BROKEN BOW – The Custer County Fair would be downright incomplete without Broken Bow’s half-century-long tradition: the Tuffy Winberg Memorial Free Pit BBQ.
Named for Larry “Tuffy” Winberg, a perennial force behind the BBQ since its infancy, the event is a tradition unbroken for 52 years; not even a global pandemic can derail the feeding of about 2500 mouths. The meal, and meat, will be dropped right in the midst of the county fair festivities: Monday, August 1, at the Custer County Fairgrounds.
The “pit,” the method by which the meat is prepared for the feast, is about as literal as one can get: two holes are dug in the ground that are five feet deep, four feet wide, and nine feet long. Wood burns all night while the meat is prepared by whoever gets the meat bid, always a local supplier.
In the morning, the coals from the burned wood are covered with sand, the meat is placed inside the sand, and then the pits are covered. The result is an airtight underground oven, within which the meat will cook for anywhere between 6 and 8 hours.
This year, the meat will be ready to eat by 5:30 p.m. and will be served until 7 p.m. In addition to the sandwiches, feasters will receive beans, chips, water or tea, and a Dilly Bar from Dairy Queen.
And of course, the most appetizing part of the annual meal is there, as well: the Tuffy Winberg Memorial BBQ is free and open to all.