Hickory vs. Mesquite

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by smokeymose, Sep 11, 2016.

  1. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    We'd been planning this dinner with a neighbor couple for a week. The Mrs took them down some brisket a few weeks ago because the neighbor Mrs had just had a surgery and couldn't cook. When asked what they wanted for dinner they both replied "Brisket!".
    I picked up a decent brisky at GFS on Thursday, and when I stopped at HD Friday for wood, they were out of Hickory sticks. All they had was Mesquite, so I bought a bag.
    I've tried it before and wasn't impressed. Too smokey and hard to keep lit, etc., but I was down to the wire. OK.
    Next morning I got the fire going and it was on at 6:30 with "mystery wood".
    Keep in mind it was raining (again).
    I used Mesquite sticks for the most part, because I only had a few sticks of Hickory.
    What I noticed was that the Mesquite had to have the firebox door wide open to burn. When I tossed in a Hickory stick the temps went high and I had to damp the intake almost closed to keep temps below 280.
    Bottom line is, using the Mesquite I could keep pit temps between 220 and 240 and with Hickory I struggled for 260 to 280 (which is what I thought was normal for my smoker).
    Is this a normal difference between these two woods, or was it just a fluke?
    The Mrs told me she hated the smell of the Mesquite and not to get it anymore, but when all was said and done she said this was the best Brisket yet (I've only done four, and three were in the rain), and I could use whatever wood I like if I could do it again 😊
    At this point, I'm thinking of using Hickory for Pork and Mesquite for beef.
    Any input?
    bearcarver likes this.
  2. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    IMO mesquite is good for beef but too harsh for pork or poultry. Hickory can also be somewhat harsh for these if you're using it for the full cook. If you have oak or pecan for cooking, the hickorywould be OK for flavor. I use oak all the time to cook with and for smoke flavor I use apple for pork and cherry for poultry.

    It seems to work best for me, but folks have their own taste preference. Good luck. :grilling_smilie:
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    What ever works for you.

    If the wife liked it & said it was the best ever, 

    I wouldn't change a thing!

  4. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks Great Dan!![​IMG]----[​IMG]

    If the MRS likes it, I'd go with Mesquite--Or a mix of Masquite & Hickory.[​IMG]

    I use Hickory almost all the time. I can't use Mesquite, because Mrs Bear would rather have no smoke[​IMG], Except on my Bacon!!

  5. lovethemeats

    lovethemeats Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Looked really good. Out of all of the woods. I perfer a mix of hickory and either apple or maple. I just can't get past the taste of Mesquite. Tried it couple times. Just something about it. All the other woods I like. Just something about the Mesquite.
  6. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use a LOT of mesquite.

    It burns hotter and longer than most other hardwoods. The only thing I have ever burnt that outdoes mesquite is ironwood. It will need plenty of air to get up and burning but once it does, and you get a nice coal pile, then dry splits will do well on a small pile of orange/red coals. You definitely do not want to let the squite simmer all the way down then add a split, this will cause some nasty smoke to develope. 

    Best practice i have found is to start with charcoal / lump / then splits. Otherwise you will use a lot of splits to get a good coal base.
  7. What others said!if it turned out good why change😃!?Plenty where im from use mesquite for everything they smoke and swear by it!It cant be all bad im guessin,great looking smoke regardless:)
  8. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Just got my copy of Franklin Barbeque Thumbs Up ,and he says the same thing. Mesquite burns hot. What I got at HD must have had something wrong with it, because it did not burn hot, although it did burn long. No worries, at least I know that when they're out of Hickory, I can still get by. All they carry in Apple, Cherry, etc. is chunks.
    I use a chimney half full of brickettes topped off with lump, dump it in the box and lay the splits on top and let it burn a while. I lost the fire one time when I first got the smoker. Never again!
  9. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    Thanks, bear! That is the plan. Frankly, I think if I hadn't told her about the Mesquite, she would never have known. Lesson learned 😉
  10. rogerwilco

    rogerwilco Meat Mopper

    Dan, can you please come down to Oklahoma and cook a brisket? We've been enduring a drought for quite some time.......
  11. smokeymose

    smokeymose Master of the Pit

    I don't know, Roger. The way my luck usually runs you'd just get tornados...

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