The meat raffle: a quintessential Minnesotan bar tradition that plays out every night of the week in one working-class neighborhood’s watering hole or another. Though its origins are unknown, its existence is as homegrown as tater tot hot dish. Buy a ticket for a dollar — the proceeds go to charity — and get a chance to win a shrink-wrapped packet of raw, pink flesh from a table at the back of the bar.
Once only found in rural areas, they are now happening all over the metro area, from dive bars to hipster haunts. Even high-end establishments have gotten in on the action...
Meat from Thielen’s family’s butcher shop (Thielen Meats) in the small Minnesota town of Pierz has been on offer at meat raffles for as long as she can remember. She’ll still go to raffles in Nevis, Minn., with her aunt, who gets dressed up for the occasion. “I’m like, ‘Why are you putting curlers in your hair?’ and she’s like, ‘Amy, we’re going to the meat raffle!’ ”...Grumpy’s Northeast has spun the meat raffle on its head by merging it with another popular bar game. Instead of cash or gift cards, at T-Bone Bingo winners get — you guessed it — T-bone steaks.
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Photo credit: Carlos Gonzalez