best wood for smoking ribs

The Best Wood for Smoking Ribs

Hardwood trees make the best timber for smoking as they grow slowly and thus grow thick. The right choice of wood, in this case, is elementary because if you choose the wrong one, it would not only fail to imbibe the woody, smoked flavor in your meat. It may also produce dense pollution smog, which would blur your vision and cause immense discomfort. The best wood for smoking ribs come from the deciduous trees that shed leaves every year. It is also very important for the timber to be properly dried. So any moisture in the wood can lead to the production of too much fume again, plus it also burns down really quickly. 

Does The Flavor of Smoke Affect the Taste of the Ribs? 

When we bbq ribs, the meat is exposed to the fume by burning. This has a particular flavor and lets the meat imbibe the natural smell and taste of the timber. Using only coal will emit very little smoke as it is mainly composed of carbon. Adding wood to the smoker will cause smoke to generate, which in turn will make your ribs flavourful. 

There are several types of trees, and each of those trees yields a distinct type of wood. These woods give out individual flavors. If you are wondering which wood to use for ribs smoking, read on to find out all about the best options to choose from.

The Best Types of Woods to Choose From

 Four varieties that are most common for smoking BBQ are:

  • Logs: Logs are among the most commonly used wood for smoking ribs. They produce both heat and fume enough to give your ribs the flavor needed. They are capable of burning for at least 40 mins in a firebox that is well-insulated. 
  • Chips: Many people use wood chips for smoking ribs because they burn faster and generate a lot of heat. Chips are generally used along with charcoal.
  • Chunks: Chunks are used on a bed of charcoal that burns while the chunks give out fume. They work best with smaller smokers like ceramic cookers. 
  • Pellets: Pellets are made of hardwood sawdust that is compressed. They come in many different kinds. So make sure you are aware of the properties and use when you buy a bag full of a particular kind of pellet.     

Best Wood for Smoking Ribs


It is considered the best wood for smoking pork ribs as it adds a strong flavor to your BBQ meat. However, too much of it can turn your ribs bitter. 


It is best for lamb or beef. The flavor is strong but never overpowering. 


Being naturally oily, it burns easily and emits a distinct flavor. However, it is not the best for long BBQs. 


Good for poultry and fish. However, it sometimes gives out a foul odor on burning. 


It is the best wood for ribs if you are looking for a subtle and sweet flavor in your BBQ. 


Using cherry wood chips for smoking ribs will give your meat gentle mahogany like hue along with a mild flavor. 


Using pecan with a combination with other types gives the best results, else it may end up making your meat pungent. 


A maple is a great option if you want a soft woody flavor in your pork or beef ribs. 

Wood You Should Avoid for Smoking Ribs

Besides knowing about the best wood to smoke ribs, knowing what to avoid makes one master the art of smoking ribs. Some timber can hamper the taste of meat. Avoid the following ones if you wish not to ruin your dinner night:

  • Elm
  • Fir
  • Redwood
  • Pine
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus 
  • Sycamore
  • Porson Oak

Tips For Using Wood for Smoking Ribs

  • The bark of the chunks must be removed before using it. 
  • Use little at a time. It ensures that the flavor comes out gradually and does not overpower.
  • Minimize fume for the best results. 
  • Replace the timber once it has burnt out. 

Timber Meat Compatibility

Types of MeatTypes of Timber Suitable for Smoking
BrisketOak, mesquite, and hickory
TurkeyApple and oak
Chicken Anything except mesquite and hickory
Fish Pecan, maple, and alder 
Pork Hickory and mesquite

Our Closing Statement 

Either you choose an open-air venue or the best smoker under 500, selecting the right kind of timber is crucial. It does more than just generate heat to cook your meat. Your selection of the type will determine the taste, smell, and the entire look of it.  We are sure by the end of this article, you need no more convincing of the fact. So next time when you plan for a party and go through smoked ribs recipes, pick the correct wood. 

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