In the kitchen last night, I was dousing a couple of chicken breasts with one of those commercial sauces ostensibly imbued with hickory smoke, and I got to wondering: how much hickory wood goes to make stuff tool handles, flooring, sporting goods and how much ends up in the barbecue pit?
I subsequently expended much of my vaunted GoogleFu trying to get something resembling an answer, but couldn’t come up with anything much more than this:
Carya tomentosa (Mockernut hickory, mockernut, white hickory, whiteheart hickory, hognut, bullnut) is a tree in the Juglandaceae or Walnut family. It is the most abundant of the hickories. It is long lived, sometimes reaching the age of 500 years. A high percentage of the wood is used for products where strength, hardness, and flexibility are needed. It makes an excellent fuelwood, too.
This suggests that furniture outweighs flavoring in the current scheme of things, which is fine with me. I didn’t follow up on the nuts, but I figure sooner or later some wise guy will want them ground up and blended into a cocktail: it’s a hickory daiquiri, Doc.