Walton's Is Dropping the Ball


  • Regular Contributors

    Austin, Happy New Year! You’ve done a good job with Walton’s on-line presence and Meatgistics site. I thought I’d send you a Resolution for the New Year: If you read through all the threads that complain about inconsistent results I believe you will conclude, as I have, that Walton’s is failing when it comes to clear, accurate, instructions for the use of its seasonings, additives and cures.

    Each product should be labeled telling the user the amount to use in cups, tablespoons and teaspoons; not X.XXX ounces or XXX grams per XXX pounds of meat. Give us the amounts for 5 lbs, 10 lbs, and 25 pounds of meat. And give us the amounts in a standardized, easy, format for every seasoning, additive, or cure you sell.

    I know you have a “Conversion Chart” that purports to scale down the amounts of seasoning, additive or cure from a 25 lb. meat block to smaller amounts to use for less meat, but your chart is f’d up. Each time I have tried to download or copy it, it has failed to come through as a readable document. Don’t you guys have Excel spreadsheets or Word tables? Have you heard of PDF?

    It would also help us folks out here in smokerland, if you gave better descriptions of each seasoning, additive, or cure. How, exactly, is this stuff used? When starting in this activity of processing meat into sausage or cured products it’s damn confusing trying to figure out which binder, enhancer, cure or seasoning to use. Doing it wrong and be expensive and unsafe. Most of us don’t have the luxury of making batch after batch of something, changing one element at a time trying to get the recipe right. I’m afraid, as loyal as I am to Waltons, if you can’t get this fixed I’ll be looking elsewhere for my seasonings, additives and cures.
    I hope you guys put some effort into fixing this as a priority in the new year.
    Best,

    G



  • @gadahl As
    Much as I hate to say it, I agree. I really like what Walton’s has to offer but improvement to the conversion chart, labeling and recipes for specific spice mixes would be appreciated.


  • Power User

    For any of the Walton’s suggested recipes I’d say that a digital scale is a wise investment. They can be purchased for around $10. I just convert the package content weight to grams and divide by 25 to get my per pound measurement. When it comes to baking bread or other items I don’t use anything but grams. It’s critical. Weight measurements are simply more accurate than cups or spoons.


  • Regular Contributors

    Waltons has great customer service!! I agree that better labeling would be a great idea.



  • Read the bible (Great Sausage recipes and meat curing) by Rytek Kutas, buy a digital scale and a calculator. Then read the bible again. It ain’t rocket science, its making sausage.
    Waltons has meatgistics, youtube, etc. Way more than any other sausage retailer offers us.





  • I have three kitchen scales that read in ounces, pounds, grams and kilograms. To change them, I just push a button. I even have one that gives nutritional value for many different foods in its 8000 food database including fast foods. It weighs in ounces or grams and when linked to a smart phone it can convert weights to different measurements, including by volume.



  • @gadahl I think you may be missing the spirt of making your own meats. Austin, Jonathon, Walton’s and Excalibur seasonings do a great job of giving us a starting point. However, that’s all it should be is a starting point. Trying different amounts and even types of seasonings is all part of the journey when making your own sausages, snack sticks, smoked meats or anything else cooked at home. I’ve never seen a supply company offer so many video tutorials outside of Walton’s. I make videos for our business and have an idea on the crazy amount of work that has gone into their training videos.

    I wouldn’t want to make a large batch of anything without testing it in small amounts first. On every new recipe we make several ½ lb samples with the recommended amount of seasoning then more & less added. I use a slider press and bake each of the samples. After tasting them side by side, we often make more adjustments and then come up with a final recipe that works for us to make 5, 10 or 25 lbs at a time. Sure, it takes an afternoon to test but that’s why I make our own meats to get just what we want. It’s rare exactly what Excalibur, Austin or Jonathon recommend works perfectly for us. The best part of processing your own meat is getting everything right for your family. I’m not talking just seasoning amount but also deciding what casings to use our how fine or course to grind the meat for each sausage.

    Next time you grind a pork shoulder save some meat and package several 1-2 pound bags for testing later on. It won’t take long to test a recipe when you don’t have to grind the meat. As for the conversions Google will easily convert any oz or lb into grams for you. Grams really should be how you measure your spices. Then it’s a very simple formula in Excel to covert for any size batch. I save each recipe with its own Excel spreadsheet and just input the amount of meat we plan to use that day. It instantly tells me how much seasoning, water, binder, accelerator, cheese and any other ingredient needed. Since I adjust every recipe amount the conversion charts wouldn’t work for us anyway.



  • I don’t agree with the suggested volume measures. Using weights and percentages is the only way to go. As such, it would be nice if Walton’s would include the percentages.

    I do agree that the various files should be downloadable in standard formats - pdf, Excel, Word.

    One last comment, some of the seasoning packages need better labels. Ex. Holly PSS - I had no idea that is was the breakfast sausage seasoning that I ordered.



  • If you have been making sausage I think the frustration of inconsistent product haunts us all. Over the years I’ve found three variables that I pay close attention too.
    I convert all recipes to grams and use a digital scale. This is especially important if you work with cultures.
    It’s easier to “tweak” recipes when you keep the input meat weight consistent from batch to batch and adjust percentages of ingredients to your likening.
    I have found the percentage of fat in the mix is probably the biggest obstacle for consistent finished product. For example if you are making 25 lbs. of venison summer sausage and you follow a recipe that calls for 7 lbs. of pork and 18 lbs. of venison what is the percentage of fat in the 7 lbs. of pork? If you just grind up a couple of pork butts what percentage of fat have you actually blended into your mix? I have found that being aware of this percentage is as important as anything for achieving consistent results.


  • Regular Contributors

    For those who have replied to my original post, let me make one thing clear: I think Walton’s does a great job of educating its customers and responding to our questions and problems here at Meatgistics. I credit Austin and Jonathan for all their hard work making the information accessable. My point is that as good as Walton’s is, there are a few little areas for improvement. One area that has been frustrating for me as a consumer has been the inconsistent instructions in recipes and on the labels of seasonings, additives, and cures. Also, for me, the “Conversion Chart” is more difficult to use than it should be.

    I have been making sausage for a while, now, and I’ve made some mistakes. I try not to make the same mistake twice. I do have a digital scale and a copy of the Rytek Kutas “Bible.” I measure my seasonings and additives by weight. But not everyone has a scale. For many users, especially those new to the art and science of sausage making, common kitchen measurments are more useful. All I ask is that Walton’s take a look at improving the descriptions of seasonings, additives, and cures and that the Conversion Chart get a re-do to make it user friendly. My only intent is to make this easier for us all, and help Walton’s continue to improve.
    Best regards,
    G


  • Regular Contributors

    @mikelies Thanks for your comment. Good point on testing. See my second post.
    G



  • Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
    As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
    I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
    Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
    Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
    I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
    Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.



  • I have no problem oin to the conversion chart and ettin the amounts. Simple math can be used to convert seasonins and thins. Hell I am totally blind and have made ham, jerkey, bacon, and many other thins usin the seasonins from Walton’s inc.


  • Regular Contributors

    I’m sitting here having a glass of wine catching up on post and LMAO. Thinking of which kind of sausage i’m going to do next. I hear Lot’s of good points. I spent many many hundreds of $ on equipment including my 10$ digital scale.
    Before the charts and even now, my wife would ask why it’s taking so long to measure ingredients, because I do off poundage some times, and its whats on hand. (But measure twice cut once.) … Easy grams or tbs,etc. would be nice… I think the folks at Walton’s deserve a Blue Ribbon for there great work. I thank them very much. They are right there for all questions, no matter how many times they have heard it or how stupid of one I ask.


  • Power User

    Volume vs Weight
    There is a fundamental difference between cups and ounces. I have family recipes that are at least 75 years old and all are by weight. I think we need to keep in mind that Walton’s is a commercial supplier that has entered the retail market. My digital scale is a mandatory piece of equipment in my operation. I also feel Walton’s is vetting the spice mixes so doing a test run of prepackaged mixes is a waste of time. If you want small batches a little math will get you there. Rock on fellas best customer service around!!!



  • @gadahl Or better yet, tell us how much to use per pound of meat. I usually do not have 5# or 10#. I have 6.4#, for example. Would be nice to just multiply the per pound amount by the pounds I have to get the spice amount.


  • Walton's Employee

    @njwhite2 I’m a little confused, that is what the conversion chart does, it shows you the weight and the volume you would need to do 1 lb and 5 lb batches. The thought process is that if you have a 7 lb batch and wanted to do it by volume you would use 1 of the 5 lb batch amounts and 2 of the 1 lb amounts?

    If you are on the fly and can’t get to a computer to access it the easiest way is to divide the weight of the bag, lets say it’s 2 lb, by the batch size, most of the ones you will be dealing with are 25 lb batches. So 2 ÷ 25 = .08 and if you were making a 6 lb batch it would be .08 X 6 = 0.48 lb for a 6 lb batch.

    Also, scales are absolutely going to be more accurate than volume measurements. Investing in a scale that will measure by the fraction of oz and can convert to grams is well worth the money in my opinion.

    Another point on dividing into smaller batches is you should shake that bag to try to mix up all the seasonings in there. If you have something with larger particle size, like Mustard Seeds, they have a tendency to migrate towards the bottom of the bag. Shaking the bag up still isnt going to get you a perfect representation of the seasoning in a divided batch, but it will at least give you a chance!



  • I have cooked and baked for a living for over 30 years. Whether i am cooking,baking, or making sausage i am 95% or more using a gram scale. It is easier,faster, and more accurate way to get it done. Now let me ask or give you something to think about i do not know how many of you reload your own shells be it shotgun,rifle,or pistol… but if i gave you a conversion chart and said it would be close enough. would you trust that ? In the terms of things like using cure or pink salt to little and your meat could go bad and food poison you. to much and you could poison yourself with pink salt. a good gram scale is worth it’s weight in gold this is the one i use at home the most as it weights down to .01 of a gram https://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-Scales-LB-501-Digital/dp/B005UGBG20/ref=sr_1_6?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1549056962&sr=1-6&keywords=gram+scale&refinements=p_89%3AAmerican+Weigh+Scales


  • Power User

    @pepperman18 I took over cooking duties for the family when I was in Jr high…30 years later I’m still cooking dinner for my folks several nights a week. I always struggled with scratch made baked goods…until I got a scale. Instant game changer!



  • @joe-hell I have been cooking meals for my father 24/7 sense nov of 2005 when my mother passed… another game changer is a chamber style vacuum sealer… and yes i know they are expensive but so worth their weigh in gold for the stuff you can do with them. i marinate meat…make quick pickles…make quick freezer meals for dad to heat in the microwave … store bulk foods…put up my deer… make home made bacon… make emergency packs for the car ( hat and gloves,candles, ect… ) while food save style ( where the bag is on the outside of the machine ) are cheaper the bag cost will kill you…and you can not do half the stuff with it that a chamber sealer will do.


  • Power User

    @pepperman18 Agreed! I have the most basic vacuum sealer at this time but it’s paid for itself many times over. It’s a kitchen must have for sure


  • Regular Contributors

    I’ve decided, thanks to all the posts following my original post on 12 Jan 19, to amend my proposed “Resolution” for Austin Walton’s New Year’s attention:
    First, I continue to see a need for improvement in the instructions for use of seasonings, additives and cures. I’m convinced that the instructions should include BOTH typical American receipe volume measures (cups, tablespoons, teaspoons, etc.) AND measurement by weight. Many users, me included, have digital scales and use weight to determine the amount of additives, seasonings and cure per amount of meat. However, I also follow and sometimes adapt recipes from some of the classic sources, like Rytek Kutas’ “Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing” and “Home Sausage Making” by Perry & Reavis. These and other authorities all list their ingredients using traditional volume measures, not weight. Kutas, for example, shows the 8 ingredients for Fresh Pork Sausage (Breakfast) listed as ingredient amounts for 25 pounds of meat and for 10 pounds of meat, all the ingredients listed in traditional volume measures. There is still room for improvement in the Walton’s Conversion Chart.
    Second, since I usually make sausage based on the weight of the meat in hand, and not based on a “standard” 25 pound meat block, every recipe requires some conversion math. For example, I just made 23.6 pounds of pork breakfast sausage, stuffed into Walton’s pre-tubed sheep casing (24-26 mm) and using my own secret recipe. I had to convert the seasoning measures from my recipe for 10 pounds of meat up, for the amount of meat I was processing. (23.6/10 = 2.36 X the 10 lb. recipe measured amount) Sometimes this requires a little rounding, but this is salt, pepper, sage, and other spices, not nuclear physics.
    I want to say again how great I think Austin and Jonathan are at getting information out to those of us who labor in the art and science of sausage. Walton’s products and the information at Meatgistics are great. Using the Internet and You Tube to inform us are great advances. Walton’s should be proud of its commitment to its customers. My only suggestion is that if the instructions for use of seasonings, cures and additives may be simplified and made more clear, it would benefit us all.
    Finally, if you haven’t tried Walton’s pre-tubed natural casing, by all means do give it a try. The ease of loading Walton’s pre-tubed casing on the stuffer tube is well worth the price, both in time saved and in reduced frustration. I hope never again to try to sort through a skein of dried salted sheep casing trying to fit that tiny opening onto my stuffer’s smallest tube. Walton’s pre-tubed casing is the answer!
    Thanks to all who have followed the original post. I appreciate all the comments and advice. I hope this helps.
    Good luck,
    G


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