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Evaporating Maple Sap on an Offset Smoker

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Ok. I've decided to tap the 10 Maple trees in my yard this coming February for the first time. I've been looking into building firepits, etc for boiling the sap down. Then I had an idea, why not use my offset smoker? I figure it can be done one of two ways, building a fire inside the smoker chamber itself or using the firebox. I'll be using a couple of large chafing pans for the sap.

 

Anyone have any ideas? Or has anyone here done this before?

post #2 of 7
Got a propane turkey fryer burner? We use those for harvest canning event here.

RG
post #3 of 7

To make the Maple Syrup you need to boil the sap to remove the water and skim the impuities that float to the top. It also takes A LOT of sap to make a small amount of syrup. A Smoker may not be very practical to get the job done. Check this out from the University of Vermont...JJ

 

http://library.uvm.edu/maple/faq/

How many gallons of sap does it take to make maple syrup?
Using the “Rule of 86,” you can figure that the number of gallons of sap you need to produce one gallon of syrup is equal to 86 gallons divided by the percent of sugar. So if you start with sap that is 2% sugar, you would need to evaporate 43 gallons to water (86 gallons / 2% = 43 gallons) to make one gallon of syrup.

How much maple syrup does one tree produce?
The volume of sap produced during a single season can vary anywhere from 10 to 20 gallons of sap, or 1/3 of a gallon of maple syrup. The volume depends on the tree, weather conditions, length of the sap season, and the method for collecting sap – producers using gravity lines or buckets generally get 10-14 gallons of sap per tree, while producers using vacuum tubing generally get 15-20 gallons of sap per tree.

 

post #4 of 7

Don't over tap your tree's, and you may want to know what kind of maples you have. Different maples produce different amounts of sugar in their sap. Heavier concentrated sap from a sugar maple will boil faster then a red or Norway, and produce more syrup per gallon. When you tap make sure you have cold nights and warm days. Do your boiling asap - so the little micro's don't start growing. I hope you really enjoy maple syrup because it is time consuming(but fun like an all night smoke). One more thing - I wouldn't recommend using a smoker to boil. It's kinda like making a cup of coffee using a bic lighter. Radioguy had the right idea, a turkey fryer w/allot of propane would work better.

 

Chris.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have Sugar Maples in my yard and they're the only type of maple in the woods across the street and in my neighbor's yards. I wanted to start with my trees, see if I like doing it and then move into the woods and possibly my neighbor's yards.

 

I've done hours upon hours of research into tapping and sugaring. Reading the Mapletraders forum, watching videos, reading the Cornell University site, etc. I didn't want to spend money on propane (it kinda defeats the purpose of free syrup) for the turkey boiler I use for my still. With lots of free firewood at my disposal, I thought maybe throwing it into the smoke chamber of my smoker might work about the same as building a firepit (with the fire directly underneath the pans).

post #6 of 7
I have done this a couple years now, thought I had posted some of it here but I was looking for links to provide but apparently I did not post here. Anyway here is from my first year, which was done using turkey fryers. They work but be prepared to buy alot of propane. Its only worth it because it will give you a look into the hobby and let you decide if you want to go further...
http://www.smoked-meat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13897&highlight=maple+syrup

So being i decided I wanted to get into this a little deeper, and not have the propane cost I bought an evaporator pan from a guy who sells on ebay, he also is on the Mapletrader.com forum. Good guy to deal with. In 2 years the pan cost will be fully paid for because of the propane I no longer have to buy. I built this heating unit from an old oil barrel.
http://www.smoked-meat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27807&highlight=maple+syrup

And here it is at work... this past spring, there are lots of pics both on page 1 and then another group on page 2.
http://www.smoked-meat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27836&highlight=maple+syrup

This past spring I processed over a thousand gallons of sap with this setup, was a boom year and I just plain got worn out doing this and going to work every day. It is important to get it processed asap.

But to be honest, if you really want options and opinions, the Maple forum is the place to go. Not that the responses you get here are not valid, but there it is specifically maple.
post #7 of 7
I'm tapping a few maples for the first time this weekend. Picked up spiles yesterday. I was planning on using a turkey fryer and finishing on electric stove.
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