The most delicious thing you’ve probably never heard of.
We make it from the bark of a tree called “Shagbark” hickory. It’s also called “Scaleybark” in some places. You can find out more about the tree, the syrup, and our story under the About tab.
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The original smoky flavored Shagbark Hickory Syrup will be the first one to hit the shelves. But watch out for our new and exciting Chili Petin Shagbark Hickory Syrup and our Cinnamon Infused Shagbark Hickory Syrup, too!
It’s $12/bottle, but check out the Shop page to get discounts on a 3-bottle set.
About the Shagbark Hickory Tree
Shagbark hickory also goes by the name of Scalybark Hickory, but they’re both the same tree. The latin binomial name is Carya ovata.
Well the shagbark syrup is different than maple syrup. Although the tree can be tapped, for this one, it’s the bark that is used.
Here’s how the tree looks in the wild:
We only take the loose bark from the tree’s trunk. Taking too much would leave the tree vulnerable to infestation or disease. If someone is logging in our area and they’ve downed the shagbark trees, we’ll ask to take the bark from those as well.
The leaves of a shagbark hickory tree looks a lot like the leaves on other nut trees. They grow in a pattern of seven leaflets per leaf.
Several varieties of hickory grows in our Wild Ozark woods, and they all make nuts, too. But not all of them taste as good as the shagbark.
Eventually we’ll try to come up with some affordable products made from the nuts. If you’ve ever tried shelling hickory nuts, you’ll understand why anything made from the nut meats would be expensive!
Fortunately, it’s the bark that we use.
The Burnt Kettle Story
My husband comes up with some tasty ideas for things to make here on the Wild Ozark homestead. Last time it was home roasted coffee. That was so successful it’s now one of our homestead standards.
This time his idea was shagbark hickory syrup.
Apparently, this kind of syrup is an old-timey thing. There are lots of variations on the recipe online. Rob was looking up recipes for hickory pie (like pecan pie but using hickories instead) and he stumbled on a post about the syrup and his creative wheels started turning.
We gathered some bark so we could give it a try, because the idea of making syrup from it sure did intrigue.
On a Friday eve that fall, Rob made the syrup. Delicious!
It wasn’t long afterwards that we started thinking bigger.
Once we’d jumped through the main hoops to get a legal business started, we hit a snag when it came time for liability insurance.
Because our business made things other than food products, we couldn’t insure it. So we had to create a new business just for the syrup and other future food products.
So what started out as an experiment in our home kitchen has built into a full-fledged business and LLC company: Burnt Kettle Foods.
A basic recipe for Shagbark Hickory Syrup
Rob modified the original recipe some to make it taste more like we like and you can do the same to suit your own tastes. Here’s a rough outline of how it’s done:
Gather bark from the tree
Clean bark by washing and scrubbing
Break bark into smaller pieces
Roast bark in the oven
Add bark to a pot and cover by several inches with water
Decoct the bark by cooking on very low heat (no boiling, no bubbles breaking)
Remove bark from water, strain liquid, return to pot
Barely simmer to concentrate to nice dark color
For each cup of liquid add 2 cups sugar
Cook until sugar is completely dissolved and thickens
Pour into jars
We’re cooking large batches at the Food Innovation Kitchen in Fayetteville Arkansas.
If you know of any good chefs who might like to try our product in their kitchens, let me know. Or let them know! I’ll send samples to anyone interested in wholesale purchases.
We sell them retail at $12/bottle on the website, $15/bottle at Etsy, and it’s available at various locations throughout northwest Arkansas.
Burnt Kettle c/o Robert Riedel
P.O. Box 173
Kingston, AR 72742
Recipes and Ideas
Here’s one of my favorite recipes and a way to use the syrup – on homemade bread pudding!
Wild Ozark Bread Pudding with Burnt Kettle Shagbark Hickory Syrup
4 slices of white bread
¾ cup of sugar (use up to a cup if you like it sweeter)
4 farm fresh eggs
½ tablespoon vanilla
¼ cup melted butter
Enough milk to bring it all to 2 cups
Toast the bread then tear the slices up into bite-sized pieces.
Put the toasted, torn bread into a pie pan.
Add the vanilla, eggs, butter, and sugar to a 4 cup measuring cup.
Add enough milk to bring up the volume to 2 cups.
Stir until well mixed.
Pour over the bread in the pie pan.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Bake at 350 until done to taste (some like it soft, some like it more firm or dried out). I like it done to the point where it’s moist but not so soft-set that it still jiggles.
Drizzle your Burnt Kettle Shagbark Hickory Syrup over the top before digging in, or pass the bottle around after serving for guests to add it themselves.
Cornbread and Ice Cream
Bake a pan of fresh cornbread. I make mine from scratch using a recipe my mawmaw gave me. She didn’t have it written down, so I just had to watch and I wrote down what she did.
Let me know if you need a recipe and I’ll share mine.
You can use whatever kind of cornbread you like. My favorite is a little on the sweet side and large crumbed.
Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of a buttered slice of that cornbread.
Drizzle on the Shagbark Hickory Syrup
Top with chopped pecans (pan roast these in butter for extra yummy)
Voila! The most delicious thing we’ve ever tasted. We only buy very small portions of ice cream so we don’t eat it too often.
Grilled Chicken, Wild Rice and Shiitake Mushrooms
#whatsfordinner Grilled chicken glazed with our Shagbark Hickory Syrup, Shiitake mushrooms from market yesterday along with some of own dried oyster mushrooms sautéed in butter with garlic and onions, and rice pilaf. MmmmmmMmmmmm!#goodeating
Injected Smoked Turkey
We injected our smoked Thanksgiving turkey with our shagbark hickory syrup, too, and the results were an amazingly tasty and moist bird!
Customer Feedback and Recipes
If you’ve found a favorite way to use Burnt Kettle Shagbark Hickory Syrup, share it in the comments. We LOVE hearing how you’ve used our product.
Here’s some of the ways our customers have used their bottles of shagbark hickory syrup. Leave a comment to share yours!
From a FB post by Christine Farr – “I wish you tons of success. The syrup is amazing! Forget maple syrup – I’ve been rationing the bottle I bought from you in July, but will soon be needing a refill.”
From a FB post by Ketha Brashear – “This syrup is the bomb !! Baked these smoked pork chops after brushing them with this Burnt Kettle Shagbark Hickory Syrup. I pan seared the chops, then brushed them with the Burnt Kettle Shagbark Syrup, then put them in the oven for a few minutes. They would have been just as good if I had left them in the skillet and put the lid on for 10 or 15 minutes on really low. Delish ! I am basting my Thanksgiving ham ALL OVER with this syrup before it goes in the oven.”