Best wood for smoking ribs

The best wood for smoking ribs is a hotly debated topic. The question of what the best wood for smoking ribs is all comes down to personal preference. Different types of wood have different characteristics which can affect the flavor profile of your food. If you’re looking for some good advice on finding the right type of wood for smoking ribs, then keep reading!


Hickory is famous for its smokey, strong flavor. It’s a popular wood used in smoking over many different types of meat, such as pork and beef ribs (of course), but also chicken, turkey and fish. Even vegetables can be smoked with hickory!

While some other types of wood are better suited to certain meats or dishes—for example mesquite would be good for smoking brisket but not so good for salmon—hickory has a wide variety of uses that make it an all-around great choice if you’re looking for something new.


Maple is a great wood for smoking ribs, but it’s not the easiest to find. You may have to visit your local lumberyard or specialty store to get your hands on some maple wood chips.

This hardwood burns slow and steady, so you can control the temperature of your smoker better than with other types of woods. It also gives off sweet notes that make your meat taste amazing!

Maple is best used with pork ribs because they need more time in the smoker than beef or chicken.


Oak is the most common smoking wood, and it’s also one of the best. Oak is strong and bold, with a flavor that works well with beef, pork and poultry. It also adds an intense smoky flavor that some people love.

You can use oak in any type of smoker—charcoal or electric—and it’s easy to get started with this wood because there are many different types available at your local home improvement store or grocery store.


Mesquite is a great wood to use on its own, or it can be combined with other hardwoods to create unique flavors. Mesquite has a strong flavor that’s often described as smoky sweet. It’s perfect for beef brisket and pork shoulder, as well as most other meat cuts like ribs, but it can also be used for veggies like potatoes and corn on the cob when you don’t want to overpower their natural flavors.

Mesquite is dense and hardwood, so it burns slowly, producing very little ash compared to other woods. It creates a heavy smoke that clings to your food rather than floating up into the air around it—you may not even need an enclosed smoker if you use mesquite!


Cherry is one of the best woods for smoking ribs, brisket and chicken. It’s also good for smoking fish.


Applewood is a mild smoking wood, which makes it ideal for any meat that you want to flavor without overdoing it. Applewood is especially popular with pork, but if you’re looking for something different than the usual hickory and oak smokes, give applewood a try!

Pork ribs are one of my favorite foods and they work perfectly with applewood. The subtle smoke flavor really boosts the taste of these delicious ribs without being overpowering or making them too salty like some other types of woods can do (like mesquite).

These woods are the best for smoking ribs.

You’ll want to use hickory or maple as the primary wood for smoking ribs. Oak, mesquite and cherry are also good options—but not as good as hickory or maple.

If you’re going to be using a gas grill, applewood is a great option.


So there you have it! Five different woods to use when smoking ribs. I hope this helps you find your favorite type of wood to use on your next smoking session.

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