What is Mezcal? (Not the drink)

So, my husband brought home a chunk of something called Mezcal from Gonzalez Northgate Market. It appears to be a chunk of agave, smoked or steamed.
We can't find anything about it online. He just tore some strips off of it and ate it, and he really loves it. For me, I can't eat it because the smoky smell makes me feel like my throat is going to close up.
So, what is this stuff exactly and what does one do with it? It's very sweet.

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