Pecan Wood: The Perfect Smoke

We lost another pecan tree recently. It just fell over - not dead at all, just unable to hold itself up any longer. Funny how the drought-challenged trees fall after the drought has passed. But they do.

Luckily, baby-boy was visiting from NYC (while John Henry is the “baby” of the family, he is now 6 feet plus and 215 pounds). The pecan tree had fallen across one of our paths and after he finished a day on the tractor planting more winter pasture, he made quick work of the fallen tree and supplied us with a healthy stack of pecan logs for the smoker pit. Out came the pork, including a rib-on pork belly and porterhouse pork chops. I laid the firebox foundation with typical charcoal and when it turned white, stacked pecan logs on top. After coating the meat with something called “watermelon vinaigarette” that I found in the fridge, the meat was first seared over the wood and charcoal then removed to the far end of the smoking oven, sitting at 150 degrees. The smoke of the pecan wafted over and around it for the next few hours. My goodness, was it good!

Of all the woods used for smoking, I think pecan is tops. It has just the right amount of fruitiness to it. Not so much as to make it sweet exactly, but only enough to cut the harsher flavor that you get from hickory, mesquite and to a lesser extent, oak. So if you don’t have a fallen pecan tree of your own, buy the pecan chunks you can find at the store. Give them a little soak in water before applying to your coal bed because they need some moisture to get the full effect. Then enjoy the flavor of one of the greatest nut trees the world has ever known. Bon appetit, a la Pecan!

JVF