Top 3 Best Woods For Smoking Ribs

The American specialty of wood-smoked ribs is considered to be one of the best in the world. As far as taste and flavor go, it would be tough to find anything as delicious and flavorful as properly smoked ribs.

It’s important to make sure you choose the right type of wood when you are the one on grilling duty to get the best results!

Top 3 Best Woods For Smoking Ribs

BBQ ribs are one of the best cuts of meat you can cook outdoors. A combination of its incredible taste and the texture that falls off the bone is the epitome of the benefits of outdoor BBQ cooking.

Smoking ribs has become a passion for some people and there are so many different things you need to consider for your ribs.

The wrong type of wood can ruin your ribs and make them irreparable. The goal of this guide is to give you a complete overview of which woods to use when smoking ribs, and which to avoid.

What Are The Different Types Of Woods For Smoking Ribs?


The wood pellet is the main source of heat and smoke in pellet grills. The majority of pellets are 100% hardwood that has been dried and ground into sawdust, then compressed into the shape of the pellets.

It is a necessity that you have a pellet grill to use them or of course you can get a new one yourself, but that could get expensive.


Wood chips are usually thin, small pieces of wood that are used in just about any type of grill or smoker to add flavor to your ribs.

Because of their size, they can be used in just about any type of grill or smoker. The best way to smoke ribs is with wood chips because the rib meat can only absorb so much smoke.

It’s ideal for all-level cooks since it’s simple to use, so you can get the best results without having to learn too much. Another benefit of using chips is that they are available in a variety of flavors that are perfect for smoking your ribs.


Last but not least, chunks are an excellent choice for smoke-grilled meats, including those tender ribs you desire. Generally speaking, chunks of wood that are three to four inches in diameter burn longer than wood chips, and can be both a source of heat and fuel for charcoal.

If you decide to buy chunks, keep in mind that they may be more expensive than chips, and you won’t notice much of a difference.

The Best Wood For Smoking Ribs

It is integral to any person who is attempting to smoke their ribs that they find the best wood available. As a result, many different types of wood can impart different flavors to the ribs and this can be in a positive or negative way.

We should start with the ones you’re going to use for those tender ribs.


It is no surprise that hickory is an excellent choice when it comes to cooking ribs, or any other type of meat for that matter.

Hickory is primarily found in the southern and Midwestern states. In terms of flavor, it adds a savory and sweet flavor to your smoked ribs, which is just what you want to achieve.

This wood produces a fair amount of smoke, so you should keep that in mind, this is why it is recommended for outdoor cooking.

That’s good news when it comes to ribs, but avoid over-smoking, otherwise, you may end up with bitter ribs if you use too much wood.

Best Time And Temperature To Smoke Ribs

How much you use is determined by how smoked you want your ribs to be and what kind of flavor you want. Your ribs will get better and better as you figure out the right amount of hickory to use.

A good wood to have on hand is hickory, since it can also be combined with other types of wood so be sure to stock up!


This wood provides you with strong, spicy notes, which makes it one of the most popular woods for barbeque enthusiasts everywhere. In the event that it’s misused, you will definitely end up with harsh and bitter results.

However, using the smoky flavor of your ribs properly can make sure that you achieve perfection. It is recommended that beginners should start slowly and add more wood until the perfect balance is found.

Smoky flavors come from mesquite’s oily nature and its high rate of firing, which both contribute to its strong smoky flavor. Additionally, it lends itself well to blending with a light wood to temper the harsh flavor.


The fact that pecans are actually members of the hickory family is great, this means they share a lot of the traits of hickory.

Despite it being a strong wood, one of the nice things about pecan is that it occupies a nice middle ground between hickory and fruit woods when it comes to flavor intensity.

This means that it will provide you with the right balance of flavor and strength. As with hickory, if you use too much of this wood, it will result in a bitter result that nobody wants for their ribs.

Therefore, you will need to practice with all these strong woods and determine the right amount for you.

The Worst Wood For Smoking Ribs

It is recommended that you avoid using the following types of wood for smoking ribs due to the fact that either the chemicals that they give off are unfit for human consumption, or they just provide you with an unpleasant smell or taste.

It can not be emphasized more strongly enough that you are going to need the woods previously mentioned to smoke with ribs. If not, you won’t be able to cook the tender ribs that everyone enjoys at a barbeque.

  • Grapevine
  • Mulberry
  • Olive
  • Western Red Cedar
  • Cedar
  • Cypress
  • Elm
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fir
  • Pine
  • Redwood
  • Sycamore

What Is The Best Time And Temperature To Smoke Ribs?

It is possible to smoke ribs in a variety of ways, but they all have a few things in common. Smoking the ribs slowly at a temperature of 250 Fahrenheit is an excellent way to make them tender.

As a general guideline for cooking ribs, it is recommended that the internal temperature of the ribs is 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Best Time And Temperature To Smoke Ribs

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Hickory Or Mesquite Produce Better Ribs?

For smoking ribs, these are by far the best woods to use. Barbeques in the south typically use hickory wood for its heartier flavor and stronger, more prominent flavor.

The smokey flavor of mesquite, on the other hand, is perfect for adding flavor to ribs due to its bold, earthy aroma. Some may find that the flavors of the ribs are overpowered by the presence of mesquite, since the flavor can be quite intense.

It is up to you to decide whether hickory or mesquite is better for ribs. When using mesquite, you can over-smoke your meat easily because it burns faster than hickory.

Mesquite may be a better option if you like a strong taste in your ribs. Hickory wood may be suitable if you like your ribs to taste hearty and nutty.

What Is The Optimum Number Of Wood Chunks To Smoke Ribs?

You will require different amounts of chunks depending on what kind of smoker you are using to smoke your ribs. Wood may be the main source of heat for some smokers, while others do not.

When you smoke your food, two to four chunks of wood will likely be sufficient if your smoker does not rely exclusively on wood.

Obviously, you must add around 10 to 12 ounces to your smoker when using another type of wood, such as wood chunks.

If you are going to use chunks of wood, you must also consider their size when determining how much wood you will require.

It will be necessary to use larger pieces of wood for prolonged burning, as they will last longer. Similarly, if you are cooking for multiple people over a long period of time, the wood chunks may need to be replenished as they burn.

Can You Use Too Much Wood When Smoking Meat?

There is a very common mistake that many people make when cooking on their smoker, which is adding too much wood.

As a result, when the vents are closed, the problem is made worse because more heat is retained inside the smoker. If this happens, your smoked ribs will taste terrible and will be wasted, so you’ll have to start over.


We have provided you with the ultimate guide in order for you to produce tasty smoked ribs as well as explain the best woods and the ones to avoid during the cooking process.

You can experiment with different flavors and blends and don’t be afraid to mix things up when you practice.

Depending on your taste, you might want to try different kinds of wood with your ribs to see which one you enjoy the most.