6 Best Wood Types to Smoke Ribs — Add That Ideal Flavor Note to Your Dish!

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The quality of wood is often underestimated when smoking, but without this foundation, your ribs will be lacking in depth and therefore taste. In this review, we’ve collected all the best wood to smoke ribs in all its variety and forms.

Our choices include pellets, chunks, and chips. There are different flavors, ranging from spicy to smoky and sweet. While all of the products are great for both beef and pork ribs, they can also be used with other grilled foods. The smoking wood options come in different packaging sizes. You can decide if you want a smaller sample size, or if you know exactly what flavor profile to use, purchase an extra-large bag. Whatever you choose, we have options that will kickstart your grilling season and make you the king or queen of smoked ribs.
Editor's Choice

With this option, you get 4 bags of different types of wood

  • Each type is ideal for ribs
  • 5 pounds each
  • Grown in Colorado
Read Our Review
9.8
GrillScoreTM
?
GrillScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Best Wood Pellets for Ribs

Oak wood pellets that will add some mild, nutty flavor to your ribs

  • Pellets are easy to use
  • Large economical package
  • Made in America
Read Our Review
9.7
GrillScoreTM
?
GrillScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Premium Pick

These cherry wood chunks are perfect for adding a bit of sweetness to your meat

  • Mild smoky flavor
  • All-natural
  • Kiln-dried
Read Our Review
9.6
GrillScoreTM
?
GrillScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Most Unique Flavored Chips

Add a bit of the distinct Jack Daniel’s whiskey flavor to your ribs

  • Creates unique flavor
  • Made from Jack Daniel’s oak barrels
  • Waterproof packaging
Read Our Review
9.5
GrillScoreTM
?
GrillScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Best Value

Pecan wood chips will fill your meal with a rich and slightly sweet flavor

  • Suitable for pork and beef ribs
  • Attractive price
  • Wood harvested in The USA and Mexico
Read Our Review
9.4
GrillScoreTM
?
GrillScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
Best Wood Chunks for Ribs

Hickory has a strong but not too bold aroma with a bit of sweetness

  • Large packaging
  • Heat treated to prevent pests and mold
  • Can be combined with apple and cherry
Read Our Review
9.3
GrillScoreTM
?
GrillScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.

Top 6 Woods to Smoke Ribs Review 2020

Features
  • What it is: chips
  • Type of wood: apple; post oak; orange; pecan
  • Size: 178 cu. in. (each)
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs. (each, on average)

It can be hard to decide on your favorite wood chip flavoring until you’ve sampled a bunch. This is the philosophy behind Jax Smok’in Tinder Premium BBQ Wood Chips Variety Pack. With this variety pack you get four flavors of wood chips that include apple, post oak, orange, and pecan.

Each bag is 1.5 pounds in weight, for a total of 6 pounds. While their price is a bit of a premium, the quality makes up for it. There is absolutely no moisture in the bags, which could lead to spoilage. However, their packaging does allow the wood chips to breathe.

If you want a variety pack, but aren’t too keen on these flavors, there are actually four other packages to choose from.

What we liked: The quality of Jax Smok’in Tinder Premium BBQ Wood Chips Variety Pack is amazing. Packaged in the United States from wood chips grown in Colorado, this is a company all about premium quality. Furthermore, they are transported so that when you receive your package the wood chips are in the best state possible for smoking.

Another aspect we really like are the variety of flavors. You get four incredible flavors to sample. And, if these four aren’t what you’re looking for, there are other variety packs to choose from.

What could be better: Jax Smok’in Tinder Premium BBQ Wood Chips Variety Pack is a premium quality product. As such, its price tag is a bit high. Furthermore, because you are getting a variety pack, there may be a flavor you don’t like as much.

Pros
  • 4 delicious flavors
  • Ability to choose different variety packs
  • Excellent packaging
Cons
  • Higher end of price spectrum
2.

Traeger Grills Oak Hardwood PelletsBest Wood Pellets for Ribs

Features
  • What it is: pellets
  • Type of wood: oak
  • Size: not specified
  • Weight: 20 lbs.

The Internet is actually in agreement over this one fact. Traeger Grills Oak Hardwood Pellets are the best wood pellets for ribs. With over 15,000 ratings, and an average of 4.8 stars on Amazon, this is a product that consistently produces amazing results.

The best wood chips for ribs will provide just the right smoky taste so you can savor every bite. In this case, the wood chips are actually pellets, which means they are a hardwood pellet, made from oak specifically. These pellets are long lasting and work with many cooking methods, including grilling, smoking, braising, and of course, BBQing.

What we liked: When it comes to buying online, having trust in a product is key. The amazing reviews show that Traeger Grills Oak Hardwood Pellets are a stand-out product. Pellets are a bit different than other products. They are more versatile while still offering that quintessential smoky taste you’re looking for.

This product is sourced and packaged in the United States. The company has excellent customer service and high-quality standards. You can count on receiving a perfect product.

What could be better: Honestly, there’s not much to dislike about Traeger Grills Oak Hardwood Pellets. The hardwood provides a great smoky flavor, and the pellets are incredibly versatile. Perhaps the only complaint is that they are in pellet form. Some people really like having wood chips or chunks, so it may take a bit of getting used to with the pellets.

Pros
  • Great, reliable company
  • High quality standards
  • Rave reviews
Cons
  • Some may not be familiar with pellets
Features
  • What it is: chunks
  • Type of wood: cherry
  • Size: 840 cu. in.
  • Weight: 10 lbs.

Cherry is an excellent type of wood that adds a full body of flavor to anything you’re smoking. Camerons Products Smoking Wood Chunks is one large bag of cherry wood chunks. These are different than wood pellets and need a bit more preparation before using. You will need to soak the wood pieces in water for 20 minutes, before then placing them on hot coals. However, once you perform this action, you can let the flavor take over.

This particular bag weighs 10 pounds, but there are also 5-pound and 20-pound options. This are nice options, especially if you like the product and want to save a bit of money on a bulk order.

What we liked: If you love cooking salmon, vegetables, or lamb, cherry is a great flavor. It is also nice with other types of meats. The three size options means more versatility for you. You can choose to sample the product, and if you like it, buy a larger bag that could last you the whole summer.

What could be better: Camerons Products Smoking Wood Chunks is precisely that – chunks. Unfortunately, because of transportation, there are often quite a few smaller wood pieces in the bag. While they can still be used, they burn faster and might not produce the results you’re looking for.

The chunks also mean more preparation. Be sure to remember to soak the wood chunks for 20 minutes before using them. This preparation time can add to your cooking time if forgotten.

Pros
  • Excellent cherry flavoring
  • 3 bag size choices
  • Nice, large chunks
Cons
  • Some smaller wood chips are included in the bag
4.

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey Barrel Smoking ChipsMost Unique Flavored Chips

Features
  • What it is: chips
  • Type of wood: Jack Daniel’s oak aging barrels
  • Size: 180 cu. in.
  • Weight: 1.9 lbs.

As you would expect from a Jack Daniel’s product, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Barrel Smoking Chips have a whiff of whisky to them. Barrels that were used to make Jack Daniel’s whiskey were then smoked to produce these wood chips. The result is that when you use them to cook, you will infuse your food with a smokey taste reminiscent of whiskey.

Coming in a 2.94-litre bag, this is a nice, medium-sized bag that will last for quite a few smoked ribs. You also have the option to purchase 2, 4, or even 6 of these bags.

The wood chips can be used with electric smokers, gas grills, and charcoal grills.

What we liked: The unique taste of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Barrel Smoking Chips is what really sets it apart. The wood chips produce a smokey, whisky taste that will really set your ribs and other smoked meats apart.

While Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Barrel Smoking Chips can be a bit on the expensive side, you don’t really need a lot of them to produce the signature taste.

What could be better: While you have the option of purchasing between one and size bags of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Barrel Smoking Chips, this is actually a waste of packaging. While some wood chip products are shipped in a mesh bag, these are in a full plastic bag. If would have been much more environmentally sensitive to create a large bag instead of shipping the wood chips in six bags.

Pros
  • Creates a unique, whiskey flavor
  • Don't need a lot of chips when smoking
  • Produces consistent quality
Cons
  • Packing is environmentally friendly
5.

Weber Pecan Wood ChipsBest Value

Features
  • What it is: chips
  • Type of wood: pecan
  • Size: 192 cu. in.
  • Weight: 1.75 lbs.

Sometimes, quality and low price come together to really delight consumers. This is the case with Weber Pecan Wood Chips. Available at a lower cost than other competitors, it offers a rich sweet and smoky taste.

Pecan wood chips pair great with all types of food, including poultry, beef, fish, and lamb. The wood chops are a nice size and will provide hours of smoking time.

The bag of Weber Pecan Wood Chips is 1.75 pounds in size. As well as pecan wood, you can also choose from cherry, apple, hickory, and mesquite.

What we liked: The flavor of Weber Pecan Wood Chips is really nice. It is both smoky and sweet, which is a unique flavor profile. Furthermore, the fact you can choose other lovely wood types allows you to really experiment with taste. No matter what you’re wanting to cook, there is a wood chip flavor that you can use.

Previous users of these wood chips can’t stop raving about the taste of their meat. Universally, both home cooks and their guests were incredibly impressed with what they were eating.

What could be better: Weber Pecan Wood Chips only comes in a 1.75-pound bag. Unfortunately, for avid smokers this is not nearly enough to last a summer. Although affordable, it could become a hassle if you have to constantly remember to re-order your wood chips. And, because of its low price, you will need to order multiple bags or else have to pay shipping fees.

Pros
  • Rich, complex taste
  • Comes in other wood flavors
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Bag only comes in a small size
Features
  • What it is: chunks
  • Type of wood: hickory
  • Size: 550 cu. in.
  • Weight: 5 lbs.

Western Premium BBQ Products Hickory BBQ Cooking Chunks are the perfect option when you want to experiment the whole summer long. You can choose between hickory, mesquite, cherry, maple, apple, oak, and pecan.

Each bag is 5 pounds and the wood is in chunks. This makes it some of the best wood to smoke pork ribs, beef ribs, and all other types of meat.

You can use Western Premium BBQ Products Hickory BBQ Cooking Chunks with electric, gas, and charcoal grills. Pretty much anyway you grill, you can use the wood chunks to perfection.

What we liked: The incredible selection of flavors means you can have wood chunks for all occasions. While all wood flavors can be used to most types of food, over time you will discover your favorites, and having different woods on hand will help you craft your culinary masterpieces.

As for quality, expect only the best from this product. The wood chunks come intact, and there is very little dust or small pieces.

What could be better: While the large 5-pound size is nice, if you want multiple flavors, smaller variety packs may be better. If you want to try different wood chunk flavors, you will have to invest a lot of money up front, not to mention having to find enough storage space for all your bags.

Pros
  • Wide selection of flavors
  • Great for all manner of grilling
  • Nice quality of wood chunks
Cons
  • Large bags make it hard to purchase multiple packages

Buying Guide

Smoking ribs is a long process, but the end result is a delicious meal. To help you craft the perfect feast, this buying guide will help you find the best wood to smoke your ribs.

What wood type is ideal for smoking ribs

For smoking ribs, you want to start with a hardwood variety. Then, you want to think about the flavor notes at the end. Cherry, hickory, oak, and pecan are all excellent choice.

Which woods to avoid

Smoking ribs is an artform, and so it can take a bit of trial and error to find the right combination. However, there are some woods to avoid right away. These include redwood, fir, spruce, and pine. Another wood that is often overlooked is cedar. While cedar pair nicely with seafood, it is not a great combination with ribs.

Features to consider when choosing wood to smoke ribs

The best wood to smoke ribs will enhance the wood’s flavor and not overwhelm it. There are some unique products, such as Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Barrel Smoking Chips. The subtle whiskey taste will elevate your ribs and not support the flavor, not becoming the star of the meal.

You will also want to think about your personal taste. While there are many wood flavors to choose from, you will have developed your own palette. Western Premium BBQ Products Hickory BBQ Cooking Chunks has seven flavors to choose from, so you will definitely be able to find your preference.

Chunks/pellets/chips?

6 Best Wood Types to Smoke Ribs — Add That Ideal Flavor Note to Your Dish!Our list of the best wood to smoke ribs includes chunks, pellets, and chips. So which do you decide?

Chunks are the largest in size. They are made from hard woods. Their large size means they burn for a longer time than wood chips.

Examples on our list include Western Premium BBQ Products Hickory BBQ Cooking Chunks and Camerons Products Smoking Wood Chunks.

Wood pellets start as wood chunks that have then been finely ground before being compressed into pellets. Because they go through a process to be created, there are sometimes additives added. You will need to check to see if the pellets only contain wood, or if they have anything extra in them. Pellets burn hotter than wood chips and burn for longer. The only pellets on our list are Traeger Grills Oak Hardwood Pellets Wood.

chips are small pieces of wood that come from many different varieties of trees. They are quite versatile, although they burn faster than both pellets and chunks.

Package size and weight

Whether they are wood chips, wood pellets, or wood chunks, the packaging can all differ greatly. On the small end of size are Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Barrel Smoking Chips, which only weigh 1.9 pounds. At the other end of the spectrum are Camerons Products Smoking Wood Chunks, which weigh 10 pounds.

When you think about the size and weight of your wood product, think about how much smoking you plan on doing and what your favorite flavors are. You don’t want to be stuck with a large bag of a flavor you don’t really like.

One nice option is the Jax Smok’in Tinder Premium BBQ Wood Chips Variety Pack. It has four packages of different wood flavors. All four bags weigh 1.5 pounds. This is a nice way to start your rib smoking journey as you can taste the flavors without worrying about waste.

Then, once you have a flavor profile you love, you can look into purchasing a larger bulk bag.

A lot of wood products have their size in cubic inches printed on the package. This is because the wood is a tangible product that is measured first. Basically, the smaller the size, the less wood there is.

FAQ

For pork ribs, look for traditional hickory, oak, and mesquite woods. However, you can also have a sweeter note with woods like cherry, apple, pecan, and maple.

Stronger hardwoods can overpower beef, so it’s best to go with fruit woods. Cherry and apple provide sweet notes that complement beef ribs.

Our Verdict

Creating that perfect smoky taste while grilling is a bit of an art form. You really need the perfect wood chips to get started. Luckily, we found a few options for you. Our Editor’s Choice is the Jax Smok’in Tinder Premium BBQ Wood Chips Variety Pack. With four delectable flavors, you can start your summer off right and experiment with all the tastes. If you’re looking for the ultimate wood pellets for your ribs, then Traeger Grills Oak Hardwood Pellets. They are known for their consistent quality and always produce delicious results. Finally, our Premium Pick for the best wood to smoke ribs is Camerons Products Smoking Wood Chunks. These larger chunks allow you to grill all afternoon, producing mouth-watering ribs for dinner.

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