20 odd years ago my first career was as a butcher, I did a full apprenticeship and got the provincial certification. I was a computer hobbyist back then, being a butcher paid the bills. Eventually I figured out making a living as a butcher was not going to get easier as I got older so I turned my hobby into a career (while I still had all my digits :) Things have come full circle now, I make a living doing the IT thing and "meat" has a become my hobby.
Amongst my toys I have a 30" MES that I have used to turn out some amazing product, I actually had a couple of friends almost come to blows over a pound of my side bacon once ...lol
Long term I'm working towards living a more self sustaining lifestyle where we produce most of what we eat on our own land. It feels like a pipe dream some days but it's good to have goals.
I'm looking forward to catching up and learning more about smoking and curing, hopefully I'll be able to contribute something meaningful to the conversations.