Mesquite Wood | Is Mesquite Wood Good For Smoking?

What is Mesquite wood?

Mesquite is an extremely hard, dense, and durable hardwood, it is native to South America. Mesquite wood is rot and insect-resistant, so it is a good choice for outdoor applications and flooring.

There are many reasons why mesquite wood is so popular. It has a beautiful reddish-brown appearance and is easy to work with.

Mesquite wood comes from small, pointed trees that mainly grow in dry areas of America. The tree grows to a height of 30-60 feet and has rough, scaly bark. There are about 40 species of mesquite.

Uses of Mesquite wood


Mesquite hardwood is often used for high-end rustic furniture, cabinetry, tool handles, and fencing. Mesquite wood is most popular for smoking meat. It imparts a strong flavor to the meat.

Mesquite wood is resistant to dents and scratches hence it is the best choice for durable flooring. It requires less maintenance as compared to other hardwoods.

If you’re looking for durable and rot-resistant outdoor or indoor furniture, mesquite hardwood is a great option.

What does mesquite wood look like?

The heartwood of Mesquite wood can vary in color from reddish brown to medium brown and sapwood is a yellow/tan color. Mesquite wood tends to be darker and richer with age. It rapidly changes color when exposed to UV light and oxygen.

Mesquite has a straight, wavy, or interlocked grain with medium to coarse texture and open pores.

Working with Mesquite wood

Generally, Mesquite wood is easy to work with both hand and machine tools. It finishes better than other hardwoods. It holds glue, nails, and screws very well.

Irregular grain or knots can be challenging and wood is harder than many other hardwoods, so keep your weapon sharp when working on it.

How to finish Mesquite Wood?

Mesquite wood finishes nicely with or without stain. You can use both oil/varnish and lacquer to finish it, it gives a good result. 

Sanding is an essential process that must be done before finishing. Sanding cleans the surface and makes it smooth. So that the stain is uniform on the surface. Fine to medium grit sandpaper is recommended. 

Before applying tung oil, make sure that there is no type of finish on the wood surface. If it is on it remove it through sanding.

Tung oil is completely natural and it will not harm the environment. After applying tung oil, the open pores of mesquite wood are completely sealed and it is ready for outdoor use.

Advantages and disadvantages of Mesquite wood:

There are many types of wood, and each wood has a few advantages and disadvantages, which should be known before use. 

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of mesquite wood.



Mesquite wood is known for its rich reddish brown color which makes it a great choice for dark furniture and floors. 

Extreme durable

Mesquite wood is a very durable hardwood that is a good choice for furniture, and flooring. It is more durable than oak, mahogany, and maple hardwoods.

Very hard 

Mesquite wood is extremely hard as compared to many other hardwoods. Being extremely hard, scratches and dents are less likely to occur.


Mesquite is decay resistant, and also has good resistance to insect attacks. It is the best choice for projects that are being built for outdoor use.

African Mesquite wood is more durable and decay resistant than other types of Mesquite wood.



Mesquite wood is rare and expensive because its demand is very high for meat smoking. Another reason it is expensive is its moderate growth rate. It grows about 12 to 24 inches per year and takes about 20 years to harvest.

Smoking with Mesquite Wood

Mesquite wood is one of the best choices for dark meat smoking, it has a strong deep flavor but is lighter than hickory or oak. 

Mesquite wood is not ideal for long-time cooks or smoking because it burns fast and adds a bitter taste to the food. So it would be better to use coal which burns hotter and is longer-lasting than wood chips.

Mesquite contains high amounts of lignin, which makes it incredibly smoky and it emits sparks as it burns, so be careful.

Is mesquite wood good for smoking brisket?

Mesquite wood is a good choice for smoking small brisket cuts but is not recommended for larger brisket cuts. Brisket is very hard to grill or smoke properly with mesquite wood because it is fast-burning wood and gives off a lot of smoke fast.

FAQ about Mesquite wood

Is mesquite wood good for a fireplace?

Mesquite wood is one of the excellent choices for a fireplace. Because it generates high heat, burns easily, and produces long-lasting coals. It takes 6 to 8 months to dry properly for a fireplace.

The BTU Value of the Mesquite wood is 28 million per cord which is higher than other hardwoods such as larch, maple, and locust.

Usually, Mesquite wood can be easily cut and split. Some species that have irregular branching may have trouble splitting.

Where does mesquite wood come from?

Mesquite trees have distribution areas throughout the southwestern United States, Mexico, South America, North Africa, and Eastern Asia. They are native to dry areas in the Americas such as deserts. Their long and deep roots are helpful for finding moisture or water from the ground.

How hard is Mesquite wood?

The mesquite wood is extremely hard so it is very resistant to scratches and dents. It is harder than oak, maple, and hickory.

The Janka hardness of mesquite woods is as follows.

Species nameJanka Hardness
Black Mesquite1,940 lbf (8,630 N)
Honey Mesquite2,340 lbf (10,410 N)
African Mesquite2,940 lbf (13,080 N)

How long does mesquite wood take to dry?

In general, Mesquite wood requires around 6 to 8 months to season. It dries quickly compared to other hardwoods due to its low sap and moisture content.

Fully seasoned mesquite wood is darker in color and lighter in weight than green Mesquite wood.

Is Mesquite wood expensive?

Mesquite wood is rare and expensive because its tree grows only 1/2 inch per year. As domestic hardwood, it is available in small sizes. Thick and large boards are usually rare or defective. 

The price of wood depends on its location. You can get a cheaper deal at the native place of Mesquite, but in another state or county, you may have to pay more.