One evening after watching the Found magazine’s footage festival we went to a Minnesota bar down the street. While looking very much like many other dive bars I’ve been too, this one was special. With a “band” that was indeterminately either a karaoke, cover, or “real” band, gambling, an enormous inflated pumpkin, and a girls drink everything in sight for $5 I thought we must have picked the right place. I then saw the 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of computer paper on the door of the bar declaring a meat raffle. Since none of us were natives in this country we got very little explanation that night except for what we already were able to deduce from the relatively straightforward title. There was a raffle, and the prize was meat. So I looked it up, I was hoping for an explanation of the origins but have been unsuccessful. It does however detail some more disturbing variations like raffling trays of seafood. There was also a link to a funny article at the bottom of the wiki page. I’ve linked it below the copied wiki text below, enjoy
Typically the raffle is operated by a designated charity. The meat ranges in animal and cut and often comes from local butchers.
A typical meat raffle would have approximately 25-30 tickets sold at $1 each. Depending on the specific raffle, when a winning number is called the winner can either pick their cut of meat or opt for a gift certificate. All proceeds typically go to a charity.
Also simply known as a meat tray, the tradition is well known in Australian pubs. The trays of meat raffled vary in content: a BBQ- style mix of steaks, lamb chops, sausages etc is the most common, however “breakfast trays” (bacon, eggs, sausages) and “seafood trays” (prawns, oysters, mussels) are also common. Meat trays are usually raffled to raise money for local sporting teams, often those associated with the particular pub the raffle occurs in. The proceeds often help fund the team’s end of season trip. Care must be taken with seafood trays given the propensity for the contents to spoil in the heat as the lucky winner continues drinking; often a friendly publican will store the tray in the fridge until the winner is sufficiently refreshed and ready to head home.
Here is the link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/05/magazine/05funny_humor.html?ex=1296795600&en=ab50405fe506dc86&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss