Smoky ribs are always a big deal to prepare for backyard parties or simple family/friends gatherings. That is why many people take their time preparing this dish to have it turn out as perfect as they want it to be. Using the best electric smoker can help you achieve the best results, but choosing the best wood for smoking ribs is also important. Now, if you are planning to cook ribs or an event ahead that you want to prepare for, you need to know how to prepare ribs and pick the right kind of wood to use.
In this article, we will help you with just that, and so if you are interested to know the steps and tips to use when picking up wood, all you have to do is read this article.
The most common type of wood used when smoking meats are usually a type of heavy wood. However, there are times when the heat and smoke from these woods become too much, especially when you picked the wrong one. This could ruin the meat’s taste and texture as well as its juiciness. And so, to avoid these instances, you must know the best kind of wood to use when smoking meats.
Understand also that there are plenty of states all over America that different practice styles of cooking ribs or BBQs. Some may use the famous hickory, mesquite, grapevine wood, etc., while others may use their local flora woods or whatever type of wood is available to use. If you are interested in smoking ribs on your own but don’t know what kind of wood to get, then these options can help you with that:
Hickory is the most popular type of wood used in smoking ribs or BBQ. They are usually found and used in the Southern and Midwestern parts of the states. They are known for their robust flavor that adds taste to the meat you smoke, but it could become bitter if this wood is used too much.
The most popular type of oak is the red oak, used mainly for smoking ribs and other heavy meats. It comes out strong, but it does not overpower the taste of the meat and its texture. This is considered to be the choice of wood if you are going to cooking lamb or beef.
It is known for being naturally oily, which makes it easier to burn. It also emits a unique flavor that you will love on your smoked ribs. While this may be a good choice for smoking meats, it might not be best for long barbecues.
It is a good choice if you are going to smoke beef, fish, and poultry. It gives out a pleasant and delicate flavor that you will love, but the only downside to this is that it emits an odorous smoke.
It is an excellent choice if you want to have a mild and sweet flavor fused into your smoked rib or other heavy meats. It’s a perfect choice to use for BBQ pork, poultry, and the most favored wood in smoking ham.
It is best for BBQs, beef, and pork. They often give your smoked meats that vibrant color similar to mahogany when used and is an excellent combination with oak, pecan, and hickory, especially when you are cooking smoked ribs.
It is a wood that belongs to the variety of hickory and is a good choice if you do long barbecues. This wood usually burns slowly and often gives out a delicate flavor to the meat. It may also be pungent and is an excellent choice to mix with other types of wood. The only thing you need to remember is that you should use pecan in moderation, so the meat you are smoking does not acquire its pungent smell.
Woods like ash, alder, pear, plum, and maple are also good options for smoking ribs and meats. You can also use herb woods like basil, thyme, and rosemary.
Woods to Avoid When Smoking Meats
While there are plenty of options to take, you must avoid wood when smoking meats. These are the following:
- Poison Oak
These woods are not only pungent but can also destroy the flavor of the meat you are smoking or cooking. So if you don’t want your smoked ribs to taste awful, better avoid these. Keep in mind that you should also know how to control flare-ups in case you are smoking meat. You must also know the different types of meats and how long it takes to cook them.
Helpful Tips When Using Wood While Smoking Ribs or Meat
Let’s say you have the wood you need. What’s next? Well, besides lighting it up and watch it burn, you need to remember these helpful tips too:
- As I have mentioned, never use woods like pine, cedar, treated wood, and others that I have listed. This will not help in achieving the desired taste.
- Always remove the bark of wood chunks as they can emit an acrid taste when burned. This could go to the meat you are cooking.
- Use a small amount when starting and gradually add wood as you go. This is also done to avoid overpowering the flavor of the meat.
- Don’t allow the wood to burn for a long time. This may produce odorous smoke that will ruin the meat’s flavor.
- Always create a position or pattern when placing the wood. This will allow the wood to burn quickly and fast.
- If you are using wood chips, always protect them with a foil pouch with small holes.
- Wood chunks are great to use because you don’t have to replace them as often.
- You can have all the smoke you need, but you can also minimize it. Remember that less is more.
How to Smoke Ribs Easily
Now that you know what kind of wood to get, how do you smoke ribs anyway? While you already know what the best wood for smoking ribs is, you must master the art of smoking ribs too. This way, you can say that you are indeed ready. Here’s how.
First of all, you need to preheat your smoker according to the setting you want. Fill up the water pan and the box where you need to put wood or wood chips. As your smoker preheats, you need to prepare the ribs. If you already brined the ribs the night before or marinated it with your secret sauce, then all is good. However, if you don’t know what to do, the first thing you need to do is remove the membrane from the inside of the ribs and add the spices and seasoning. Make sure that you cover the entire rack of ribs with the seasoning to distribute the flavors evenly.
Smoke the ribs right on the racks and let your smoker do the cooking for at least three hours. If you don’t know what temperature to set the ribs, place it at 225 degrees F.
Once done, remove the ribs from the smoker and place them in an aluminum foil. Wrap the ribs tightly and create a small pocket. With a little bit of apple juice, beer or wine, pour it on the packet to enhance the flavors while the ribs are smoked again. Place it in the smoker for another two to three hours.
The total smoking time for ribs is around 6 hours. Once the meat becomes tender or falls off the bones easily, the ribs are perfect for eating.
The Best Wood Chips to Use When Smoking Ribs
If you don’t have wood chunks, you can always use wood chips in smoking ribs. Here are some of the best wood chips to use when you do that:
- Hickory – is a popular wood for smoking ribs and is excellent when paired with other wood chips.
- Mesquite – is also the choice of wood for smoking ribs. This gives out a milder smoky taste compared to hickory that you will surely love. However, it can also be bitter, so it is best to use it with other lighter woods.
- Apple, Cherry, Pecan, and Maple are light wood types that emit a sweet and mild flavor perfect for smoking ribs.
Now that you know what the best wood for smoking ribs and meats is go ahead and pick your choice. Always be open to experimentation as combining two kinds of wood can create something unique and an excellent taste for the meats you are cooking. Check also the availability of the wood you would like to use around your area. This way, you know where to get them, and you don’t run out of stock. Happy cooking, and enjoy those ribs!