Top 3 Best Woods For Smoking Ribs (2023 Review)

Are you planning on smoking ribs and want to find the right wood for them? 

You’re in the right place!

In this guide, you’ll learn: 

Below is a quick list of all our top recommendations. Keep scrolling to learn more about how to choose the best wood for smoking your next rack of ribs!

Read More >> Ribs on the Grill (5 Easy Steps)

Ribs are a delicious dinner choice no matter how you cook ’em, but smoking your ribs will give them that extra burst of flavor you’re looking for!

After trying just about every type of wood out there, I can help you quickly find what you’re looking for and avoid wasting time and money testing them yourself!

Our Top 3 Woods for Smoking Ribs?

  1. Hickory
  2. Pecan
  3. Cherry
Top Wood For Smoking Ribs Facts

What Are the Different Types of Woods for Smoking Ribs?

Wood comes in a variety of flavors and cuts for all of your smoking needs. Let’s first start by narrowing down the cuts of wood. 


  • Wood pellets are the heat and smoke source for pellet grills — think Traeger, Z Grills, or PitBoss
  • Most pellets are 100% hardwood that has been kiln-dried, ground into sawdust, and then compressed into the pellet shape.
  • The only caveat is you have to already have a pellet grill.


  • Wood chips are usually small, thin strips of wood. They come in a variety of flavors.
  • Because of their small size, they can be used in just about any type of grill or smoker to add that burst of flavor you want with your ribs.
  • I recommend using wood chips for smoking ribs, because the rib meat can only absorb so much smoke! No need to waste your wood chunks.


  • Wood chunks are a great choice for most meats when using a smoker, including ribs. 
  • The three to four-inch chunks of wood burn longer than wood chips and can serve as the heat source or be mixed with charcoal.
  • Chunks are usually a little more expensive than chips and you won’t notice much of a difference, so save the chunks for larger cuts of meat.

What Do You Look for in the Best Wood for Smoking Ribs?

Good quality woods are a necessity for smoking ribs since lower quality wood can leave them bitter and unsavory.

The right wood will leave your ribs flavorful and tender, and you can avoid the bitterness some cuts of wood can produce. For the best flavor, I recommend you go with hickory, pecan, or cherry. 


  • Sweet, bacon-y flavor you can really taste
  • Hickory is my go-to choice for smoking ribs!


  • Pecan gives off a flavor similar to hickory but a bit milder
  • It’s a safe choice for most meats, including a rack of ribs


  • Cherry wood gives off a mild sweet flavor with a touch of tartness
  • If you’re looking for something a little different for your ribs to really set them apart, use cherry wood and spritz cherry juice on them during the smoke!

Read More >> Top 5 Best Dry Rubs For Ribs (2022 Review)

Best Woods for Smoking Ribs Reviewed

1. Western Hickory BBQ Smoking Chips

Camerons Products Smoking Wood Chunks (Oak)
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05/25/2024 07:28 pm GMT

Western’s wood chunks are kiln-dried and made from all-natural timber.

You can expect consistent sized wood chips that make the amount of chips you need to use predictable. 

While the chips are consistent in size, you may get some chips that are much smaller.

Perfect choice for that sweet, bacon-y flavor that will set your ribs ahead of any other you’ve tried!

  • All-natural timber
  • Consistent sized chips
  • Great flavor
  • Great value
  • Some chips may break and be much smaller in size

2. Western Pecan BBQ Smoking Chips

Western Pecan BBQ Smoking Chips
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05/26/2024 05:33 pm GMT

Pecan smoking chips are a solid choice for many different cuts of meats. That’s no different for ribs. 

These pecan chips are a bit mild, but add a great flavor to your ribs!

Because of their availability, Western brand smoking chips are a great value.

  • Great value
  • Good taste added to ribs
  • Can be used with many other meats
  • Not as strong of a taste as hickory
  • May notice some broken chips

3. Oklahoma Joe’s Cherry Smoking Chips

Oklahoma Joe’s Cherry Wood Smoker Chips, 1 pack
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05/24/2024 11:52 pm GMT

If you’re wanting to add a blast of unique flavor to your ribs, Oklahoma Joe’s Cherry Smoking Chips will do just the trick!

Because it’s only a 2 pound bag, you can try them out and see if you like that added sweetness to your ribs without wasting money.

  • Unique flavor for ribs
  • All-natural wood chips
  • Entry sized bag
  • The small size won’t last long
  • The entire bag was needed for my ribs

Time And Temp of Smoking Ribs?

There are several methods of smoking ribs, but almost all of them have a couple of things in common. 

  • Smoke your ribs low and slow at 250 degrees
  • Whether you’re doing the 3-2-1 method or smoking all the way through, make sure the internal temp is 145 degrees

Read More >> How To Reheat Ribs Without Drying Them Out

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Shawn Hill

Hey, I'm Shawn and I love this site. With a wife and 7 kids, I get most of my grilling practice from feeding my own family. I'm here to help you learn more about grilling, smoking, and backyard BBQ! With almost a decade of manning the grill and helping over 25,000 aspiring grill masters, you're in great hands! I've tried just about every type of grill, accessory, and gadget you can imagine. Because of that, I am here to help guide you to the best of the best and help you save time and money by avoiding the junk.

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