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What’s In Store: Venison, elk, wild boar and more

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 | Posted by

Bud’s Custom Meats processes and sells wild and exotic game as well as local, farm-raised meat. (NICOLE R. ZIMMERMAN)

Matt Gamba, owner of Bud’s Custom Meats, just got back from a trip to Montana, where he wasn’t surprised to run into one of his customers.

“Our area has a lot of wild game hunters—local guys who go all the way back east,” he says. Then they bring the meat back to Bud’s.

The little shop selling specialty meats at the end of a lane in Penngrove butchers wild game such as venison, wild boar and elk.

They also process local farm-raised meat like Magruder Ranch’s grass-fed beef. (Grass-fed ground beef is on sale for $4.99/lb.)

The front freezers show off a huge selection of vacuum-sealed cuts:  elk steaks, wild boar chops, buffalo franks and more than a dozen house-made sausages.

The big sell: six varieties of marinated tri-tip, including the ever-popular Bloody Mary. The process extracts the protein from the meat to keep it tender. Bud’s makes its own marinades, as well as a selection of jerky. (You can try a sample of sweet and delicious Cowboy Candy Jerky at the counter.)

If you don’t care for gamey meats, or prefer poultry or fish to rabbit and lamb, there’s chicken and smoked salmon.

Local free-range ranch turkeys are available for Thanksgiving at $3.49/lb. During Christmas they’ll get close to 500 orders for smoked hams ($3.19/lb) and for their popular prime rib, sent out with a seasoning and rub ($10.99/lb).

Matt Gamba, owner of Bud’s Custom Meats (NICOLE R. ZIMMERMAN)

Bud’s Meats was established in 1975. Gamba took over the business from his father 12 years ago. He says living on a ranch with the butcher shop meant work was 24/7, especially as the only boy.

“As soon as I could leave, I moved,” says Gamba. Later he ran a butcher truck as a side job and got “hooked.” When his father was ready to retire he found it was a good fit.

“I always liked the customers, building relationships with the local people, going to their ranches and homes.”

Get your holiday orders in now; they prefer at least one week ahead, although they do take last-day orders. Write or comment on the Bud’s Meats Facebook page to enter a drawing for a free 12-14 lb. turkey!

Bud’s Meats is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday. 7750 Petaluma Hill Road in Penngrove. Call 795-8402.

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Nick Walden is our Rohnert Park + Cotati correspondent.
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