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Using "Real" Mesquite Question

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I brought a few branches back from AZ and wonder if there's anything I should know before cutting off some chips to use tomorrow.  This is from the desert, nothing that's ever been subjected to city pollution or bug spray, etc.  Still pretty new at this.  Up to now I've just used apple, cherry and hickory chips from Walmart.

post #2 of 10

Are these dry, seasoned branches or did you cut them off live mesquite trees? 

post #3 of 10
I like mesquite on beef and shrimp... all I've tested.... a little goes a long way.... It is a very powerful flavored wood...
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by bruno994 View Post

Are these dry, seasoned branches or did you cut them off live mesquite trees? 

Not a leaf on it, so I'm assuming it was dead, possibly dormant.  I wouldn't know the difference.  It was not the shrub kind but an older tree, at leasst 15 feet tall as I recall.  The common kind in the Sonoran between Phoenix and Tucson.

post #5 of 10

When you cut it, you should realize I its good and dry on the inside. As Dave said Mesquite is a "hard" smoke type wood. It is very strong. I also fine that the woods can be stronger than pellets or store bought chips. So load your smoker accordingly.


Not knowing what you are cooking, since it is a hard smoke I would highly recommend using a light hand in loading the smoker. Go gentle with those chips the first time and get a feel for the smoke. Lightly smoked is still delicious, over smoked is terrible.


I used mesquite as my go to wood for many years, it has a wonderful flavor as long as you don't try to use too much. Most folks nowadays think of it as a heavy beef smoke, its good on any meat as long as you don't over smoke it. Cowboys have been swearing by it for years........

post #6 of 10

I can't help you much on the smoke part but, living in Arizona I can tell you this. During drought period Mesquite drops its leaves, it is natures way of helping the plant to survive, no leave surface, less evaporation of moisture.

Therefore, not having leaves does not necessarily mean dead, it could be just dormant. BUT dead mesquite, especially if it has been dead for a while is extremely hard! I mean very very hard! That might help?

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info.  This stuff was a booger to cut, even with a very sharp hand axe I carry.  Dead or dormant, it's dry now.  It will be used lightly on ribs.  I'm anxious to see how it works, so I'm going to smoke some brats today after all this thinking about it.  Yesterday I broke out the smoker and cleaned its parts, heated it up while the parts were in the dishwasher to make sure the Maverick and everything else was working.  It hasn't been used since we went to AZ for the winter. 

post #8 of 10

I've had mesquite smoked bacon in a Tex-Mex restaurant before. That was pretty tasty.

post #9 of 10

Mesquite is an awesome smoking wood, it is just about the only wood used in South Texas, but a little goes a long way.  When doing chicken, I'll usually just throw in a few small slivers or chunks into my coal basket on my UDS, plenty of tasty smoke for the birds.

post #10 of 10

I live in Tucson and use mesquite all the time in my stick burner.


As several have said - make sure it is good and dry and cured - I put my newly cut wood in a stack outside for at least a year before I use it.


I use it as is - bark and all - great strong flavor - if you are doing a very long smoke - brisket or pulled pork, you might only want to use the mesquite for 6 hours of smoke or so and switch to a not so strong wood.  Try it and see - it is all in your individual taste.


Forget using any kind of axe on it - chain saw with a good sharp blade and a hydraulic splitter are best - this stuff is very hard and dense.


Mesquite wood will give you a hotter fire than other hardwoods - so you may end up using less to maintain a low temp.

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