Is Mesquite Good Firewood?
Mesquite is great firewood because it burns hotter and for longer than most other types of wood due to its high density and low moisture content.
Its density makes it a good choice for heating and cooking because it burns at a lower temperature and produces more heat. In addition, when burned, mesquite wood produces a pleasant scent that may appeal to those who like to relax in front of a fragrant fire.
Mesquite wood is dense and hard, so splitting it can be challenging and may call for specialized equipment or methods. It is a popular wood for smoking meats because of its distinctive flavor.
However, it is important to source it from a reputable supplier to ensure that it has not been treated with chemicals or pesticides that could be harmful when used in cooking.
Varieties of Mesquite
Mesquite encompasses several plants and trees in the Prosopis genus. However, only those categorized as mesquite trees are used for firewood in North America.
There are over 40 species in the Prosopis genus, but the most common species used for firewood are Prosopis juliflora and Prosopis glandulosa.
Distribution and Appearance
Mesquite trees are distributed throughout the Southwestern United States and Mexico and include several different species.
These trees are commonly found in arid and semi-arid regions and are known for their ability to thrive in harsh desert environments. Mesquite wood has a distinctive appearance and unique wood structure.
The color and grain pattern of mesquite wood can vary greatly depending on the species and growing conditions.
The wood can range from light yellow to dark brown, with bold and intricate grain patterns that make it visually appealing.
Mesquite wood is also known for its high density and hardness, which makes it a durable and long-lasting material.
Mesquite firewood has a heat output of 28 million BTUs per cord of seasoned wood, making it one of the hottest burning woods available. A cord of mesquite firewood weighs approximately 4000 pounds when dry and requires a seasoning time of 6-8 months.
Mesquite has a low sap and resin content, which makes it cleaner to burn than other types of firewood.
However, it can be moderately difficult to split due to its tough nature, and the twisted branches can make splitting more challenging. It’s best to harvest mesquite during the winter months to ensure minimal sap content.
Mesquite firewood is known for having a distinct fragrance that is both sweet and tangy.
This aroma is highly coveted by those who enjoy smoking meat, as it can add a delicious flavor to the food. It is also commonly used as firewood for heating and cooking, due to its high heat output and long burn time.
When compared to other types of firewood, like cherry and tulip poplar, mesquite has a similar fragrance but is not as overpoweringly sweet.
Mesquite provides a long, slow burn due to its dense wood, and it produces high-quality, lasting coals that maintain consistent temperatures for hours.
Additionally, the dry, sapless nature of mesquite reduces the likelihood of sparks when burning.
Mesquite does produce a moderate amount of smoke, and regular chimney cleaning and proper fireplace loading are necessary to minimize issues when using it in a closed fireplace.
Mesquite’s desirable characteristics make it a highly valued wood, often used for smoking meat in addition to firewood.
This demand contributes to its higher price compared to other firewood types. A 1200lb pallet of split and seasoned mesquite can cost around $400, making it a more expensive option.
Pros and Cons of Mesquite Firewood
Like all types of firewood, mesquite has its own set of pros and cons:
In conclusion, Mesquite is an excellent firewood choice for those living in the southwestern United States and Mexico. Its high density and low moisture content make it burn hotter and for longer than most other woods, making it ideal for heating and cooking.
Additionally, its distinctive fragrance makes it a popular choice for smoking meats.
While mesquite firewood can be more challenging to split and more expensive than other types of firewood, its many benefits, including a low creosote buildup and resistance to pests, make it a great option for those looking for high-quality firewood.
Overall, mesquite firewood is a valuable resource that can enhance any fire experience, whether it is for warmth, cooking, or simply enjoying its pleasant scent.