done. Always use great temp probe. I don't wrap until they are done to rest them.
My st louis cut take about 7 hrs at 225°.
A water pan helps even out your smoker temps and assists in not drying out the meat. Look at the pic I posted of the porkbutt on the fist page of this thread. the pan also means a lot less crap I have to clean off from the inside of my offset. Doesn't matter it it's a brisket, butt, or rack of spares, I always use a water pan when running my SQ36. RAY
Dump the water pan (for now).
You have a top of the line offset.
New Horizon is my next purchase (may be 10 years down the road) after my research on stick and offset burners.
With their diffusion plate you don't need a water pan. The heat is distributed well across the cook chamber.
A stick burner adds water vapor. Burning fuel produces water and carbon dioxide.
Maybe after learning your smoker, a water pan can get added down the road.