mesquite is it good or bad?

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by timmyt509, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. timmyt509

    timmyt509 Fire Starter

    I have read in a few books that mesquite is good for grilling but not for smoking because it has a bitter taste and can leave a residue in your smoker.I was wondering what the real scoop is on it so please help.
  2. tulsajeff

    tulsajeff Master of the Pit Staff Member Administrator OTBS Member

    You will get lots of different opinions on this.. I love it and use it all the time but some hate it. I suggest you try it with a cheap piece of meat such as chicken sometime to see what you think.

    Make sure it is dry wood (not green) and that there is plenty of airflow into and out of your smoker and you should have no problem. I use it quite frequently and my dinner guests are normally asking for doggy bags so it must not be too bad. Of course, they might be just trying to make me feel good[​IMG]
  3. adiochiro3

    adiochiro3 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    beef and pork hold up well to the aggressive mesquite.  IMHO, poultry, fish, etc. call for more mellow smokes.  It's all a matter of taste.  Experiment and see what works for you & your family and friends.  You have only to please yourself with the results.  Smoke ON!!!!!
  4. pit 4 brains

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

    Where are you from Timmy? Mesquite is great for smoking, grilling, fireplaces, campfires, and everywhere else you want a long-burning clean wood.

    The people who say mesquite is too harsh, bitter, creosoty, and so on most likely pile it on when they don't need to. Mesquite has been used from texas to Arizona (and alot of other places) for centuries as a grilling and underground pit fuel. A little goes along way with mesquite. If you plan to do a stick burner smoker with mesquite, you need to build the fire well in advance to bank up some coals. Then add just a little stick wood as you go to maintain the fire. Mesquite lump makes it a whole lot easier than sticks.. but it should still be pre lit before adding to the firebox..
  5. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    For grilling steaks it's the best, open flame. For smoking I only use a small piece along with hickory for say a pork butt. I like to add the mesquite as a compliment to other woods if that make's sense. Maybe some like smoking with straight mesquite, just not my bag. I say try adding a little with other wood and see how you like it. Then just add more the next smoke if you thought it was weak.
  6. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use mesquite most of the time, and I combine it with apple and/or cherry.I must mention that I don't need to use as much mesquite as i do with fruit woods.When I grill beef, I use red oak, best flavor I've tasted. It's all good my friend.
  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I love mesquite. I usually run a mix of mesquite and hickory, but even by itself it is a wonderfull flavor. The trick is to use less, if I was using just hickory I would use a total of about 8-12 fist sized chunks of wood on a full run of my WSM, with mesquite I would use only 4-6 chunks for the same run.

    It is a stronger flavor, but it is really good. I love it on poultry and beef. For pork I generally prefer hickory.
  8. mr mac

    mr mac Smoking Fanatic

    I once heard a BBQ restaurant owner say that mesquite is for amateurs and hickory is for the professional.  Now, I'm not sure of what he was talking about because I also use both and find that mesquite does, in fact, lend itself well to beef and pork and hickory is great on anything.  While I have scaled back my use of fruit woods I do once in a while use apple or cherry for fish and sometimes poultry.  For almost everything there is hickory smoking simply because there is so much of it around here for free.
  9. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm with Rich!!

    Mesquite alone can be a little strong for me, so I will smoke with Apple, Cherry or Hickory  and finish off the smoke with a little Mesquite.  It adds another layer of flavors to your meat. 

    100% Mesquite can be a little overpowering, especially on poultry or fish.

    Some guys use 100% mesquite and love the taste.  It's all personal preference and a little "Trial & Error"

    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  10. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I have to also agree with Rich and Todd on this one. Mesquite is a strong flavored wood for smoking and I always use it along with other not so strong woods like apple, cherry, peach, and pear woods. I usually just add a piece or two along with my other woods.
  11. timmyt509

    timmyt509 Fire Starter

    I'm in Nebraska and I can't find wood anywhere but I do have a uncle that lives in Arizona and he could bring me some mesquite. So i was just checking and I do have a lang 48 patio should be here on Monday.
  12. athabaskar

    athabaskar Smoking Fanatic

    Accept the mesquite Timmy. Decide for yourself if you like it or not, but do be careful. As others have stated, it can be overpowering. I can get as much mesquite as I want, but I rarely use it anymore. Oak and pecan are more to my liking. I like hickory most for pork such as ribs, and I use fruit woods and herbs like rosemary for fish.
  13. Its gonna be your call... everyone has different taste... Try it out... even if it is a bit much for you than you can always cut it with a lighter wood or use it on shorter smokes... You might use it and love it... I like using it and cutting it with a little oak...
  14. fourashleys

    fourashleys Smoking Fanatic

    I agree with meateater. I use a small amount of it mixed with another flavor. usually an apple or maple. gives great compliment to sweet woods. Great for PP.
  15. smokeysooner

    smokeysooner Fire Starter

    I use mesquite all the time, often, as others have mentioned, with combinations of hickory and fruit woods. 

    I also think it is very good with pecan and walnut chunks. 

    I especially like to use mesquite with chicken

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