Any true northwest Louisiana resident knows the best gumbo and jambalaya contains a local favorite ingredient: Down Home Sausage.

Made in Stonewall, just south of Shreveport, Down Home Meats has been in business for 35 years. The business is family-owned and operated and was founded by Harold Chamberlain and is now owned by his son, Carney Chamberlain.

Down Home Meats adheres to the late Harold Chamberlain’s “old school” smoking process using real hickory hardwood. Made by hand, the sausages are stuffed, looped and then placed in the smokehouse where it is smoked at a controlled temperature for four hours, chilled and then packaged for shipment. According to David Terry, sales manager of Down Home Meats, they only buy the best of the hog and the freshest seasonings, which aren’t blended until the day they’re ordered.

Each week the company turns out between 50,000 and 60,000 pounds of sausage, which is distributed within a 250-mile radius of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. Business picks up during Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day when Down Home Meats produces an additional 25,000 pounds during those weeks.

“We concentrate on making a great product,” Terry said. “It’s not about a mission statement or anything like that, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we concentrate on having happy employees. Happy employees make a better product, there’s no doubt about that. We take good care of our people and we’re just blessed.”

Terry said it’s important for the company to give back to the community, which is evident by the “Wall of Goodness” in the meat plant. The stretch of hallway displays dozens of photos and mementos from Down Home’s charitable causes over the years, all of which serve as a reminder to the 30 employees of the impact they have had on helping military veterans and local law enforcement agencies, for example.

Down Home Meats sausage is available in hot, jalapeno, green onion and the most popular flavor — original. Sausage can be purchased at Brookshire’s and through Louisiana Crawfish Company in Natchitoches.

Owner: Carney Chamberlain