Mesquite is a type of wood that almost all people who love BBQ-ing have on hand. One common question that arises is whether mesquite can be burned in a fireplace.
Mesquite wood is a good option for fireplaces as it has a pleasant aroma, lasts long, and heats up just as much as oak, with less popping. However, mesquite produces a lot of smoke which can be problematic for indoor use. When burning mesquite, clean the chimney often and extinguish the fire before leaving the room.
In this article, we’ll explore the potential benefits, the properties of mesquite wood, and drawbacks of using it as firewood, and whether it is safe and effective to burn in a fireplace. Let’s jump in.
Burning Mesquite in a Fireplace
Mesquite wood is a popular choice for grilling and smoking meats due to its distinct flavor and high heat output. However, when it comes to burning mesquite in a fireplace, there are a few things to consider.
- High heat output: Mesquite is a dense hardwood that burns hot and produces a lot of heat, making it ideal for use in fireplaces, wood stoves, and outdoor fire pits.
- Long burn time: Due to its density, mesquite burns slowly and evenly, resulting in a longer burn time than softer woods like pine or cedar.
- Pleasant aroma: Mesquite has a distinct, sweet, and smoky aroma that many people find pleasant and enjoyable.
- Low smoke production: Compared to some other hardwoods, mesquite produces less smoke and fewer harmful emissions, making it a more eco-friendly option.
- Readily available: Mesquite is abundant in many regions where it grows, which makes it a readily available and affordable source of firewood for many people.
- Versatile: Mesquite can be used not only as firewood but also as a cooking fuel, as it imparts a delicious smoky flavor to grilled and smoked foods.
- Smoke: Mesquite wood is known for producing a lot of smoke, which can be problematic for indoor use. The smoke can cause respiratory issues and leave a strong odor in the house. Also, from experience, mesquite can burn your eyes pretty badly. Therefore, it’s recommended to only burn mesquite in a well-ventilated area, such as an outdoor fireplace or fire pit.
- High heat: Mesquite wood burns hot and fast, which can lead to overheating and potential damage to your fireplace. It’s important to monitor the fire closely and avoid using too much mesquite wood at once. It’s also recommended to use a fire screen to prevent embers from escaping and potentially causing a fire hazard.
- Ash: Mesquite wood can produce a lot of ash, which can build up quickly in your fireplace. It’s important to regularly clean out the ash to prevent blockages and potential fires.
Tip: A wood-burning stove would be a great option, as you won’t get the smoky effect as much.
Overall, while mesquite wood can be used in a fireplace, it’s important to take precautions and use it in a well-ventilated area with close monitoring.
Properties of Mesquite Wood
Mesquite wood is a popular choice for grilling and smoking meats due to its unique flavor profile. Let’s take a closer look at the properties of mesquite wood.
Density: Mesquite wood is known for its high density, which makes it a slow-burning wood. This means that it can provide a long-lasting, steady source of heat.
Moisture Content: The moisture content of mesquite wood can vary depending on the climate and storage conditions. It is important to use properly seasoned mesquite wood for burning in a fireplace, as wet or green wood can produce excess smoke and creosote buildup in the chimney.
Flavor: Mesquite wood is prized for its unique flavor, which is often described as smoky, sweet, and slightly spicy. This flavor profile makes it a popular choice for grilling and smoking meats, but it can also add a pleasant aroma to a fireplace.
Appearance: Mesquite wood is known for its distinctive, dark brown color and tight, swirling grain pattern. It can be a beautiful addition to a fireplace, adding visual interest and warmth to a room.
Before burning mesquite in your fireplace, it is important to take some safety precautions to prevent any accidents or damage to your home. Here are some important safety tips to keep in mind:
- Ensure that your fireplace is in good condition and has been inspected by a professional before burning mesquite. This will help prevent any potential hazards.
- Never burn mesquite that has been treated with chemicals or has been painted, as this can release harmful toxins into your home.
- Always use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks and embers from flying out of the fireplace and causing a fire.
- Keep flammable materials, such as curtains, furniture, and decorations, at least three feet away from the fireplace.
- Never leave a fire unattended, and always ensure that the fire is completely extinguished before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.
By following these safety precautions, you can enjoy the warmth and beauty of a mesquite fire in your fireplace while keeping everyone safe.
Alternative Uses for Mesquite Wood
Besides being used as firewood, mesquite wood has various other uses. Here are some of the alternative uses of mesquite wood:
- Cooking: Mesquite wood is commonly used for smoking meats and imparting a unique flavor to the food. It is especially popular in Texas-style barbecue.
- Furniture: Mesquite wood is known for its durability and strength, making it a popular choice for furniture, flooring, and other decorative items.
- Landscaping: Mesquite wood can be used for landscaping purposes, such as building fences, trellises, and retaining walls.
- Woodworking: Mesquite wood is a popular choice among woodworkers due to its unique grain patterns and color variations. It can be used for making bowls, cutting boards, and other decorative items.
Overall, mesquite wood is a versatile and valuable resource that can be used in a variety of ways beyond just burning in a fireplace.
Cutting and Splitting Mesquite
When cutting and splitting mesquite, it is important to follow certain steps to ensure that the wood is properly prepared for burning. First, you should begin by selecting a mature mesquite tree that has a diameter of at least six inches. This will provide you with the best quality firewood. Next, you should use a chainsaw or a hand saw to cut the tree down to a manageable size. Once you have cut the tree down, you will need to remove the branches and twigs from the trunk.
Once you have removed all of the branches and twigs from the mesquite tree trunk, you can begin the process of splitting the wood. To do this, you will need a splitting maul or a sledgehammer and a wedge. You can begin by placing the mesquite log on a solid surface, such as a chopping block or a stump. Then, using the splitting maul or sledgehammer, strike the wedge into the center of the log. This will split the log into two halves. Continue to split the halves until you have created smaller pieces that are about six to eight inches in diameter.
After you have split the mesquite into smaller pieces, you will need to stack the wood in a dry, well-ventilated area to allow it to dry out. This process can take several weeks to several months, depending on the humidity and temperature in your area. It is important to keep the wood dry to prevent mold and rot from developing on the surface.
Once the mesquite firewood has dried out, it is ready to be used in your fireplace. Mesquite wood burns best when it is seasoned, which means that it has been allowed to dry out completely. This will ensure that the wood burns cleanly and produces a hot fire with minimal smoke.
Cutting and splitting mesquite can provide an excellent source of firewood for your fireplace. By following these simple steps, you can prepare the mesquite wood for burning and enjoy a hot, long-lasting fire in your home. Just be sure to take the time to properly dry out the wood and keep your fireplace clean to ensure that you get the most out of your mesquite firewood.
Here’s a quick video on how to split your mesquite.
Need More Help?
You can always ask us here at Fireplace Tips, but you should know the other resources available to you! Here are the resources we recommend.
- Chimney Safety Institute of North America (CSIA): The CSIA is your BEST resource for fireplace and chimney safety at home. They’re a non-profit governed by a volunteer board of directors dedicated to the education, training, and certification of chimney and industry related professionals.
- Self-Sufficiency and Off-Grid: If you’re like me and passionate about off-grid and self-sufficiency, see my number 1 resource—Abundance Plus. Check out their Frugal Homesteading Course on growing 90% of your own food. Get 7-days free and 10% off with the code: TYLER10