What is a meat pie?
As its name suggests, a meat pie is a pie filled with meat; usually beef, lamb, chicken, or pork. Though they’re most popular in the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, meat pies can be found everywhere, and come in all shapes and sizes.
In Latin America and the Philippines, one of the most popular forms of the meat pie is the empanada – a baked or fried pastry filled with ground beef, chicken, or pork, and an assortment of vegetables. In India, they have samosas, which are filled with peas, potatoes, lentils, chicken or beef, and lots of spices. While in the US, some of the most popular types of meat pies are chicken pot pies and shepherd’s pies.
What makes Australian meat pie different?
Australian meat pies don’t differ too much from British meat pies, except that they’re usually small enough to fit in your palm. Because of this, they’re often called hand-warmers, or pocket pies, and are usually sold as a snack in bars, at footy games, and on the street. These days, the Aussie meat pie is so ubiquitous that you can get a frozen batch in every Woolworths and Coles around the country. According to one source, each Aussie consumes 12 pies a year on average!
As mentioned, Aussies seem to take pride in the humble meat pie. And who can blame us? They’re not just delicious and convenient snacks; they’re also versatile and allow room for innovation. Whereas the classic choice used to be a steak and kidney pie, there are tons of bakeries that are coming up with new ideas for flavours and fillings.
8 must-try Aussie meat pies
Four’n Twenty’s Classic Meat Pie
If there’s one pie that’s synonymous with football, it’s a Four’n Twenty pie. Established in 1947, Four’n Twenty has been serving meat pies to footy fans for nearly 70 decades now, and they’ve shown no signs of stopping. Their pies are best paired with a large dollop of ketchup and a cold beer.
Must try: While its classic meat pie is, well, a classic; Four’n Twenty’s Chunky Beef Pie is filled with tender chunks of steak that’ll make any meat lover’s heart soar.
Balfours’ Footy Pie
As the oldest bakery in Australia, Balfours has had plenty of time to perfect its pies. Their famous square Footy Pie is, as its name suggests, another staple at AFL games.
According to Balfours, five square pies are consumed every minute. If that’s not a sign that these pies are irresistible, we don’t know what is!
Mrs Mac’s Beef Party Pies
Who says you can only enjoy meat pies at a live footy game? While Mrs Mac’s sells regular-sized pies too, one of its best-sellers is party pies. These bite-sized pastries are the perfect snacks to serve when you’ve got all your mates over to catch a game on TV.
Harry’s Cafe de Wheels is a historic pie cart that was first put up in Woolloomooloo in 1938. The cart is famous for their signature “tiger pie”, a chunky lean beef pie topped with mashed potatoes, mushy peas, and gravy. You could say the pie is a cross between meat pie, shepherd’s pie, and a pie floater – a pie floating in a sea of pea soup!
Here’s another long-time shop that’s proven to serve killer pies. Queensland’s Yatala Pies has been around for over 130 years, with its iconic shop considered as one of the most recognisable landmarks in the area. Today, it sell about 3,500 pies a day. It's best-seller? Their beef, bacon, and cheese pie!
Here’s another Gold Coast favourite. Beefy’s serves some of the best traditional and gluten-free pies in Australia. And that’s no exaggeration – Beefy’s pies are award winners. They bagged gold at the 2017 Official Great Aussie Meat Pie Competition in Sydney for their Gluten-Free Steak, Bacon, and Cheese pie!
Brighton Jetty Bakery’s Pies
Looking for a healthy, meat-free alternative? Brighton Jetty serves some of the best gluten-free and vegan pies in the country. If you’re up for something a little off-beat, you can try their pickle pie!
Country Cob’s Pies
Looking for the best Aussie meat pie of 2019? Look no further than Victoria bakery Country Cob. The Baking Association of Australia recently crowned its caramelised pork and pepper the best in Australia. The pie is a mashup of Aussie and Cambodian flavours, as its owners, Ryan and Chan Khun, took cues from favourite foods back home to concoct this pie!
How to make an Aussie meat pie
While store-bought meat pies are convenient, sometimes the most fulfilling pie is homemade. Here are five of the best meat pie recipes:
- The classic beef Aussie meat pie
- Beef and red wine pie with bacon and mushrooms
- A rich and hearty beef cottage pie
- Lamb, mint, and rosemary party pies
- Grandma’s chicken and leek pie
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