Pecan Shells for smoking???

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jarjarchef, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I was given a couple bags of pecan shells by the in laws. They heard you could use them to smoke with. Has anyone used them before? Any tips or tricks to using them? Things to avoid? My concern is a burnt bitter taste like you get when you burn the nuts.....

    Thank you
  2. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have heard of people using them. What I was told, was to soak a couple heaping hand fulls in water and add as needed..... When I first heard of someone using them, I was so excited about trying them, I called a buddy and asked if he could get me some to try, it was pecan season...... He says, no problem!!!! 2 days later I find 55 gallon drum of shells in the doorway of my shop......Uh, a bit much you think? He said, they have to pay to dispose of the shells..... Saved him some $$, go figure..... We'll since then I haven't have time to try using them....... Been so busy I haven't had time to ever look at my poor smoker.........Summer time in South Louisiana + AC repairman = All the side work you can ever handle!!!! ShoneyBoy's keeping it cold these says......... :yahoo:
    elninhojpr likes this.
  3. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    Last week I did a beer can chicken using Mac nut shells. There is a thread on it somewhere.

    It tasted really good. Will it replace my kiawe or guava? Nope. I figured since I had it I might as well try it.

    The only thing I noticed different is when using it is it took twice as long to get thru the white smoke phase.
  4. Burning Pecan Shells releasing the following known chemicals:


    Table 4.3 – Effect of heating rate on the concentration (ml) of gases produced during thermal decomposition of pecan shells in air atmosphere

                                                                                  Heating rate (°C/min)

    Gas Type

                                                                       5         10         20       30         40

    Carbon dioxide                                          0.0924 0.0994 0.0903 0.0826 0.0889

    Carbon monoxide                                      0.0197 0.0164 0.0110 0.0053 0.0031

    Isocyanic acid                                            0.0128 0.0098 0.0083 0.0070 0.0012

    Carbonyl sulfide                                         0.0041 0.0028 0.0018 0.0007 0.0004

    Acetic acid                                                 0.0032 0.0034 0.0043 0.0025 0.0007

    Nitrous oxide                                             0.0002 0.0003 0.0003 0.0004 0.0005

    Methane                                                    0.0004 0.0003 0.0002 0.0001 0.0003

    Ethylene                                                    0.0005 0.0003 0.0009 0.0001 0.0001

    Ammonia                                                   0.0006 0.0009 0.0003 0.0004 0.0003

    Hydrogen cyanide                                     0.0022 0.0021 0.0023 0.0016 0.0011

    Formic acid                                               0.0010 0.0001 0.0003 0.0001 0.0001

    Formaldehyde                                           0.0002 0.0004 0.0007 0.0002 0.0002

    Methyl isocyanate                                     0.0385 0.0379 0.0274 0.0346 0.0348

    Ethanol                                                      0.0057 0.0059 0.0052 0.0049 0.0051

    Methanol                                                   0.0003 0.0002 0.0002 0.0003 0.0001
  5. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well I have been using pecan shells for years. Since we always peel our pecans, we get so many buckets and buckets on the years that we get pecans,  we just save the shells in buckets.

    What I have learned.

    The work fine in any chip holder or tossed onto the charcoal, or a skillet, or in a perforated bean can.

    They must be kept dry

    The bad pecans left in the shells are not good for smoke Ewwww.

    The shells give a darker smoke color and deeper smoother smoke taste.

    Try using less than you would chips till you get used to them

    The shells must be dry and seasoned (if they are not seasoned you don't want the pecan meat anyway, right).

    Be careful where you store them, little critters like nuts too. They will draw rats, mice, and squirrels who think you brought the shells for them.

    If you see what looks like spider webs holding small groups of shells together, don't use it for smoke. LOL

    I seriously love using the shells. Its one of those things I got to show my Pop that he didn't know about smoking! LOL

    After you use them once you'll be addicted. I have 7 or 8 plastic bags of chips that are so old the plastic crumbles when you try and pick 'em up.

    Can you tell I like using 'em? And when you shell your own pecans from your own trees, and can get a free by-product it even better, free good smoke.

    BTW they are not bitter unless you go crazy!

    I have not tryed them in the Masterbuilt cold smoker yet, but I plan to soon!
  6. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You owe your buddy a bunch of andouille! You are going to love it.
  7. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Never used nut shells but I have used pineapple husks after cleaning fresh pineapple. They work very well for pork butts, ribs or poultry. I have learned that placing them on the fire husk side down produces the best results.
  8. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Foam how long do you season the shells?
  9. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I will admit I did not read the whole thesis. I only read a bit of it. Based on what we get from burning oak or pecan shells. What is the diffrence in simple terms?

    I do like the concept of finding alternate fuels and using natural by products is a great way to recycle. I have seen where they are using the shells from nuts and the cobb from corn to use for a biodegradable blasting medium, rather then sand or silica.
  10. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Just make sure they are good and dry. If they sit out a couple a days after the shelling is great because they are mostly done or you couldn't crack 'em. Before they dry the pecans are called green and you can't eat them. Shellls have to dry to crack 'em.

    Also make sure and use the shells and not the husks. You don't normally see husks, they are what hold the pecans on the tree. They normally open up do the pecans can drop out.

    " I have seen where they are using the shells from nuts and the cobb from corn to use for a biodegradable blasting medium"

    Yes Sir and they use them both for smoke.....
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014
  11. casmurf

    casmurf Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    been using the shells for years work great, but like Foam said if there is still meat in the shell they will be bitter.

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