What You Should Know about Barbecuing with Pecan Wood

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pecans hanging on a tree 300x201While some pit-masters and hobbyist cooks are perfectly fine with using pecan wood for smoking, the idea that an excessive use of pecan wood while smoking and barbecuing leads to a pervasive odor within the meat its used to smoke is nonsense. Some of those aforementioned pit-masters will exclusively stick to pecan wood and all without it overpowering all the other seasonings and flavors that are being smoked into whatever cut of meat was placed within that individual’s smoker.

While there’s absolutely no reason why you should ever change out the types of firewood in your smoker midway through the cooking session, some people still do it with woods like pecan in order to avoid tainting the meat with an overwhelming level of pecan flavor. In truth, pecan’s one of the best possible lumber varieties when it comes to wood for smoking meat. Despite what some people may incorrectly think, pecan is a flavorful wood that grants a strong bite to the meat cooked within its smoke. If you were to compare it to other types of firewood, the flavor profile of meat that has been smoked with pecan is only slightly stronger than if you had used wood from an apple or oak tree. The closest description of pecan as a smoking meat would be “a less-bitter hickory.” While some people may describe pecan as a “cool” wood, there’s little evidence to support that; pecan is a great source for coals and burns just as well as other hardwoods.

Just because wood originates from a crop-bearing tree, that does not mean that the flavor profile of meat smoked with that wood will inherit flavor elements of that crop. Smoking ribs with almond wood won’t give them an almond flavor. The flavor of meat that’s been smoked with lemon or orange wood won’t develop the particular tang or juiciness of a citrus fruit. This is because fruit trees yield a very subtle flavor when smoked; most people will only claim to detect the presence of lemon or orange if you tell them it was used in the smoking process. On a more positive note, there’s also very little chance that someone with a particular allergy to a crop would also have an allergic reaction to meat that was smoked with wood from the tree that produces their particular allergen. Honestly, the only smoking wood that could overpower any other flavors or smells present in your meat would be mesquite, a wood so potent that it’s in its own classification.

If you have some pecan lying around and you want to put it to work in your smoker, pork is the absolute best meat to work with. Pecan is also quite good when it is used to smoke cuts of beef or any sort game meat. This is because pecan trees are a very hardy crop that can tolerate a broad range of climates. if you want to smoke chicken or a nice carp, stick to subtler woods like fruit or nut trees.

Get the best types of firewood for smoking from the best firewood provider in the area. Give Wisconsin Firewood a call at 414-769-9663 and we’ll guide you in the right direction. We’re easy to find on the south side of Milwaukee.

Photo by Corey Leopold from Flickr using Creative Commons license.