7 Best wood for smoking ribs – Full guide and tips

Best wood for smoking ribs

Wood-smoked ribs have become a popular American delicacy in recent years. You’d be hard-pressed to find anything more delicious and flavor-packed than properly smoked ribs. If you’re grilling, choose the right wood type to get the best results! So today we bring to you the Best Wood For Smoking Ribs with Full Guide And Tips.

According to the fact, This can be disastrous as the wrong wood types can potentially ruin your ribs. In this article, we’ll explain what to look for in the best woods for smoking ribs, as well as what to avoid.

Cooking ribs to smokers is the best way to make them affectionate and smoker every time. From Mesquite to Cherry, Pecan, Oak, Apple, here is the best wood to use for your BBQ rib

There are few better cuts of meat for outdoor cooking than smoked ribs. The combination of their fall-off-the-bone texture and incredible taste represents everything made great about outdoor barbecue cooking.

Best wood for smoking ribs
Best wood for smoking ribs

What’s the Best Wood for Smoking Ribs?

Hickory: exhibits a strong, bacon-like aroma that makes it perfect for smoking pork cuts

Oak: a gorgeous and delicate smoke flavor with an earthy, earthy aroma.

Mesquite: BBQ experts worldwide love the strong, spicy notes this wood possesses.

Apple: Fruitwood produces the best barbecue smoke with its sweet and mild notes.

Pecan: An excellent pairing with hickory, with its mild and nutty flavor.

Cherry: Adding a colory deep red to ribs is easy with this marinade

Maple: Adding a subtle smokey finish to your dishes.

Why that woods work best for smoking ribs

There are some types of wood that are objectively better suited for smoking ribs, so I like to “rank” them based on their flavor. The flavor is subjective by nature, but there are some types of wood that I find are more suitable for smoking ribs. It doesn’t matter which wood you select in each tier, they all work equally well and provide different flavors to smoke ribs. You may just prefer one flavor over another according to your personal taste.


It’s a great choice for ribs or any bold-flavored meat for that matter. Hickory is most commonly found in southern and midwestern states. Flavor wise, it has both sweet and savory notes – the flavor is sometimes compared to bacon.

Hickory is not just a good choice when it comes to ribs, but you should consider that the smoke in it is quite strong. When you smoke, make sure not to use too much wood, or you’ll end up with bitter ribs. You’ll eventually figure out just how much hickory you need to use for your ribs.

Additionally, hickory happens to be a great wood to blend with other types of wood, so it’s a good option to have on hand. It’s quite popular to mix cherry wood with applewood, for example.


Mesquite is one of the strongest types of wood for smoking that gives off an earthy flavor. If used incorrectly, it will result in harsh, bitter flavors, but if used properly, it will produce an irresistible smoky flavor.

When working with mesquite, remember that a little bit goes a long way. If you are just getting started out, start with a little bit of wood on your first attempt to find the perfect balance.

A mesquite fire will produce a strong, smoky flavor, one that can be offset by blending with lighter wood. Mesquite is oily and burns extremely hot, making it a great choice for blending with lighter wood.


According to the findings of the study, pecans are members of the hickory family so they have many similarities with Hickory. Although it’s a strong wood, pecans fall comfortably between hickory and fruitwoods in terms of flavor strength.

To reiterate, too much pecan wood can definitely result in bitter results. It’s a cloud of smoke with a strong taste, which is why it makes for one of the best woods for smoking ribs. Nevertheless, you should be careful not to overdo it.


I prefer applewood over oak, which has a milder flavor profile that actually works well with ribs. Some find apple smoke to be too harsh, but I find it to stand up easily to the other flavors in your ribs and creates a unique and complex flavor profile.

It is important to take note that Apple is a slow-burner, so it takes some time for the smoke to penetrate your ribs. Plan on smoking for at least two hours to properly incorporate apple into your dinner!

Also, a perfect choice for poultry, beef, pork (especially ham), game birds, lamb, and seafood, applewood is a highly versatile wood that can be blended with hickory to create a great meal.


Cherry is another great wood for smoking ribs and is similar to apple in that its flavor is sweet and mild. Personally, I think cherry is very good when used by itself; however, you can achieve really great flavors by blending it with hickory, oak, or pecan.

It is very cool that cherry will give your ribs like a restaurant, luscious mahogany color when smoked with a good variety of wood so you’ll look like a pro in front of your family and friends.


Oak is as strong and powerful as cherry or applewood, but a bit lighter than hickory or mesquite wood. Oak is a great wood to have on hand in addition to being one of the top choices for smoking ribs.

The wood also lends itself well to blending, so if you enjoy the flavors of a lighter fruitwood, this could be an excellent alternative to not completely overpower that flavor.

Blend well or accompany other wines.


This fruitwood has a very light flavor and is excellent with pork. It’s a good blending ingredient if you want to experiment with different types of flavors and change your results subtly.

Smokers typically find peachwood in certain regions of the country more than in others, so don’t be shy to get a bag and try out the taste.


Pear is similar to a peach in a number of ways. It also has similar flavor characteristics and works well with meats that are similar to that of a peach. If you want to try something new when you’re blending, experiment with pear.


Because maple smoke flavor is light and sweet, it’s not a popular choice for smoking ribs. Fortunately, the maple smoke flavor isn’t overpowering at all, and it pairs well with any sweet BBQ sauce.

Use these at your own risk.

Here are some other woods that you could use for smoking ribs, but we don’t recommend them since the other woods we just listed are superior:

  • Grapevine
  • Mulberry
  • Olive
  • Western Red Cedar (Untreated with chemicals)

These are the woods you should never use under any circumstance because they will ruin your food or cause harmful toxins to enter your ribs or both.

  • Cedar
  • Cypress
  • Elm
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fir
  • Pine
  • Redwood
  • Sycamore

What are your preferences for chips, chunks, or pellets?

Choosing the right type of smoke depends largely on the type of cigarette you use.

When using an offset smoker, you probably want chunks to do the job, whereas an electric smoker is best suited for chips, while a pellet grill is best suited to smoking ribs.

Also, you can use chips and chunks in conjunction with charcoal if you have a kamado grill or a charcoal smoker!

Smoking Ribs With Best Wood – Review

We hope this guide helped you on your way to delicious ribs. Mastering the use of wood-fired smoke in ribs is one of the best skills you can learn as a grill master.  

This will result in unbelievably tasty results. Be sure to let us know which ones you try! Don’t forget to check out our best Traeger Tri Tip Reverse Sear Style Recipe.

If someone thinks one kind of wood is better for smoking ribs than another, that does not mean your taste buds will agree. Mix and match flavors and blends to find a flavor you really like. 

Everyone is unique, so you might have to experiment several times to figure out which kind of wood goes best with your ribs.

Don’t forget to read this:

Best Grilling with wood chips instead of charcoal

How to use a stainless steel smoker box


I am a barbeque specialist who can spend a lot of time, love, and passion on the grill. A barbecue expert is someone who is not only creating a great tasty steak on BBQ, but is skillful of using any pit or grills to do so, and able to offer appropriate advice on Barbecuing.

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