Glorious Malone’s builds niche in headcheese

Glorious Malone’s Fine Sausage Inc.
300 W. Walnut St., Milwaukee
Industry: food
Employees: 10

Glorious Malone’s Fine Sausage Inc. in Milwaukee makes an unusual delicacy that’s popular in many cultures — headcheese.

What is it exactly? Pork head meat that’s boiled and mixed with spices, then molded into soft blocks.

While one version of headcheese is popular in the German culture, Glorious Malone’s uses a family recipe with southern U.S. roots, said owner and president Daphne Jones.

“My parents used to make it all the time for friends and relatives on holidays,” Jones said. “It’s the best of its kind.”

Her parents started selling vegetables and their popular headcheese out of a truck in the 1960s.

“(My father) would go to all the local taverns and sell headcheese to them,” Jones said.

They eventually opened a grocery store, and over the years the company began to focus on just headcheese production.

The company gets the pork meat frozen from a supplier, so employees at Malone’s first defrost and clean the meat.

Then, it is put into cages and boiled to 200 degrees in a large vat. The meat is next put through a grinder and then mixed with a secret blend of spices.

Once the liquid mixture is complete, it is poured into square pans, smoothed and moved to a blast chiller to set.

“We want to get it below 32 degrees, but we don’t want it to freeze,” Jones said.

The completed headcheese has a soft, cheese-like texture. It is cut into a variety of sizes—larger for delis and in smaller sizes for consumers.

Glorious Malone’s runs a 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. shift every day, during which employees make four product batches.

The headcheese is sold in several area Piggly Wiggly, Roundy’s Supermarkets and Sentry Foods stores.

“As long as I’m in these chains, I can approach any other location,” Jones said.

Glorious Malone’s has grown locally over the years through word of mouth. It now has annual revenue of about $1.5 million.

Jones, who became president in 2006, has embraced the local food movement in Milwaukee by marketing to restaurants like Maxie’s Southern Comfort, which put a headcheese hush puppies dish named after her on the menu.

In addition, Jones is working to expand the company’s reach through online ordering and new meat products: smoked sausage, rag bologna and pate. She is working with brokers and distributors to gain a national and global presence.

Jones has also kept the company connected to its roots. She renamed the company after her pioneering mother, Glorious Malone, when she passed away in 2007.

“She became the first African-American woman to be licensed by the USDA,” Jones said.

Glorious was inducted into the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame in 2011.

“My mission is to continue the tradition. Take it as far as we can take it,” Jones said. “I want to help get it through the next generation, to keep it going.”

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