My two oldest children harvested their first deer this last season. As I was taught by my father, I have always butchered and processed my own deer and we usually take anything that we don’t reserve for steaks, roasts, stew, etc. and have it made into snack sticks or sausage, which my children enjoy.

However, with the recent escalation of CWD in Missouri, I’m just not comfortable taking our meat to someone else anymore…

While it’s still reasonable to believe that deer infected with CWD cannot transmit to humans, I simply chose not to feed our family deer that hasn’t tested negative for CWD. And since testing is not a requirement in all counties, or for consumption, there’s no reason for me not to assume that any sausage I receive may include deer other than my own and may contain meat that is contaminated.

So my solution to this… DIY 🙂

I’ve never made sausage, so I’m starting with absolutely 0% experience, but I have a few friends that have, and I know I need at least a few basics to get started: meat, a grinder, a stuffer, casings, and a smoker.

I was looking at smokers online one night a few weeks ago and the next day, while talking about this around some family, my uncle mentioned to me that he had an old smoker I could have, so I thought I’d give it a try. Basically, I think it looks to be some kind of proofer cabinet with an electric element modification.

I’ll be cleaning this up over the next few weeks to see what I can do with it. I still need to test everything out thoroughly, but it did plug it in and it did power on, so that’s a good start.