Hunting season is almost here! Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or a first-timer, processing your own deer is a project worth undertaking. Venison meat processing at home is a great way to save money and when you have the right supplies, it’s easy. The first thing you’ll need if you hope to process your own venison is a good set of hunting knives. You’ll use these quite a bit when preparing meat, so it’s smart to buy a high-quality set. One excellent choice is the “HS5600-4 Hunter’s Knife Set” made by the respected manufacturer, Mundial Knives. This set includes three different high-carbon stainless steel knives; 3.25-inch camping knife, a 6-inch curved boning knife, and an 8-inch steak knife. It also includes a matching 10-inch sharpening stone, which is a must for keeping your knives in the best shape possible. This is a well-made and very versatile set, and works great for cleaning other meats, as well as fish. Another item you’ll want for venison meat processing is a meat tenderizer. A multi-blade handheld meat tenderizer is perfect for venison steaks, and can reduce cooking time drastically. If you want to prepare perfect, tender cuts of meat, it’s a good item to have on hand. The Jaccard Super-3 is an excellent and affordable choice. It features 48 surgical stainless steel blades, stainless steel actuating columns and it’s dishwasher safe! One of the most essential items for venison meat processing is a quality meat grinder. These are necessary for making ground venison for burgers, chili, burritos and many other dishes. A meat grinder will also be exceptionally handy for making chopped steak. There are several different types of grinders available, as well as general food processors with meat cutting and grinding attachments. One of the most basic, but sturdy grinders on the market is the Jayhawk Sales 22. This is a manual tabletop grinder, and manages to be both affordable as well as extremely durable. It’s ideal if you plan to do a limited amount of meat grinding, as its capacity is limited compared to electric models. It will, however, provide years of trouble-free service. If you plan to take on a larger quantity of meat processing, you should consider stepping up to an electric model. Compared to a manual model, a commercial-grade electric grinder will process much faster with less effort from the operator. One of the best values in commercial electric meat grinders is the Vollrath 40743 model. It has a 100v motor, two grinder plates, a number 12 hub and is capable of processing 220 pounds of meat per hour! In addition, the Vollrath includes a stainless steel pan and other accessories such as a stuffer and funnel. It’s a reliable model that can handle the rigors of commercial production, but is affordable enough for residential purchase. Another option for meat cutting and grinding is to buy a commercial food processor that is capable of heavy-duty meat processing. The Univex PM91 is a strong contender in this field in terms of quality and value. While it costs more than the Vollrath processor, it’s also much more versatile due to its design and different attachments. The Univex PM91 uses a 1inch wide Poly-V belt system driven by a 1 HP motor, and is high-powered enough to process an incredible amount of food very quickly. The benefit of this model over a regular meat grinder is that by using different attachments, it can also slice vegetables, shred cheese, and cut meats in various ways beyond simple grinding. Because it’s a heavy-duty commercial model, it can do all of this at a speed far beyond any consumer-grade processor. It’s also extremely sturdy, built from heavy-duty stainless steel. If you really want to take your food production to the next level, it’s hard to beat the PM91. Finally, don’t forget about storing all of this meat! Other important purchases you should consider are a vacuum packaging machine, and if you don’t already have one, a large chest freezer. For vacuum packaging, consider another great Vollrath product, the Vollrath 40858 Vacuum Packaging Machine. It’s efficient and durable, and can extend the storage life of your food considerably. For a freezer, make sure you buy one that is large enough to handle a great volume of meat. The Arctic Air CF20 is a good choice in this area, constructed of steel and offering 20 cubic feet of storage. It also features heavy-duty casters that make it easy to move, and uses environmentally friendly 134A refrigerant.