Are you looking for the best wood to use for smoking ribs? If so, you’re in luck! In this blog post, we will discuss the various types of wood that you can use to smoke ribs and provide our top picks. Keep reading to learn more.

There are many types of wood you can use for smoking ribs, and each gives the meat a slightly different flavor. Some woods are better for smoking pork than others, so it’s important to choose the right type if you want your ribs to taste their best.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the best options for smoking ribs and provide tips on how to prepare them. Stay tuned!

Types of Wood to Use for Smoking Ribs

Cherry Wood

Best suited for smoking ribs, cherry wood has a sweet, fruity flavor that goes perfectly with pork. To get the most out of your cherry wood, make sure you use chunks or chips instead of sawdust. This is because sawdust has been known to cause some meat to become bitter.


Best used for larger cuts of meat like pork shoulder and beef brisket, hickory imparts a strong flavor to the meat. It is best paired with oak in order to balance out its intense smoky taste.


Best suited for smoking smaller meats such as ribs, chops and poultry, oak gives off a slightly sweet earthy flavor when burned down. Oak chips are often used as a flavoring element in many types of meat dishes.


Best used for smoking ribs, peach wood is slightly more subtle than hickory and oak. It leaves just a slight hint of peachy flavor that goes well with the basic smoky taste of pork.


Best suited for smaller meats such as poultry and chops, you can also use pecan woods to infuse your ribs with a nutty flavor. Keep in mind that this type is very similar to walnut so you’ll need to select one or the other depending on whether you want your meat to have a sweet or savory taste.


Best suited for larger cuts like beef and prime rib, this type of wood is more often used as a flavoring element than to smoke meat. As such, it’s best paired with lighter flavored meats like poultry and fish.

You Can Mix and Match The Above Flavors:

As you can see, each type of wood comes with its own unique flavor. This means that you’re not limited to using one type for smoking ribs. Why not try different combinations to see what kind of flavors they produce?

For example, if you want your ribs to have a strong cherry taste then try pairing them with hickory or mesquite. On the other hand, if you want your meat to be infused with more subtle flavor then pair it up with oak and pecan woods.

What is a Good Ratio?

This will depend on your personal tastes, but try starting off with a 2:1 ratio of oak chips to hickory or mesquite wood.

This means that if you have 8 oz. of oak and 4 oz. of the other flavor then use them in equal amounts. From there, feel free to adjust as needed until you’ve achieved just the right balance for your taste buds!

Woods for Smoking Pork Ribs

Cherry Wood

A favorite amongst competition pitmasters, cherry wood provides just the right amount of sweetness when used for smoking ribs. The best part is that you don’t need to buy chunks or chips of different woods in order to make your ribs taste good.

A basic one time purchase will suffice (don’t worry, we’ll tell you which ones are worth it).


Oak comes with its own unique flavor profile and works well with smaller cuts like boneless pork chops and/or spareribs . You can also use oak chips to infuse your ribs with a subtle taste of oak.


While most people tend to use mesquite for smoking brisket and ribs , they can also be used if you have a hankering for burnt ends. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to soak your chips before using them since they’re very thirsty, causing the meat to dry out.

Otherwise, this is one of the best types of wood for beef ribs .

How To Prepare the Best Woods for Smoking Ribs

Once you’ve chosen your preferred type of wood, all that remains is to prepare it for smoking!

First, make sure you know exactly what type of smoker you’ll be using and whether or not it can accommodate different types of woods without affecting the flavor.

If you aren’t sure about this bit, give your local store a call; they will definitely know which woods are compatible with your choice of smoker. Once you’ve chosen the right kind of wood, follow these steps:

1) Choosing Wood Chips vs Wood Chunks

When choosing to smoke meat with chips or chunks, the difference lies in the size of the wood pieces. Wood chips are much smaller than chunks, so they burn much faster.

This is why you will need to replenish them more often throughout your smoke session. Keep in mind that when smoking ribs, you’ll probably want to use wood chunks instead of chips because they have a longer burn time and help maintain an even temperature inside your smoker.

2) Soaking Wood Chips & Chunks

If you’re using wood chips or chunks for smoking ribs, you can maximize their flavor by soaking them overnight in water before placing them in your smoker . While this step isn’t necessary if you don’t have time or forgot about until last minute, it will definitely help add some flavor to your ribs.

3) Where To Place the Wood Chips & Chunks

Finally, make sure you place your wood chips and chunks in a spot where they will affect the meat but not catch fire. For example, if you’re using a horizontal smoker, place them on either side of the heating element and away from dryer spots like that around the chimney.

An Exciting Twist: Smoking Ribs With Different Woods!

While most people use just one kind of wood when smoking ribs, it’s fun to experiment by mixing up types from time to time. Luckily, this doesn’t require much work! Simply choose two different kinds of wood chips or chunks and enjoy alternating between flavors throughout your smoke session.

Doing so is especially fun when you’re using woods that complement each other, such as hickory and pecan. Keep in mind that if your smoker can’t accommodate different types of wood at once, it’s best to consider a new model altogether!

What NOT To Do When Smoking Ribs

As with all cooking methods, there are some things that you should avoid doing no matter what. For example:

Don’t soak the ribs for more than 8 hours. Doing so will make them taste less smoky and more like steamed fish.

Don’t cook the ribs too fast/too low or leave them unattended for long periods of time . Doing either or both these things could result in meat becoming dry and tough. Instead, cook them at a constant temperature for about 3 hours.

Don’t cook the ribs crown side up, as this will keep them from absorbing much smoke and affect how they taste.

How To Serve Smoked Ribs

For best results, your ribs should be served hot with sauce on the side or smothered in warm barbecue sauce. If you’re hosting a large group of people at your house, consider making sandwiches by placing them between buns along with coleslaw!

Remember that because these ribs are already fully cooked, it’s not necessary to reheat them before serving . Just make sure to let your guests know what Best Wood To Smoke Pork Ribs flavor you used so that they can appreciate it!

How to choose the right wood for your smoker?

When smoking meat, ribs or anything else — you need to use the right wood if you want great results. Wood is broken up into two different categories “Best Woods For Smoking Meat” hardwood & softwood.

Hardwoods are deciduous trees that lose their leaves seasonally and are relatively long-lived (75–100+ years). Examples of deciduous hardwood for smoking pork ribs include hickory, maple, oak, ash, pecan, and birch among others.

Softwoods are coniferous evergreen trees that do not lose their leaves seasonally. Softwoods must be used green because once dry they don’t smoke well at all.

However, if you find some green wood lying around these can be used if you are willing to take the risk. Examples of Best Softwood For Smoking Pork Ribs include cedar, pine, redwood, and spruce among others.

Overall the best wood for smoking ribs is going to be a combination of apple, cherry, maple, oak, and mahogany which gives off a nice smoky flavor that isn’t overpowering.

There are two types of meats when it comes to pork: baby back ribs & spareribs. Baby back ribs are more tender because they contain less bone and fat compared to spareribs which have more fat and connective tissue giving them a good ratio of meat to bone.

When preparing wood for smoking pork ribs it’s important that you take the time to brine your pork in order to add flavor into the meat while also helping reduce moisture loss during cooking so you’re left with moist, tender tasty pork riblets that will leave your taste buds happy.

Brining also helps reduce the amount of time required to smoke or roast pork ribs because it helps the meat absorb more flavor from whatever type of wood you’re using which takes less time and energy for smoking ribs.

The goal with great baby back ribs is to give yourself as many flavor options as possible by brining them first to add a significant amount of flavor into the meat while also allowing you to use various different types of Best Wood For Smoking Pork Ribs.

Picking out a specific type of hardwood isn’t going to make as much of a difference when making pork ribs so feel free to experiment until you come up with something that resembles perfection!

When choosing best wood for smoking beef ribs you want to make sure you have a hardwood that will produce a good smoke. In general, the flavors of different types of hardwoods can be categorized into three main categories: mild, moderate and strong.

Mild-flavored woods include fruit trees such as apple or pear wood, while stronger-flavored woods come from nut trees such as hickory or pecan. Oak and maple belong to the middle category and work well with beef ribs because they don’t overpower the flavor so you’re left with tender juicy meat!

To get your creative juices flowing we’ve compiled a list of our favorite kinds of Best Wood For Smoking Beef Ribs for you to try out:

Maple wood is very popular among people who like smoking beef ribs. This type of wood produces a very strong, sweet and slightly smoky flavor that pairs well with the natural sweetness of beef.

Alder is also commonly used as smoking wood for beef ribs because it’s easy to find almost anywhere and tends to give off a stronger smoke than most fruit woods which makes it popular among those who like their wood for smoking beef ribs with just the right amount of smokiness.

Pecan wood is considered by many as one of the best types of hardwood you can use when smoking beef ribs because of its mild sweet flavor and subtle hints of nuttiness.

Cherry wood won’t overpower the natural flavors in beef ribs making this type one of my favorite choices when I’m smoking beef ribs because it leaves the ribs tasting sweet, tender and full of flavor.

Cherry gives off a mild smoky flavor similar to hickory but with more subtle hints of sweetness. It’s an excellent choice if you want something that’ll give your beef ribs some extra dimension without making them taste like they were sitting out in the smoke all day.

Apple wood is also commonly used as best wood for smoking beef ribs which has a great fruity flavor that adds subtle hints of sweetness to the meat while helping reduce moisture loss during cooking for moist, tender & flavorful beef riblets!

Bottom line, when choosing any type of wood for your smoker the general rule is that you need to use enough hardwood (oak, hickory) to produce the smoke flavor you want, but not so much that it overpowers your taste buds.

If you use too little wood then you won’t get enough flavor so make sure to experiment until you come up with a flavor profile that suits your tastes.

The benefits of using different types of wood for smoking ribs:

Different types of wood give off different flavors which makes it easier for you to come up with a unique flavor profile that suits your tastes.

Certain kinds of wood are better suited for certain kinds of meat. You’ll get the best results when you pair the right kind of wood to the right kind of meat because otherwise you’re not going to get the same level of flavor that you’re looking for.

If done correctly smoking ribs is an art form so being able to pick out different ingredients at your local grocery store to use will help create a truly memorable meal!

1. Aromatic woods that produce bold smoky flavor without any bitter aftertaste

2. Don’t produce any off flavors, tastes or smells like chemicals the way charcoal can

3. Achieve desired flavor no matter what type of meat you’re smoking

4. No flare-ups so there’s little to no risk of accidentally burning your ribs!

5. Burns hotter than regular charcoal which means you can cook with precise control over heat levels and won’t have to worry about undercooked or overcooked meats

6. Produce less smoke than using regular wood chunks, reducing the amount of time it takes for your meat to absorb enough smoky flavor

7. Smokers made from different types of wood are more aesthetically pleasing on your back porch

Smoking ribs with a gas smoker vs an electric smoker:

Electric smokers are very popular options for smoking ribs because they’re relatively inexpensive, easy to use and don’t require any kindling which is an added bonus. Gas smokers are similar in that they’re also very easy to use but they do cost more money upfront than electric smokers.

Electric smokers can reach higher temperatures than gas smokers (usually around 400 degrees Fahrenheit) but the cooking time is much longer (roughly 6 hours vs 3-4 depending on your smoker model).

If you have enough time to spare then definitely go with using an electric smoker since it’ll give you a great taste at a fraction of the price compared to other types of Best Wood For Smoking Pork Ribs.

Electric smokers are good for beginners. They’re almost entirely set-it-and-forget-it so they allow newbies to focus on the meat while the smoker takes care of itself.

On the other hand, if you enjoy tinkering with your tools and figuring out how to best use them then electric smokers might not be for you. Gas smokers give off great results but they can vary in quality so always inspect one yourself before buying it especially since they cost a pretty penny!

Finally offset smokers are used by BBQ veterans because their design maximizes flavor distribution throughout your ribs making them taste that much better!

You’ll need to constantly feed wood into this kind of smoker though because it doesn’t hold much fuel at once which is why many people have a separate smoker just for wood chunks.

Tips for getting the perfect smoke ring on your ribs:

Some people say that the smoke ring isn’t an indicator of flavor but rather a result of using certain types of wood. We think it’s worth trying to get though because it can make your ribs look even more appetizing!

On gas smokers the only way to properly get a smoke ring is by burning actual wood. You can do this by throwing some soaked wood chips or chunks into your smoker right before you add the meat. The type of wood doesn’t matter, whatever kind you prefer will work just fine.

Make sure that they’re completely soaked in water first though otherwise they’ll burn up really quickly and won’t give off much smoke at all. If you don’t have a smoker then try placing them into a heat proof container over open flames. Be careful not to burn yourself though!

Smoking ribs for the first time? Try these best practices:

1. Serve your ribs immediately! What’s the point of smoking ribs if you have to wait til the next day before you can eat them? Plus keeping your meat warm also decreases bacterial growth.

2. Thicker cuts are better since they’ll obviously take longer to smoke, but make sure they’re less than 3 inches thick because anything thicker will require more time and fuel (which means higher costs).

3. Use a digital probe like this one or this one to track when your ribs are done and pull them off at around 182 degrees Fahrenheit (When the thermometer reads 5-10 degrees lower than your target temp).

4. Don’t expect them to look like the ones you see on commercials. Real ribs will be slightly bendable which makes it easier for them to absorb sauce and smoke flavors.

Place your finished ribs under aluminum foil (for about 15 minutes) and then brush some kind of BBQ sauce on the top side before letting them rest for another 5 minutes or so!

5. Pork takes on smoke really well but beef, turkey, salmon etc work too since they won’t turn out as tough as slower cooking proteins like chicken thighs.

6. Side dishes definitely need to keep up with the smoky flavor too! Try some smoked baked beans or coleslaw or even smoked mac n cheese! Just don’t forget that these need longer cook times too so make sure to set your cooker accordingly.

Smoke time and temperature recommendations for smoked ribs:

To get the meat really tender and tasty you’ll need to smoke your ribs at around 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Ribs should take anywhere between 1-2 hours per pound of meat.

But if you plan on smoking for longer than that then just keep checking in every 30 minutes or so until they’re as “fall apart” as you want them to be!

Remember that these are general guidelines for smoking ribs. Each smoker differs slightly depending on how it was made, where it was manufactured etc which is why you should always refer to your user manual first before assuming anything about your specific model!


How do I know when my ribs are done?

This is the million dollar question because there’s no one definitive answer. As soon as an instant-read thermometer reads around 180 degrees Fahrenheit then your ribs should be done because that’s when they’ll start to become really tender and fall apart easily.

You should definitely try them first though because if you let it go too far, the meat may end up being a little tough… But as we said this is just a rough estimate! Just keep checking in every 30 minutes or so until you reach the perfect amount of tenderness for your specific taste buds.

How long do smoked ribs last?

In general, you can expect ribs to stay fresh for around 5-7 days if refrigerated properly. This only applies to meats that have been cooked before being frozen though so make sure not to eat any that have been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours!

How do I reheat ribs?

If you don’t plan on eating it right away then we recommend using a crock pot or slow cooker. Add the meat into your preheated appliance and let them heat up together for about 2-3 hours until they’re hot throughout. Remove any bones first unless you’re just trying to eat the meat alone.

A crock pot can also come in handy if you want to serve ribs at a party or event because all you have to do is put the already cooked meat inside, set it low temperature and let it sit there until it’s time to start serving!

Just make sure that everyone knows not to remove the lid since excessive heat loss will affect how fast your food gets cold.

What do the Experts use to Smoke Ribs?

In order to get a better idea of what types of wood the competition pitmasters use, we went ahead and did some research. In addition, we also asked them how they used their favorite types of woods for ribs so that you don’t have to bother with trial and error .

Javier Vasquez – Owner/Principal Pitmaster at Beef City BBQ:

“I am a big fan of using fruit woods whenever possible on my ribs. For me it’s all about balance when cooking ribs. I will always start off with a base rub on my meat then apply additional flavors as needed throughout the cooking process.

“I prefer to add different flavor profiles throughout the cooking process which gives me more control over what flavors I’m trying to achieve for that particular meat.

If I am cooking ribs, then I will start out by adding a fruit wood like apple to get things going and add additional flavors throughout the day as needed. By the end of the cook I may use pecan or any other hardwood to give my ribs an edge.”

For competition meats like chicken and pork , we play off different versions of sweet and savory by using base rubs on our proteins and applying additional spices halfway through the cooking process;

We even make our own chile powders for our chicken (Paprika, Ancho Chile Powder, Brown Sugar, Salt). As far as smoking goes with beef it’s traditional flavors in my book.”

Alvin Risk – Owner/Principal Chef at Risk BBQ :

“The best mixture I use is 40% cherry to 60% pecan. But when you are using fruit woods it’s very hard to quantify since they create so much smoke”

Billy McDonald – Pitmaster at Billy Bob Brown’s BBQ in Ft. Worth, TX:

“I have used every type of wood there is when cooking ribs and prefer mesquite for the majority of my smoking process. My favorite wood though has got to be cherry.

With most cooks I’ll come back later in the day with a couple different types of wood blended together then apply that mix for the last 30 minutes or hour of my cook time.

Keith Allen – Co-Owner/Pitmaster at Big A’s BBQ in Amarillo, TX:

“I prefer mesquite for my ribs. I will mostly use it earlier on in the process until around 160 F internal temperature and then switch to hickory wood later in the cook for my final hour or two of cooking”

Sean O’Meara – Owner/Operator Of Smokey D’s BBQ in Charlevoix, MI :

“Right now I use cherry wood when smoking pork ribs. For beef ribs I don’t think they are worth smoking due to dryness they create.”

Billy Durney – Owner/Operator Of Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook, Brooklyn NY :

“For baby backs I prefer using cherry wood for smoke. For beef spare ribs I use both hickory and mesquite”

Jeff Baker – Owner/Operator Area 227 BBQ in Louisville, KY:

“I like to use fruit woods instead of traditional smoking woods when cooking anything other than brisket and pork . Cherry wood is by far my favorite since it creates a sweet and mild tasting meat.”

Will Buckman – Pitmaster Of Smokey T’s in Chicago, IL :

“When cooking beef ribs I usually go with an oak base then add either apple or pecan depending on the meat being cooked (beef vs. pork), but if I’m looking for something more subtle I might add a mix of maple & oak together.”

Many well-known competition pitmasters swear by a combination of oak chips and hickory chunks. This combo gives ribs a stronger smoky taste while allowing the meat to still maintain its natural flavors. In fact, this is one of the most popular combinations that’s used in many restaurants today.

Conclusion on Best Woods for Smoking Ribs:

Now that we’ve covered some of the best woods for smoking ribs, let’s take a look at how to prepare them. First, make sure you remove the membrane from the back of the rack of ribs. This is a thin layer of tissue that can be tough and chewy if left on.

Next, season the meat with your favorite spices or marinade. You can either do this before or after you smoke the ribs, but it’s generally better to marinate them overnight so that the flavors have time to penetrate the meat.

Finally, smoke the ribs slowly over low heat until they reach an internal temperature of 185 degrees F. Allow them to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

The best woods for smoking pork ribs are apple, cherry, and hickory. Make sure to prepare your ribs properly before smoking them, and allow enough time for them to cook slowly over low heat. We hope you enjoy this delicious recipe!

In conclusion, smoking ribs is a great way to cook this delicious cut of meat. There are many types of Best Woods for Smoking Ribs, and each gives the meat a slightly different flavor.

We hope you found this information helpful! If you have any questions or would like more tips on smoking ribs, please let us know.

Read more:

How To Choose The Best Wood for Smoking Brisket?

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