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The Best Wood for Smoking Ribs

The Best Wood for Smoking Ribs

When you are smoking meat, it means you are cooking the meat over firewood. Depending on the wood you use, it can add many flavors to the meat. Some flavors go better depending on the type of meat you use.

It does not matter if you are cooking pork, beef, lamb, or venison ribs. All of them have their unique taste, and when you smoke them with a certain type of wood, it will add to the natural flavors already there.

In this article, we are going to go over the top six types of wood to smoke your ribs over and what size of wood you can use.

Best Wood for Smoking Ribs


One place Mesquite Wood can typically be found in the Southwestern part of the United States.

There are three common types of this would include honey mesquite, screwbean mesquite, and velvet mesquite.

Its most popular usage is for smoking or grilling meat, but it can also create furniture and other items people use in their everyday life.

When smoking ribs over mesquite wood, you will find that it infuses your meat with a smoked taste and smell.

For those who are not fans of an intense earthy flavor, this option is not for you, but for those who love it, consider using mesquite wood!


As the name implies, cherry wood comes from the black cherry tree, and while you may assume this type of tree is usually grown for its fruit, you would be wrong!

The cherries we consume usually come from the sweet cherry tree and not the black cherry tree. Black cherry trees are usually used for their wood, which is used to make floors, furniture, and mills.

Smoking ribs over some cherry wood will add a sweet flavor to your meat. It’s not overwhelmingly powerful, so you do not have to worry about it tasting too sweet. Also, your ribs will end up turning a lovely red color!


The Peachtree can be thanked for supplying the world with peach wood. While this fruit tree was originally native to China, you can find it all over. It’s a moderate hardwood that is used in not only smoking meat but also woodworking.

Peach wood has a naturally sweet flavor, so when you are smoking ribs over this meat, expect it to be infused with that sweetness. It’s an interesting combination of smoky and sweet, which will only add to the natural flavors that come with ribs.


Out of all woods out there, oak is probably one of the more well-known ones. They are a hardwood that can be found in Northern Hampshire with hundreds of known species.

One thing they are used for, besides smoking meat, of course, is homemaking. Oak floors, doors, etc., are extremely common.

Smoking your ribs over this classic type of wood will infuse your meat with rich flavors. In the end, when you bite into your ribs, you’ll discover that there is this earthy, savory taste that you can’t find anywhere else.

If you want some rich smoky flavor in your meat, then oak wood is the one you want to go with.


The Maple tree is a type of hardwood that can often be found in items such as furniture and floor. Out of all the hardwoods out there, it’s not the hardest out there, but it does come in different wood stains, making it pretty versatile.

Using maple wood to smoke your ribs will infuse them with a sweet and light taste. It’s not too heavy or strong, so for those who like that more subtle flavor, maple wood is what you may want to use to smoke your ribs over.


Hickory wood is from the hickory tree, which can be found in North America and Asia. However, 18 of those species are found in North America, with only about three being found in Asia.

This type of hardwood is used for not just grilling meat but also woodworking.

When you smoke your ribs over some hickory wood, you’ll come to realize that it combines beautifully with the natural flavors of ribs.

It will infuse the meat with a nutty or bacon flavor, something you that can’t get from some woods out there.

Your meat will also turn a mahogany color, so there is that too!

Size of Wood

The size of the wood does matter when you are cooking because they can all yield different results. Here are four different sizes you can use when smoking meat, which includes:

  • Wood chips are smaller pieces of wood, and you discover they do not burn for a long period. They are best for smaller cuts of meat and poultry, and fish.
  • Pellet-sized wood is designed for pellet grills, so if you do not have a pellet grill, then you will not be using this particular size. However, if you do, then this is the size you will have to use.
  • Wood chunks come in fist-sized chunks and will keep the fire burning for hours. They are great for large cuts of meat.
  • Split-sized wood is in a log shape, and when using this size of wood, it ensures your meat will cook for hours. Best with large pieces of meat.

While you are smoking meat, make sure that you always practice safety. This will keep you and everyone else in the vicinity safe and prevent forest fires!

Final Thoughts

And there you have it all your barbeque lovers out there! These are the best types of wood you can smoke your ribs over. Some add a fruity taste, while others add a more of a rich smoky, or earthy flavor. Both are valid. It just depends on what fits your fancy!

We also touched on what size of wood to use because using the wrong size can have dire consequences. It can either undercook the meat or overcook it so much that you could use it as a weapon.

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