The deep pit bbq at the Lord's Acre sale in Powell Butte, OR, has got to be on of Central Oregon's best kept secrets. My family discovered it the first or second year we lived here and have only missed one or two ever since. It's funny, most locals seem to either not know much about it, or, if they do, they've just never been. From the time you turn into the pasture/parking lot, directed by guides on horseback, you feel immediately the strong sense of community that bonds the people in this small, beautiful rural area that is pretty much just a dot on the map between Bend and Prineville. The routine is this: walk immediately from the car and get in line to buy tickets for a slice of homemade pie. It's a hard choice to make, but you do it and are never disappointed! Get a cup of coffee and eat your slice standing up. People watch or chit chat with whomever happens to glance your way. Once fortified with pie enough to tide you over 'till it's time to line up for the main course, wander over to see what's new this year at the Country Store; tole painted wooden decorations, hand sewn and knitted hats, aprons, linens; furniture. Take a look at the quilts that will go up for auction later that afternoon. At around 11:30 it's the cue for everyone to start lining up for the bbq that will be served smorgy-style from behind long make-shift tables on saw-horses. Chit chat with others in line or have someone save your place while you check out the official opening of the deep pit. Once the pit is open, the air is filled with that mouth-watering smell; the reason most of us have come; huge helpings of beef, lamb and ham are piled on plates accompanied by potato, and beans. This bbq is the most succulent, flavorful meat I have ever eaten. The pleasure is only intensified by being out in the fresh air and sharing my meal, standing at one of four rows of waist-high tables, family style, with scores of friendly people. I've never seen anyone in a bad mood while eating this meal! There is only pleasant talk and laughter between bites.
After you've eaten, head on over to the school and get a good, comfortable seat for the the auction. It's a real honest to goodness live auction with a lightening-tongued auctioneer. The pace gets pretty fast and furiouse when the quilts start to go on the "block". I've seen some quilts go for 1-2 thousand dollars! When the last "sold!" has rung out, it's time to make out way home to relax the rest of the day. There will be not rest for the community of Powell Butte, though! The ladies of the church will start the very next day baking the pies and making quilts that will go on sale next year on the first Saturday of November as it has been for the last 61 years!