Can You Burn Pecan Wood in a Fireplace? Is It Good Firewood?
If you’ve recently installed a fireplace or begun using wood as your primary heat source, you’re probably exploring different types of wood. Aside from hickory, oak, and maple, you might have heard of pecan wood as a great firewood choice.
This versatile hardwood isn’t just ideal for fireplaces but also perfect for cooking due to its pleasant aroma. If you’ve never used it, here’s everything you need to know about pecan wood as firewood and how to burn it.
Can You Burn Pecan Wood in a Fireplace?
Yes, you can burn pecan wood in a fireplace, as it’s a top firewood pick alongside oak, maple, and hickory. Among the 500 types of pecan trees, you won’t have any trouble finding the ideal type for burning, as it’s available in abundance.
Most pecan trees are suitable for the fireplace as they’re all similar in density. In addition, you can count on pecan wood to keep your home warm, as it burns exceptionally hot. So, if you’re looking for firewood to place in your fireplace in the winter, look no further than pecan wood.
Is Pecan Wood Good Firewood?
Pecan wood is ideal firewood for various reasons. Pecan wood burns much longer and hotter than other hardwoods but doesn’t create as much smoke. These characters make it ideal for firewood, barbecuing, and cooking.
It’s also worth noting that pecan wood had aromatic smoke, making it a popular barbecuing option. In addition, this slow-burning wood won’t make the meat taste too smokey. Pecan wood is also a great pick to burn for a campfire and grilling, giving the food a unique flavor without the smoky undertones.
This wood is also ideal for outdoor fireplaces, as it can burn for a long time without causing runny noses or teary eyes. Here are a few characteristics that make pecan wood ideal firewood.
Once cut to the right cord size, pecan wood should have a smoky flavor for 12–18 months. Its longevity and aroma make it ideal firewood, but you must store it in a dry area above the ground. Letting the wood dry out naturally to retain its longevity is important.
Moisture can damage the smoke, taste, and flavor pecan wood infuses in your food. You’ll need moderately flavored pecan wood for barbecuing or cooking, so it’s best to let it dry out for some time—the drier the pecan wood, the more muted the flavor.
For the perfectly mellow seasoning, use pecan wood within 12–18 months. However, we recommend using it after 12 months if you need pecan wood for a campfire. At that point, the smell won’t be too overpowering while retaining its longevity.
British Thermal Unit (BTU)
Another reason pecan wood is ideal firewood is its BTU, which can go as high as 28. This wood has the same BTU as hickory, another popular pick for firewood. A high BTU indicates the wood’s ability to provide heat even in the coldest months.
Once seasoned properly, pecan is one of the few hardwoods that produce such high levels of heat in its optimal burning condition.
Although its BTU and seasoning time is ideal for burning, pecan wood has some downfalls too. For example, it has a high moisture content of 24%. However, it seasons quickly and dries well, so its moisture content isn’t a factor to worry about.
Pecan wood’s sap and resin content won’t bother you in the long run. However, you’ll notice the moisture content reducing by 50% within just one year on a firewood rack. At that point, the wood will only have a sap/resin content of 12%.
It’s worth noting that the moisture level of pecan wood affects its smell before you burn it. You’ll find that pecan wood, once perfectly seasoned, has an appealing, slightly nutty smell, which seeps into your food while barbecuing.
The smell of pecan wood’s smoke often has notes of vanilla and pecan nuts, giving your food a mild sweet flavor. Even after you put the fire out, the pleasant smell may linger throughout your home for a few hours. At the same time, it often emits odorless smoke, especially compared to other hardwoods.
Lastly, pecan wood’s smoke, or lack thereof, makes it the ideal firewood. Since it’s similar to hickory in many ways, their smoke patterns also match. The varying levels of smoke depend on the wood’s dryness and seasoning before burning.
If the pecan wood is only half seasoned, it will emit much higher levels of smoke than usual. However, once perfectly seasoned, pecan wood will burn for a long period while only emitting limited smoke. As a result, it’s the ideal pick for fireplace wood.
How to Split Pecan Wood
Before using pecan wood in your fireplace, you must learn how to split it. It may not seem important, but splitting wood a certain way can influence its burning process. More importantly, it helps ensure that the wood fits comfortably in the fireplace.
The main tip to easily splitting pecan wood is to ensure that the wood hasn’t been sitting around too long. It’s ideal to split it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the longer it sits around, the harder the wood gets, which makes it difficult to split.
As we mentioned, the drier the pecan wood is, the milder its flavor will be. That is why you must split pecan wood as early as possible since it helps dry the wood faster by exposing the insides. In most cases, you should be able to split pecan wood with an axe easily. However, you can also use a gas-powered splitter for better ease.
Buying Pecan Wood
Burning pecan wood is no different than any other hardwood, like hickory or oak, but the buying process may differ. The most common question about pecan wood is whether to buy seasoned wood or season it yourself. Luckily, pecan wood is easy to season at home, so it’s an ideal option for those on a budget.
Buying unseasoned pecan wood is cheaper than buying seasoned wood, and it also allows you to enjoy it at a later date. Due to its versatility, pecan wood is ideal for the fireplace, cooking, and barbecuing.
Regarding the price, pecan wood typically costs around $150 per unseasoned cord. However, seasoned pecan wood is much more expensive, costing at least $200 per cord. If you’re buying pre-seasoned pecan wood, we’d recommend ensuring that the seasoning time is at least a year.
How to Season Pecan Wood
There’s no better way to season pecan wood than with a kiln, which is unfortunately not easy to access. So instead, you may leave the wood to season naturally, which requires you to build a platform in a dry area above the ground. Then, after splitting the wood, you may leave it to dry on the platform, and it will season naturally.
However, you must also protect the pecan wood from moisture and rain to ensure the ideal seasoning condition. A large tarp may help keep the wood cool and dry for seasoning. You may need to wait between four and six months for pecan wood to be perfectly seasoned.
To ensure the pecan wood burns for a long time in your fireplace, you must let it dry adequately. A moisture meter can help you test the moisture content of the wood before burning, which should be 12%, ideally.
Pecan wood is incredibly versatile and long-lasting firewood. It produces exceptional heat, burns for a long time, and emits a sweet, nutty smell. Plus, it’s easy to split, dry, and season at home so that you can buy the more affordable, unseasoned cords.
Of course, you can opt for other, more potent hardwoods to burn, but there’s no doubt that pecan wood has its specialties. Knowing its qualities as firewood, you can burn it safely and keep your home warm even in the coldest winters.
Featured Image Credit: Oliver Fulop-Crisan, Shutterstock