Well I ended up going with the General Grappler HTS (245/65/17)
... they compare with the high-end Michelin's, have a lower price, rated best tire by consumer Reports and Tire Rack surveys. I got a my local guy to do them for $309 - mounted and balanced for a pair.
Hydroplaning resistance and wet/dry traction was most important for me... 5.7l + 2wd = you better have traction (especially in rain). Hopefully no more hydroplaning on the highway going 80, lol. That's no fun.
I'll let you guys know how they are.