Sunday, September 22, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 29
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Santa Maria Sun / Spotlight

The following article was posted on September 3rd, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 27 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 27

From house-made seasonal sausages to the high-demand hanger steak, Woody's Butcher Block sells it all

By WILLIAM D'URSO


CHOPPED
“Head Honcho” Tim Woodbury wraps a rib-eye steak in his Santa Maria butcher shop.
PHOTO BY WILLIAM D’URSO

”Come in and I’ll give you a taste of something fun.”

The invitation came from Tim Woodbury, the owner, or as his business card reads, “Head Honcho” of Woody’s Butcher Block. He followed it up with a wave of a meaty hand. Toothpick between his fingers, he speared a piece of sausage, an experiment he calls “Grandma’s Thanksgiving Day sausage,” a mix of spices and some cranberries thrown in for a bit of texture and that turkey-day magic.

“That’s good, isn’t it?” he said as he looked around to his staff. All three nodded agreement, mumbling in muffled tones from bulging cheeks. “We can do it all year if you want.”

Woodbury is a fixture of the Santa Maria butcher scene, and he’s done it by being unique. His signature? The hanging tender also called a hanger steak.

But that wasn’t its first name.

“It used to be called the butcher’s cut because they were the ones who knew how to clean it up,” he said. “If you don’t clean it correctly, it’s tough as a boot.”

Sliced from the diaphragm, there’s only one per cow, and it weighs around a pound and a half. The cut comes from underneath the cow, behind the front legs. Considered similar in flavor and texture to a flank steak, it’s separated on the cutting block from the tougher skirt steak.

Woodbury said the hanger steak is not for everyone. He calls its flavor “minerally,” which to some can mean an overpowering taste of blood. For the many customers who are fans, it’s $18 a pound.

He carries Angus certified beef, and all of it, including the hanging tender, is aged.

“I had a guy come in and buy two 10-pound bags of it the other week,” he said. “Pretty good sale.”

In seven years, the shop has only run out of the hanging tender twice, “and boy did I hear about it,” he said.

So he tries to keep about 80 pounds per week in stock with an average sale of about 50 of those pounds.

Woodbury said his beef is worth the cost because he pays attention to the details, like breed, feed, and care. Nothing he sells contains hormones or is fed with anything but grains and grass.

It wasn’t the business he thought he’d be in, not after spending 28 years in the food service industry doing sales. That’s where he first learned to cut. He called the butcher business plan a “bad day doodle,” the sort of thing he’d scratched out on a slow day at his sales job. He stuck the business plan in a folder and left it there for 15 years. Then, one day his son reminded him about it.

“Little by little, the business grows,” Woobury said. “It’s like putting on weight. All of a sudden you’re fat.”

The business is broader than the hanging tender, though that remains the specialty. They have sausages, brisket, and highly marbled wagyu beef. They have fridges with a modest offering of craft beer and frozen meats, like chicken and seafood. They have sandwiches you can eat there, like the “Here Piggy, Piggy,” and packages of dry rubs for the steaks you take home.

And if you’re looking for the hanging tender, more is always on the way.

The shop is located at 700 E. Main St., suite 104, in Santa Maria.

Highlight

• The city of Santa Maria Public Library announced plans to host a composting program with the Garden Club on Sept. 7. The free all-ages event runs from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Shepard Hall. For more information, contact the library’s information desk at (805) 925-0994, Ext. 8562. 

Staff Writer William D’Urso wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Send ideas, news tips, and interesting tidbits to spotlight@santamariasun.com.




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