the underbelly


Wild Meats
January 4, 2010, 12:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

When people think of Sonoma County they think wine country. They think rolling hills of Pinot Noir and a sophisticated country people who sip Chardonnay while staring off into the sunset as a red-tailed hawk screeches across the rosy sky. And, in some ways, they’d be right. But at it’s heart Sonoma County is still a rural, country county where people drive rusted out trucks, wear cowboy hats and boots and buy their meat at stores decorated with the heads of the animals whose meat they are selling. Like Bud’s:

Bud’s is a butcher in Pengrove. To get to it you have to go down about five different dirt roads following signs that you begin to doubt as you head further into the middle of nowhere. But then there is it!

Bud’s has every meat you could reasonably desire (meaning no rattle snake, no bear, no endangered wild cat). But there are homemade sausages (see above, she’s cutting links), amazing looking cuts of beef (including Wagyu), elk, boar, ostrich (including ostrich fan, which I had never seen before), and more, as well as the usual pork and chicken and other fowl.

Awesome looking bloody elk chops. But we were there to buy venison for a chili I had planned. How to make venison chili? Take a recipe for beef chili and then just keep it cooking for about six times as long. It was delicious but not very photogenic – hence no post. But while we were there we also picked up some wild boar chops for dinner that night as well as a venison sausage….like a summer sausage I guess…kind of similar to ring bologna, which I dream of nightly now that I am back in New York and it is out of reach. But anyway back to the boar chops:

I used a recipe from The Silver Spoon for pork chops, because they’re roughly the same save for a bit of a difference in terms of fat content. But this recipe involved lots of butter so I wasn’t worried. I also marinated the chops ahead of time in some olive oil, sage and lemon juice.

The best part of the dish was the crispy bits of fried sage. But the meat was a tasty component as well, especially when doused with a bit of the lightly browned butter. Ah, meat. So good, particularly  when purchased from a place that reveres it as much as Bud’s. If you ever find yourself in Pengrove, which I will admit is unlikely, stop on by and grab some venison jerky, some sausage, and a big hung of ostrich fan for the road.

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