Pecan shells for smoking?

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Original poster
Nov 27, 2005
I've used pecan wood plenty of times, and have tossed a few shells into the fire just to get rid of 'em, but I've never specifically used the shells in quantitiy as a flavoring.

Has anyone tried this, maybe during a "shelling party"? Any other nut shells you can suggest (or warn away from)?

I'm mainly wondering if the chemical makeup of the shells is different enough from the wood that there would be a distinct difference in taste, good or bad.

I don't know about the shells only but quite a few years ago, I was using an ECB. I was smoking a butt and started the fire with charcoal as normal. However, I an old bag of pecans in the pantry. They were a little rank to shell and eat them so I decided to not let them go completely to the trash. Since I was smoking the butt, I needed some wood so I chunked a couple of handfuls of the pecans into the smoker. There was ample smoke and all seemed to be well but the butt turned out almost black and a little on the bitter side. I haven't used pecans since.

Now the quesstions: My first thought was that the pecans weren't good for smoking because they turned the meat black and bitter. But in retrospect and since reading many lines in this forum on creosote etc. I wonder if the real problem might have been that I put too many pecans in and thus over smoked the butt. Wish I could be more definitive. I know, of course, pecan wood is great to smoke with and perhaps the nuts/shells too. But if you try the shells, my advise would be to keep the smoke to a thin blue trace. (Just like the other woods.)

Fl. Bill
Hey Bill,

Thanks for responding. :)

I've thought about using old pecans myself, but have not because I was worried it might make the smoke too oily. Sounds like I might have been right.

I'm also curious about the tannin content in the shells, whether it's significantly higher than the wood and, if so, how it would affect the taste.

I guess I could just toss 'em, but I sure hate to waste so much potentential fuel!
coyotewrw, Welcome to the Smoking Meat Forums. You'll learn a lot of neat stuff about the art of smoking.

As for using shell hulls and nuts for smoking, one thing to take into consideration is that the wood from the tree doesn't contain the oils that the nuts do, I'm no expert on the topic of using these for smoking but it was a thought that came to mind.
Hi Coyotewrw
Save the pecan shells. I saw a article in Texas Monthly a few years back on BBQ in Texas and one guy uses pecan shells in his BBQ business. I have used the shells in my smoker to add extra smoke, it works for me. You can put a handful or two in your grill for a smokey favor. I also use old pecans the same way as the shells. :roll:
Well, I'll probably get deported from Texas for taking yer advice...

Lol, just kiddin', I'm half Okie myself. :P :P :P

Thanks for the valuable info! Now I don't have to feel guilty about wasting all those shells, since my compost heap has more than enuff stuff in it.
okie, Welcome to the Smoking Meat Forums. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about using shells and nuts for smoking. Do you remember the what newspaper that article was in?
YES USE THOSE SHELLS!!!! there is a local sheller close to my house and the shells are free, they are happy to just get rid of them

i have used the shells for everything from ham to ribs and it always turns out great :)
Thanks Crazyhorse for the backup on using peacan shells to smoke with. People in Muskogee raise Azalea plants and use pecan shell for mulching the plants. We don't have a big nut company here anymore, but when we did they sold the shells by the pickup load. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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