Hickory – Using Nuts to BBQ

Q: I have a question that is a topic of debate between me and my wife.

We all know that hickory is a wonderful smoker for the barbeque. But do you have any information about using the nuts from the tree as a smoking product?

I believe them to be a bit toxic with the sooty smoke the oils in the nuts produce.

My wife believes otherwise and has directed me to collect large bins full every fall. She sneaks some nuts onto the fire every time we cook out, which we do at least 5 times a week.

Do you have any advice for the use of hickory nuts on a barbeque?

A: Forestry expert Dr. Kim Coder says:

“Hickory nuts (including the hickory tree called a “pecan”) do not have the chemicals in them which generate the sweet hickory smell and flavor people expect from hickory BBQ. Those chemicals are found in the heartwood of hickory trees . Hickory nuts smoke badly from the oils within. Older nuts which have spoiled would generate a rancid off-taste and smell if used.”

Also, read through these posts and you two make a decision together.