Hickory Syrup.

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
Feb 23, 2010
Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada
I found a post recently where a member had used some hickory syrup.

Having never heard of it before, I did a little searching on the net, and came across this site;http://davescupboard.blogspot.com/2011/01/making-shagbark-hickory-syrup.html

Following the instructions I ended up with 1.5 litres of syrup.

Wow, this is good stuff, it has the sweetness of maple syrup, with the flavour of hickory.
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I've seen this mentioned in my recent travels around the web, thanks for the link
It sounds good, but is it really worth all that trouble? Do you like it better than pure maple syrup?
Do I like it better? I can't say I do, but then I grew up with maple syrup. 

As for it being worth the trouble, I could see myself making some a few times a year, just to have some to use as a glaze, or on pancakes & French toast once in a while.
It sounds good, but is it really worth all that trouble? Do you like it better than pure maple syrup?
   Thanks for the link AK, I got a shag bark in the back yard that il'll have to try it on.
Well, I got some good news regarding my hickory syrup.

First, a bit of back story.

There's a local BBQ place that I went to to get some hickory bark. They were nice enough to give me a few nice slabs. So, after I made the syrup, I dropped a bottle off as my way of saying thanks. 

I stopped by today to see what they thought of it, and it was enjoyed quite a bit. They liked the fact that it wasn't as sweet tasting as maple syrup.. They spoke to their wood supplier & basically I'm good for all the hickory bark I want. I'm just in the process of working out the details.
Are ya saying you're going into the hickory syrup bisiness? If so I wish ya luck.

And if the snow melts some more I might be able to get to my hickory tree for some bark.

Doing something you have never done before, just doing it is half the fun.  Never thought of steeping bark to make a flavor agent.  I wonder what pecan bark would taste like,  I guess you could get into trouble using a tree or plant that there isn't a historic use of.  I know the old timers would steep willow bark to make a tonic that contain lots of the salicylic acid (aspirin).  I would think that any hardwood, non-heavy resin tree would have potential.

Sounds like a good use of Internet time, researching local plants to make unique flavorings.

Thanks for posting,

Nah, if I went into the business, that would be too much like work. Maybe I'll just make some every once in a while & see if I can trade for free meals!!!
Might have been my post earlier about the hickory syrup...I don't have shagbark around here or I might try making some...it's definitely not as sweet as maple and has a distinctive flavor.  I used it in place of maple on one of my bacon processes and it came out wonderful!  The hickory cure with hickory smoke!  It does make a sweet bacon though...

For other hardwoods for making a syrup, I know around me (PA Dutch) they do make a pecan syrup that is really good... not sure how they do it.  After getting this hickory syrup I wondered how many other hardwoods you could either use the bark or the sap from...is maple the only tree that you can gather sap from to make a syrup?  I know sassafrass tree bark is used for something medicinal and also a flavoring for soda. It's would be interesting to look at early American recipes to see all the natural things they used for different recipes...
As well as maple sap, one can use birch sap to make syrup. Both trees have sugar in the sap. Sugar maple (Acer Saccharum) is the best because it has the most sugar in the sap. 

Whether using sap with pecan, hickory... I don't know.

With the hickory syrup, I boiled the bark to extract flavour. Then added that to a simple sugar syrup, and reduced it to thicken. Whether that would work with pecan,oak, cherry,apple... I don't know as I haven't tried it. It may work, or it may not.
Here in Alaska, we do alot of Birch syrup, and it is deffinately different tasting, consistency, and flavor than maple.  I am about ready to try some birch syrup and use some hickory bark as mentioned--just to enhance the flavor and use it as a basting liquid on bear and moose--also with the thought of some fresh king salmon.. Never hurts to experiment.

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