Barbecue Tip: What Wood to Use for BBQ Pork Ribs?

There is a wide selection of BBQ wood chips available to add smoky flavor to grilled meats. When considering , you'll need to first decide if you're looking for a bold taste or a more subtle one. The marinade, sauce, or rub you're using for the ribs will also help you to decide what type of wood you want to use to enhance the flavor.

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  • A good 'all-purpose' barbecue wood is oak. It's popular, and can be pretty much be used on any type of meat, including pork, for a great flavor.

  • Although pork is often most popular with the lighter, sweeter tastes, you can still go bold if that's your thing. Use hickory or mesquite. In both of these cases, a little goes a long ways! Start with a scant handful of wood chips at first. These wood chips pack a lot of smoky flavor so be careful not to overdo it. You can also mix these woods with another lighter, fruity wood.

  • If you're a fan of a touch of sweetness with pork: use apple wood or cherry wood. These give a light and sweet-ish smoky flavor, plus they smell really good too.

  • Can't decide what you want? Mix it up. Combine milder wood chips with stronger ones, or just mix flavors. My personal favorite for pork is a mixture of about 2/3 apple wood chips and 1/3 oak.

Remember to soak your wood chips for an hour or more before using them. Shake off excess water before using. There's no hard and fast rule for what type of wood to use for BBQ pork ribs... let yourself be guided by your taste buds!



This website offers tips on how to BBQ as well as some of our favorite barbecue recipes. We barbecue with a charcoal grill in an outdoor kamado-style cooker called The Big Green Egg. We love food and we love the grill, and hope you enjoy our recipes!