Mesquite wood is one of the more intense and robust smokey flavors you can incorporate into your meats, but it’s also one of the most difficult smoking woods to cook with. To avoid misusing this wood and ensure your meat cooks appropriately, consider our tips for smoking with mesquite cooking wood.
Ensure the Wood Is Dry
Whenever you cook with mesquite wood, it must be properly aged and dry. This wood must be very dry and aged for about 9 to 12 months before you can cook with it. To ensure your mesquite is dried correctly, look for the following signs: the bark is falling off, the wood sounds hollow, or the cambion layer appears to be a grey or reddish color. If you notice these signs, you know your wood is well-seasoned and ready for cooking.
Meats To Smoke and Meats To Avoid
Not every type of meat is suitable for mesquite smoker wood because the flavors from the wood can overpower the natural flavors of the meat. Generally, dark meats can withstand the smoke and flavors of mesquite, such as brisket. However, fish is not the most popular choice of meat to smoke with mesquite because the wood flavor overpowers the natural fish flavor.
Poultry is tricky, but you can still smoke it with this wood. Lighter meats won’t need as much time in the smoker as red meat. You would have to pull the smoke point out sooner to avoid over smoking and to have a better heating source so the food reaches the appropriate temperature for safe consumption.
Don’t Use Mesquite for Longer Cooks
Because this species of wood needs to be very dry before cooking with it, it will burn more quickly too. Therefore, the longer the cook time, the more mesquite wood you need—plus, smoking your meat the entire time could provide a too-intense flavor. Consider adding your wood at the beginning of your smoking process or near the end. And remember, it’s always best to use this wood species with meat that does not require a prolonged cook time.
Consider Blending It With Other Species
One tip for smoking with mesquite cook wood, if you like a milder taste, is to blend it with another species of wood to dial down the intenseness of the mesquite. Consider combining post-oak. So, instead of only using splits of mesquite, add one or two splits of post-oak. Consider combining the wood in the beginning until you get a feel for smoking with mesquite.
Just because this wood species is difficult to work with doesn’t mean you won’t get tasty results. It may take some practice to find the right balance for your smoker, but you can avoid a bitter taste in your meat by following the tips in this article. Experience delicious Texan barbeque with a mesquite-smoked brisket or steak!