Rotten Meat Spoils Annual Venison Barbecue in Riddle, Ore.

Apr 26, 2016

Sportsmen formed a rod and gun club in 1912 in Riddle, Ore., that invited the whole community the following Labor Day to a venison barbeque.

The club built a 100-foot-square dance pavilion in a grove near Cow Creek and placed 20 deer in cold storage in Roseburg.  The venison quarters were put on pipe skewers and club members kept fires going to roast the meat.

Some 5,000 people came to dance and brought their picnic hampers of food to go with the succulent barbequed venison. It became an annual affair.

For the 1916 barbeque, a cook was brought in from Eugene to save the club members the work of cooking the venison. He placed the deer carcasses wrapped in muslin in a 40-foot-long, 5-foot-deep pit in which a roaring fire had burned for two days and covered it with dirt.  Twenty-four hours later, with the biggest crowd ever in attendance, the meat was uncovered. What a stench! Instead of cooking, the warmed meat was rotting. The day was a disaster.

That incident and World War I ended the rod and gun club and its annual venison barbeque.

Source: Riddle, Claude A. In the Happy Hills: A Story of Early Day Deer Hunting. Roseburg, Ore:  Claude Riddle, 1954. 4-6. Print.