Is Pecan Good Firewood? A Guide to Burning Pecan Wood - Backyard Boss
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Is Pecan Good Firewood? A Guide to Burning Pecan Wood

Are you new to using wood heat as your primary heat source? If so, understanding the different types of firewood and what’s best to burn is crucial. Pecan is a really versatile hardwood suitable for burning and heating, as well as cooking thanks to its aromatic smoke. Learn all about identifying, seasoning, and storing pecan firewood, as well as its best applications and special considerations.

Pecan Firewood Details

BTU: 28 million / cord
Weight: 5,500 lbs wet / 4,500 lbs dry
Seasoning Time: 6-months to 1-year
Resin / Sap Content: 24-percent
Splitting Difficulty: Medium to hard
Smoke: Low to medium
Smell: Mild and sweet

Varieties of Pecan

Pecan tree closeup of nuts There are over 500 types of Pecan trees in the world. That said, the types that you use for firewood will be the species found nearest to your corner of the world. Most varieties are amazing firewood and have very few differences in density.

Since pecan wood does burn longer and hotter with less smoke, in comparison to other hardwoods, pecan wood is great to use in cooking and barbecuing, in addition to being used as firewood. Pecan wood makes grilled meats taste great due to the aromatic notes that pecan wood has, and it won’t make your meat taste too much like smoke since it’s a slow-burning wood that gives off very little smoke compared to other softer woods.

Pecan wood is ideal to use in a barbecue pit, but it can also be a great wood to use in a campfire if you’re grilling something up on a skillet or in a pan. The aroma of the wood will seep into your food, giving it a better taste without a charred out flavor. Pecan wood is also great to use in an outdoor fireplace since it burns for so long and won’t spew out too much smoke that could potentially make people feel uncomfortable with watery eyes and running noses. Too much smoke is never a good thing, so pecan wood is ideal for fireplaces in general.

Pecan Firewood Burn Characteristics

BTU of Pecan Firewood

Pecan, which, if we haven’t mentioned, is practically the same as Hickory, has an identical BTU as Hickory; 28. This high BTU makes Pecan more than ideal to use for heating your home through the coldest of winter months. Few hardwoods put out such high levels of heat once seasoned properly and ready to burn optimally.

Seasoning Time

Pecan wood that has been cut to the appropriate cord wood size should be good as a smoking flavor wood after 12 to 18 months. Keep in mind that you must store your wood correctly above the ground and in a dry area where the wood can dry out naturally and not get rained on. Any water on the wood can potentially damage the flavor, smoke, and overall taste the wood can bring into your food.

The drier the wood, the more muted the flavor will be. With pecan wood, you want a more mellow flavor if you are going to use it for cooking or barbecuing, so anywhere from 12 to 18 months should be ideal if you are planning on using pecan wood in a barbecue pit on in a campfire setting. If you want to use pecan wood in a campfire, you can pretty much use it right after 12 months as the smell won’t be too overpowering and you can comfortably sit around a fireplace with no issues at all.

Sap/Resin Content of Pecan Wood

One downside to Pecan is that it has a bit of a high moisture content, a whopping 24-percent. Thankfully, it dries well and seasons quickly too. In the long run, the sap/resin content of Pecan is nothing to worry about, because in less than a year of sitting on a firewood rack and drying and seasoning the moisture level drops by 50-percent, leaving the wood around 12-percent wet.

campfire outdoors nighttime
Pecan makes a great campfire fuel.

Pecan Firewood Smoke

Pecan firewood, much like Hickory, puts off various levels of smoke depending on how dried and seasoned the wood is before burning. With half-seasoned wood, you will see higher levels of smoke. That said when properly dried and seasoned Pecan is capable of burning at high heat-levels and putting out very little smoke at all.

Smell of Pecan Firewood Smoke

Along with the level of smoke, the smell of the smoke is also somewhat dictated by the moisture content of the firewood before it is used for burning. Properly seasoned Pecan has a slightly nutty smell to it that is quite appealing. That said, often times, Pecan puts out smoke that is practically odorless in comparison to other common types of firewood.

Common Questions About Pecan Firewood

How much is a cord of pecan wood?

A cord of pecan wood will typically cost you around $150. If the wood has been seasoned or is mixed with other more aromatic woods, you can start to look at prices around $200. The standard for pecan wood, however, sits around $150. You are going to want to make sure the seasoning time on the wood is at least a year, if you are looking for already seasoned wood.

split pecan wood logsIf you wanted a cheaper cord of wood, unseasoned is usually the way to go. You’ll just have to be sure that you have an area where you can store the wood where it will remain dry and out of the way until it becomes fully seasoned. Prices will vary depending on the type of pecan wood and the area that it is from, so it’s always good to shop around for the best price.

Why should I use pecan for firewood?

It’s sturdy, hard, burns a long time and is perfectly aromatic enough so you can sit comfortably around a fireplace. Pecan wood is great because it will burn hot and slow, so it will last you longer than most woods and it won’t smoke up as much as softer woods have a tendency to do. Whether you are planning on using pecan wood to barbecue or use at a campsite fire, or you simply want to relax around a fireplace, pecan wood is a great wood to use.

Should I buy seasoned pecan or season it myself?

Even if you find pecan wood that is not seasoned, you can easily season it yourself in your own yard, so you can enjoy the pecan wood at a later date. Usually unseasoned pecan wood is cheaper, so it’s cost effective to find unseasoned pecan wood and just season it yourself.

Because pecan wood is a milder hard wood, you can also use the wood soon after purchasing if you aren’t planning on using it to barbecue or use it in a smoker to smoke up your favorite meats. Either way, pecan wood is highly versatile and is one of the best hard woods you can find and use for a fireplace.