It’s here! After two season of meat flavoured sweat and tears pie 100 in this enduring journey of pastry has finally arrived and for many there would be no pie more fitting to commemorate a century of meat filled wonder than by reviewing the much vaunted Killie Pie at the Scottish Junior Cup Final. A pie almost so legendary in nature that is often perceived as the best that Scottish football has to offer (although those that read my World Scotch Pie Championships Judges Story will know that wasn’t in fact the case) and the one, above all overs, that I get asked about the most.
This pie also signifies my last review of the season, and the last to grace these pages. Whilst I am conscious that there is still a plethora of pastry for me to plough through, not only in Scotland but across the globe, I have also been been starting to feel the need for a break from pastry based writing. Well a break of sorts anyway.
You see recently a discussion with a friend (which one I can’t remember but if you’re confident enough that you can take credit for this then let me know) about my journey’s and how I had become a little fatigued about the pie life at which point he/she asked me if I had ever thought about writing a book based on my adventures. At first I kind of laughed it off, as cult-like as Meat Filled Pastries has become would there really be an appetite (pun intended) to actually create a tome of pie? However the more I thought about it the more it made sense. When I looked back at old reviews I could see a story waiting to be written. One of my journey, of the people who I have shared each step with, of the places I’ve visited and some of the downright ridiculous situations I’ve found myself in all thanks to the humble pie.
It’s a month or so after I stared putting the feelers about what interest, if any, there was in hearing my story and to my surprise more than two people seemed keen, and so, considering I started this site on the premise of zero percent interest and watched it bloom, some genuine interest was all the incentive I needed to commit to sitting down and trying my hand at being an author. I haven’t started as of yet, work will begin as soon as this last review is posted, but it’s safe to say that I am as excited about this next chapter (another pun, this time unintentional) in my story as I have been about anything else related to Meat Filled Pastries for a while.
Although I will be taking a break from fresh pie reviews, I will still be keeping my quill in the ink pot when it comes to pies and football. I have recently been asked to review a bakers full range of pastries and I will continue to share my tuppence worth about the beautiful game when requested.
But for now I think I have rambled on enough, and so without much further ado, let’s rate not just any pie, but Pie 100, The Killie Pie!
Where: Rugby Park, Auchinleck Tabot 2-1 Musselburgh Athletic, Scottish Junior Cup Final
Price: Now such is the legend of this pie that in a handful of junior grounds in Scotland the Killie Pie is offered as an alternative to their own brand scotch variety, in fact Browning’s have done such an impressive job of bigging up their pastry that some have even escaped the terrace kitchens and made their way to the supermarket shelves. With such wide-ranging availability there was often a temptation to take the plunge at a venue other that Rugby Park, particularly due to the fact that a Killie Pie at the likes of Hurlford United, is cheaper than that found at Kilmarnock FC itself. I resisted those economically sound overtures however and awaited until I was in the aforementioned pies natural surroundings before taking the plunge and as such was required to part with £2.20 for my pie. A full 70p more expensive than those on offer at Blair Park but still considerably cheaper than those found at the big three of Hampden, Ibrox and Celtic Park.
Presentation: In a metal tin foil container to retain the heat with the option of a small napkin to be taken from the dispensers located at the back of the kiosk. Luckily these were self-service as realistically you needed at least two to provide full coverage and to prevent any spillages.
Meatiness: So did it live up to the legend? Well, kind of. When it comes to luxury pies, I am forever going on about the sumptuousness of the gravy and with the Killie Pie there is very little risk of your lips remaining dry as there really is a gush of meaty flavour heading down your gullet as soon as you take that first bite. It was perhaps slightly salty for some if I’m being honest, the seasoning on the very edge for those with a blander set of tastebuds than myself. There were some nice chunks of well cooked tender steak in this pie, but the emphasis here should be placed on the word some and the none use of the word many or lots. Maybe some drops of gravy could have been sacrificed for a couple more bites of meat, that said it was still a very satisfying mouthful.
Pastry: The pastry was pretty tasty with a nice buttery finish, however a couple of things bugged me about it. Firstly the puff pastry top sagged a little in the middle. While that led to strong mingle of gravy and pastry it meant that as you bit down it became really difficult to get a one bite expose. In fact the only way this was achieved was by squeezing the pie a little to open it up. The base had also fell foul of its tin foil container, and while not sticking this pies soggy bottom meant a fair bit of juggling was required to complete consumption.
Brown Sauce: It was a luxury pie. There is no brown sauce. If you were expecting sauce then quite frankly you should know better.
Overall: Was this a very good pie? Yes. Was it the best pie available on Scottish football’s ever critical terraces, I don’t think so. While the gravy was tasty it could have done with some more meat and if you insist on using a tinfoil safety net to house your pie then you must, must prevent the soggy bottom which this pie unfortunately had.
Gravy Factor: The kind of gravy that you’d get from Five Guys only to find later that actually a Big Mac is just as good. Tasty gravy but the best I’ve ever had, I’m afraid not.
So there you have it, The Killie Pie, finally reviewed and with that this journey sets off in a new direction. As I said I’ll still be keeping my toe in the water and you never know, after writing one book I might summon up the enthusiasm for another run at the life of pie, but for now the time is right to focus on taking over 70,000 pie based words and making some sense out of it all.
Before we wrap up I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped turn this into more than just a drunken notion and into a project that has been a lot of fun helping to re-ignite something within me that had been slowly dying as the 9-5 so many of us have to live to survive dragged me further in.
Until next time, whenever that may be, go forth and eat pie! I know I will.
Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.
Is anyone else fed up with the weather playing absolute havoc with their Saturday fixture plans. I mean for a man who writes about football pies it’s been a minor inconvenience, if anything it has expanded my horizons as I go to games that would have been consigned to sporting history as I followed my team across the country. These ever burgeoning horizons I find myself heading towards resulted in my first pie related television appearance on The Riverside Show last week. It was a surreal, but thoroughly enjoyable, experience and one that perhaps reignited a fire that had been dampened somewhat as the grind of real life meanders oh so slowly by.
I don’t know if this means that I’ll be taking David Currie’s job on Sportscence any time soon but maybe, just maybe, I can find a way to get paid for all of this. I’ll never go begging and I’d like to think that the initiative (something that is forever championed as the best way to get your foot in the door) this project has shown will one day illuminate my path to, what some would call, legitimacy.
For now though I’m happy enough with the path that these pastries has led me on. Anyway we all know why we’re here, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Petershill Park, Rossvale v Musselburgh Athletic, Scottish Junior Cup 4th Round
Now before I get too deep into this, I went to this game knowing that I had previously had a pie from the very same venue, one of my earliest reviews, Pie 16: The Petershill Pie and to be honest it didn’t go very well. Now retrospect suggests that having a tequila based hangover may have had a slightly adverse effect on my review but I still know that some things were fundamentally wrong and I was curious to see if much had changed from my visit 16 months previously.
Price: At £1.50 it was the top end of the junior scotch pie price spectrum but still reasonably priced for a football based pastry snack.
Presentation: On my last visit I bemoaned the use of a plastic and paper bag to store the pie in and once again I was presented with a pie in such a reciprocal. However differing from previously this pie was also surrounded by a tin foil sheath. Not a big deal I hear you say, but this aluminium shield stopped the pie in its entirety steaming against the plastic. I don’t know if there is a reason for the bags at Petershill Park but people’s pie lives would be enhanced further if the bag was taken out of the equation. There were some small white napkins available of the self-service variety for mopping your mouth with.
Meatiness: This pie was a well-formed, safely seasoned scotch pie. The filling fell apart a little as I chewed my way through and I was pleased to feel a peppery linger on my palate that slowly built up as I neared final consumption. It wasn’t anything mind-blowing, it hit all the key points a decent pie should without moving on to the next level but it was definitely a marked improvement on the pie I had experienced the last time I visited the north of Glasgow.
Pastry: As can be seen the top edges were rather crispy. Well OK, they were burnt meaning that there was a slight bitter undertone to each bite. I’m sure if I visited another time this extreme crispiness would not have occurred. I previously mentioned how the tin foil case had helped reduce the moisture inside the bag however sadly there was still a slightly soggy bottom to this pie, however if you mixed it with the well fired top the texture was probably just right!
Brown Sauce: Wee sachets of mass-produced no-name sauce. Did the job.
Overall: A better effort from Petershill Park, and perhaps Rossvale deserve individual credit for providing their own pies. I’d love to know the right answer. That said it was a little burnt on top and a little soggy on the bottom but had an overall good pie flavour.
Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto. Just take it out the oven a bit quicker next time.
I literally have no idea where my next review will emanate from. Last week I was so convinced that my scheduled game would be on I got so sozzled on the Friday night that come the news that it has indeed been called off I was in no real fit state to drive. What I can assure you of though it will most definitely be pie number 88.
However, until then go forth and eat pie!
Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial Scottish Sporting Optimist with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.