Hickory Vs Mesquite – Which Is Better? And For What Food?

When it comes to storing your meat by smoking, you probably think about how to season them before thinking about what smells to lend to the meat. However, the smells of the meat are very influential-deciding on your flavors of the dish. That is when the concept of smoking the meat with wood comes into play.

To barbecue lovers, the two most popular woods for smoking meat are mesquite vs Hickory. These both incredibly give your smoked meat extra flavors. However, each one has its tastes, which are suitable for different food. 

So, what is the difference between mesquite vs. Hickory? Which one is better? Let’s dive into it.

Mesquite Vs. Hickory- What Taste Do They Give?

In this section, we discover what the taste of each type of wood looks like? Moreover, we also recommend what types of meat should go with mesquite and Hickory?

Mesquite’s Taste

When burning mesquite wood, it creates a bold, earthy taste and strong flavor. If you overuse it, the flavor can be sharp and bitter a little. Moreover, with one bite only, you can recognize mesquite taste immediately.

Mesquite wood is abundant in Texas. As a result, you will find out that many Texan BBQ dishes often contain the flavor delivered by this type of wood. 

In terms of the types of meat matching with mesquite flavors, if you try mesquite for the first time, we recommend smoking beef with it moderately. Moreover, different from other lighter protein sources, red meat can absorb smoke from mesquite without becoming too overpowered. 

In case you can not take the flavor of mesquite right away, you can burn the wood with other fruitwoods to mix the tastes. Keep doing this till you get used to the flavor of mesquite smoke.

Hickory’s Taste

Hickory smoke usually gives your meat a nutty taste-something related to bacon’ flavor. Furthermore, Hickory also provides a sweet and satisfying taste.

Southern USA is the origin of many foods smoked with Hickory, such as the traditional Southern BBQ. 

Owing to the gentle taste, most people love Hickory. And once again, if Hickory is new to you and your family, take some time to familiarize yourself with it. In that case, you probably can mix your fruitwoods with Hickory to reduce the pungent taste. 

Once you get to know its taste, Hickory can be the only wood you burn to infuse the meat’s flavor. However, strong-flavored lumber as it is, be careful to add the right amount of wood you need, or it will backfire you with bitter taste.

Mesquite Vs Hickory- Which One Is Better?

Deciding on the better smoking wood is the area of personal preference.

Speaking of hickory, this wood is considered as a more flexible smoked firewood than mesquite as it can smoke suitably pork and all red meats. 

You can also apply hickory to poultry, fish, and vegetables, but one thing to remember is to use it with a small quantity or blend it with other fruitwoods. 

The time that hickory burns is long, making it a suitable option for a slow cooking. 

In terms of mesquite, the wood is only meant for some specific meat types, such as beef brisket, duck meat, and lamb. To chicken, ribs, pork shoulder, mesquite can be too intense to cook with. 

Moreover, using mesquite creates some colors to your food- a lighter color than the deep red color of Hickory.

One more thing to mention is that mesquite burns hotter and faster than Hickory. As a result, it might not be an ideal wood for slow and low cooking. 

To sum up, some people are loyal to mesquite and smoke it with meat all the time while the majority of the population accepts the taste of Hickory.

Can They Be Mixed?

Of course, you can mix Hickory with mesquite to create an earthy, sweet, and soft taste.

However, mixing is not recommended when you have no idea about the two types of woods’ flavors. Also, consider what kinds of meat you plan to cook when mixing these two woods. 

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, this article has provided you with a detailed comparison between mesquite vs Hickory. The decision on which types of wood depends mostly on the meat you choose and your preferences.

Thanks for reading!

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