Excalibur Seasoning: Part 7 - R&D, Custom Blends, New Flavors
Excalibur Seasoning: Part 7 - R&D, Custom Blends, New Flavors
Learn about Excalibur Seasoning and why you should trust them to blend your seasonings. In part 7, you'll get answers to frequently asked questions about Excalibur Seasoning's "Excalibur Innovation Center", plus FAQ about Custom Blended Seasonings and New Flavor Profiles. Watch the video, read the highlights here, and then post your comments or questions below.
In this episode we talked with John Brewer, the VP of Sales & Marketing at Excalibur Seasoning, about Excalibur Seasoning, their R&D lab, and how custom blends and new flavor profiles are created.
Does Excalibur Seasoning have an R&D department?
They do have an R&D department, which is one thing very unique about them in the industry and what they offer with their R&D lab, plus the people and staff that they’ve assembled to run their “Excalibur Innovation Center”. According to John Brewer, Excalibur Seasoning has one of the best research chefs in the industry, Marlo Mastalerz, and what she is able to develop, the timeline, and turn around for products is incredible in both duplication and new product development.
Can Excalibur duplicate a seasoning blend from another seasoning company, and how does that work?
If a customer is currently buying from another seasoning company, Excalibur Seasoning can match and duplicate that product in the Excalibur Innovation Center. In many circumstances, they can also clean the label up, extend the shelf life and enhance the product’s appearance on the shelf.
How are new flavor profiles created?
New flavor profiles can be created solely by the Excalibur Innovation Center, or it could come from a saleman from Excalibur or Walton’s, or it may come from a customer as a new request for something new, different, or a similar rendition of something existing.
How much do you have to buy to be able to order custom blended seasoning?
For dry seasonings, Excalibur Seasoning has what might be some of the lowest minimums in the industry. Only 100 pounds are required for a custom blend. Many competitors have raised their minimums to 1,000 pounds or more, but Excalibur remains unique by offering a very small minimum of only 100 pounds. Those low minimums allow small and independent processors and others to be unique themselves in their own market place without having to adhere to minimums that are simply unattainable at the 1,000 pound level.
What about minimums for liquid sauce or marinade?
Excalibur also has extremely low minimums for liquids. At only 150 gallons, their minimum is pretty much unheard of in the industry. One of Excalibur Seasoning’s strong points is their ability to produce smaller volumes of seasonings and sauces that others in the industry simply cannot or do not offer.
What is needed to duplicate a seasoning blend and make a new custom blend?
It is extensive, but we make it as easy and painless for a customer as possible. Some of the steps and things needed are:
- Product development form questionaire and ingredient statement
- Formulation of seasoning, if possible
- Physical sample to to review aesthetics
- What is the application, what is it going on, and how much is typically used per batch?
- Does the customer want to exact and identical ingredient statement, or can Excalibur help clean up the label, and make sure the label is following marketplace guidelines.
- Excalibur will begin formulation, and prepare the product as the customer would to compare real-world performance of that seasoning
- Excalibur sends the new seasoning formulation back to the customer for approval, or for necessary tweaking, editing, and a second re-formulation.
Is there a cost for duplicating or matching a seasoning and making a custom blend?
For dry seasoning blends, there is no cost and it is done free of charge.
For liquids and sauces, it is a lot more complicated, so a $500 deposit is required before development. Then, that is refunded back to the customer after the product is approved and the customer has bought a specified amount once they are a customer. This helps cover some basic costs, but is not meant to be a profit center for Excalibur.
Why would a home processor, independent meat processor, large food processor, grocery store, restaurant, etc. trust Excalibur to blend their seasonings?
Consistency. Simply put, Excalibur is going to produce a high quality, safe product, with a high level of integrity and consistency that is hard to beat in any other method. Some customers are afraid of letting go of their proprietary blend that has been in their company or family for generations, but Excalibur has a high level of integrity and guarantees that the customer’s formula is not going to go anywhere or be shared with anyone else. Only that customer has access to their custom blend.
Why are Excalibur’s products so consistent?
Going back to Excalibur’s SQF Level 3 certification, they are going to produce a high quality and safe product, that is consistent and always documented. Batches and lots are always compared visually and by taste to the previous batch and lot. Every ingredient is tracked on the input and output, and they guarantee consistency, repeat-ability, and trace-ability.
Do minimums for custom blends also apply to private label seasonings?
Many private label seasoning are simply an existing Excalibur Seasoning blend. When that is the case, there is no minimum. If a private label seasoning is also a custom blend, then there still is the 100 pound minimum for dry blends or 150 gallon minimum for liquids and sauces.
@scottwaltner i too used to have that same problem until I made my mix about 30 percent fat added non fat powder milk for a binder and mixed till it gets good and sticky and then the rest cooking temp and water shower @ end.
@parksider I am using fibrous casings and soaking in warm water for alt least 30 minutes. I mixed the meat, 20 pounds for about 12 minutes. The casings were tight when I was stuffing them. I was processing at 125 for 1 hour, 140 for 1 hour, 155 for 2 hours and 170 until the internal was 165. I water bathed them, forgot to hang them over night, but just put them in the refrigerator. I didn’t take the internal temp after I water bathed them.
The outside of the sausage does not appear fatty and the flavor is great.
Ive been wrong many times before lol! But i dont feel like it would turn out super good unless you found a seasoning mix that would blend well with the bacon taste which might take some nasty sticks to figure it out. Possibly willies snack stick from waltons might be ok… if you do this please let us know how it turns out. Commercially seems like a bit of a bad thing, the cost of bacon/pork fat is huge. Profit margin would be horrid!
@scottwaltner i agree with parker on a few things. You always need to soak your fibrous summer sausage casings for sure! At least 30 minutes if you got time. Also you dont want the casings to stick too much to the meat either though. Fine line there. I think maybe you need to mix the meat longer for that protein extraction would be the main thing. Also you want to stuff those casings about as tight as you can with out exploding, but those casings are tough. What temperature is the summer sausage after cooling them down?
I want to make fresh not smoked nitrate free Hot Dogs. After stuffing I am hot bathing them to 160. These are all beef I must add. What can I use to keep the color so they don’t end up grey looking and have that nice pink color?
Very similar process. Try dividing the spice into 1/3’s. Rub 1/3 on each day for 3 days. Yes it’s very thin, doesn’t take much. Local hardware store had crocks on sale so i got 2. I rub, and rotate each day.
After day 3, rotate each day for 5 more days. If it’s cold out i leave on the floor in my garage, if not it goes in the fridge-great either way just depends on weather.
Hang one day-i never rinse. Cold smoke (100F) for 6 hours. rest overnight, cold smoke for 6 more hours. Rest overnight.
I like mine to be a deep cherry color, that’s how i determine when to stop smoking. If it’s not that rich cherry color, smoke it more! Then rest it for 3 days and slice. We slice it on a slicer so i get super thin slices. Uncle Cecil said slice it thin enough that you can read the paper through it!
One tip-Walton’s has the little drying pouch that’s in the store bought jerky, They are cheap and make it last forever in the fridge or freezer. I also vacuum seal to 98% with the chamber vac or it get too hard. Here is a pic of what I’m looking for. The fellas have named this George Washington Jerky. It was the only way i could explain it to them before i made it. Told them we were going VERY old school, and now they love it!