The Best Wood For Smoking Ribs Uncovered.

Let’s Get Cooking Them There Ribs.

When deciding on which wood to use when smoking ribs, the top three choices are Hickory, Pecan and Cherry. The specific type of barbecue sauce that is used can sometimes change the flavor of the ribs. If you like a little more sweetness in your sauce then cherry or apple wood would be best for you. Use hickory if you want more smokey flavor with your ribs; pecan is great if you’re looking for something not too sweet and not too smokey.
A good blend if going for different flavors would be a mix of 25% apple, 25% cherry, 25% maple and 25% hickory. This also gives a nice balance between sweet and bitter.
To maintain a constant temperature throughout the cooking process, you can use a water smoker. A good one to look into is the ‘Smokey Mountain Cooker‘ which maintains a steady temperature of around 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Getting Started Finding The Best Wood For Ribs

When using wood chips or chunks on your grill, sink them in water for about 30 minutes before placing them onto the grill. This allows for more of the smoke flavor to be absorbed by your meats and less of it will evaporate away from your fire.
You should limit the amount of time that ribs are placed over direct heat as this can cause flare-ups that can char your ribs. You’ll want to have indirect cooking set up with a drip pan underneath the meat so that the ribs don’t get crispy and dry out too much while still being tenderized.

While the actual thickness of your ribs will determine how long it takes to cook, they should be cooked over low heat for at least four hours before checking them. Ribs have been known to take between six and eight hours when being smoked in a smoker or a grill set-up with indirect heat transfer. These grills are often referred to as ‘bullet smokers’ due to their shape. For barbecue, most people say that it’s hard to beat a good ol’ fashioned coal grill for its ability to provide something similar in cooking style and taste that you would get from more expensive gas or electric powered smokers.


When smoking ribs on your grill or smoker, make sure that your coals aren’t directly underneath the meat! This will cause the bottom of the ribs to burn and it could char the meat. You want to have something that is going to provide a steady amount of smoky flavor rather than being direct heat from your coals or gas. Do you let your ribs rest or not? Do you serve straight away?

Maintaining a constant temperature throughout the cooking process will ensure that your food turns out fantastic, with delicious looking grill marks and a nice pink smoke ring in the middle. To achieve this you’ll need a good combination of charcoal and wood chunks or chips for smoking meats.
If you want more smokey flavor with your ribs; pecan is great if you’re looking for something not too sweet and is subtle.

best wood for smoking ribs


Is one of the best choices for smoking ribs, but keep in mind that it is very strong tasting. An alternative would be Pecan, which has a similar smoky flavor but isn’t nearly as strong tasting. Another option is to mix Hickory with another wood like Cherry or Apple for a nice blend of flavors. Keep in mind that if you use an apple wood blend, this will make your sauce appear pink due to the fruit’s high sugar content. The great thing about using fruit woods when smoking your barbecue is that they add a wonderful sweetness to meats and vegetables without overpowering them!

Buy Hickory BBQ Smoking Chips

These smoking chips that work well with any charcoal, gas, or electric grill added a great taste to our ribs.


Cherry wood gives the meat a sweet and subtle fruity flavor that isn’t too overpowering, making it perfect for anyone looking for a lighter flavored smokey taste. There are several types available such as Black Cherry, Red Cherry and Wild Cherry. This type of wood is great for grilling seafood, poultry and beef. The subtle fruity taste works well with poultry and seafood, while the strong flavor is perfect for stronger tasting meats such as beef. Warning: Almost all fruit woods will cause your barbeque sauce to have a pink color because of its high sugar content! We really liked the flavor from Oklahoma Joe’s Cherry Wood Smoker Chips,  we bought the 2-Pound Bag.


Oklahoma Joe’s Cherry Wood Smoker Chips

For use with smokers and electric, gas or charcoal grills. these all natural chips are ideal for smoking fish, poultry and pork.



Is also one of the best woods for smoking ribs, but is more mild in taste. You can find this type of wood at most home improvement stores. Pecan has a warmer flavor than Hickory which allows it to blend nicely with spicier rubs and sauces. Try mixing Pecan with some Hickory or Cherry to get an even better smoked flavor when cooking barbecued ribs! These are great for pecan smoked ribs and meat. Delicious with Beef Sirloin or Filets, Salmon or Trout, Braised Brisket, or Pork Loin.

Click To Buy Pecan BBQ Smoking Chips


So Which Are The Best Wood Chips For Ribs?

There’s no defined answer as to the best wood chips for ribs, it depends on your own preference. For me, I like hickory and I often add pecan to the mix too. My best advice is to experiment and you’ll soon discover which works best for your taste buds.

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