Hello pie fans and welcome to another edition of your favourite (and not at all niche) Scotland based football pie review website, Meat Filled Pastries. This week’s review comes from Kilwininng Rangers in the form of the mysteriously named Buffs Pies.
Reviewing a mystery filled pie has come at quite the opportune time as this week I received my invite to once again form part of the judging panel at the World Scotch Pie Championships. A day where even I, a hardened pie muncher, long for a side salad and a pint of fruit smoothies. As always if you are a butcher or baker who makes meat filled pastries – and especially if you supply them to your local football club – then I encourage you to fire an entry in. The title of providing the best football pie in the land is one not to be sniffed at.
The question now though is whether or not The Buff’s Pie has the makings of a contender? Well there’s only one way to find out. So without much further ado let’s rate some pie!
Where: Abbey Park, Kilwinning Rangers 0-2 Pollok, West Premiership
Price: At £2.20 I’m almost certain that this was the most expensive junior pie I’ve ever purchased and with my curiosity already piqued by a name masking it’s content, my expectations continued to escalate given this high price point.
This pie, before I had even taken my first bite, was under a lot of pressure.
Presentation: This was a big unit and so I was surprised – but not disappointed – to see no tin foil case present for this pastry with its presentation being made simply on a large plain white napkin. This did add another level of intrigue though as with no concrete evidence of its contents present the pressure continued to build. Would the napkin be sufficient to keep the filling from spilling all over my arm on first bite? With anticipation, I lifted it towards my face.
Meatiness: So what was behind this pie’s pastry curtains? Well the first bite was met with a burst of well seasoned and sufficiently viscous dark brown gravy with my teeth tearing through a medium-sized chunk of well cooked steak. So far, so steaky. I took another couple of bites, sometimes getting steak, sometimes just getting gravy, sometimes hoping for a wee bit more, before my palate was hit with a new taste sensation. Definitely meaty I pulled my head back a little and peered into this bakers cavern to see a couple of pink(ish) discs of sausage staring back at me. There was your point of differentiation, but yet, despite all these wonderful surprises, my initial reaction was that whilst this pie was good it wasn’t at the same level as The Troon: Steak Pie I had consumed a few weeks previously. I ploughed on though and as I continued to make my way through it its generosity of portion became apparent and the flavour layers started to build little by little. As I took my final bite I was happy to say that this filling was certainly something that I had enjoyed.
Pastry: As previously suggested there was a lot of pressure on the pastry here given the absence of the shiny safety sheath that often accompanies bigger pies but I’m pleased to report that it held really well. It had a sufficient golden tinge to the top although for me the puff pastry was a little too plentiful. That said, it’s plentifulness did lend itself to more of those wonderful moments where the component parts kissed to form that ever lovely symphony of gravy and pastry on the roof of the pie.
Brown Sauce: On a Steak & Sausage Pie!? Are you condi-mental!?
Overall: At £2.20 and with a mystery name there was a lot of pressure on this pie to deliver and I’m pleased to report that it did. Whilst it might not be at the very top of the Meat Filled Pastry Pyramid it definitely deserves to be mentioned in the upper echelons.
Gravy Factor: The International Gravy of Mystery.
Got to love a dose of the ol’ mystery meat. I have not a clue where my next pie will be coming from. My basket is currently empty and the mid-week fixture list is beginning to look increasingly bare but have no fear as Pie 150 is not that far away and that of course will be monumental!
However until next time, 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 and The Football Pink as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. He currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.
Aye alright I know this isn’t a pie, but it is a meat filled pastry, and given the successful tasting experience that was Pie 129: The Girvan Scotch Pie it would have been remiss of me not to give this a bash whilst I was in the area.
More on that in a minute but speaking of things that aren’t quite pies it would be equally remiss of me not to mention the launching of a new venture from your intrepid pie eater. For nearly five years I have travelled the country and beyond tasting a wide variety of pies, pasties, sausage rolls and bridies, casting judgement on what I believe to be a good meat filled pastry. I have also for a large part of that time been a frequent visitor (including a few months as an inhabitant) to Spain where they and their Latin American cousins share my passion for a good pastry.
So what does this all mean? Well I am happy to announce a new venture: Empanadas Escoces. My attempt to bring the best of hispanic pastries to Glasgow and who knows maybe beyond. I have no idea how this will go. It could be a disaster. It could be a runaway success. Either way I’m going to give it a bash and see what happens. I’ll no doubt post the odd update on here but if you want to keep up to date with everything as it happens then you can follow @empanadassco on Twitter & Instagram whilst you can also find news on Facebook by searching Empanadas Escoces. If this site has taught me anything over the last few years it’s that you never know until you have a go.
With that public service announcement out the way, let’s get back to the reason why you all came here in the first place. Without much further ado, let’s rate some sausage roll!
Where: Hamilton Park, Girvan 0-5 Pollok, West Superleague Premier Division
Oh by the way, this is Ronnie, he’s one of the regular home and away crew when going to Pollok games. There you go son you are now pie famous. Anyway…
Price: £1.20. Exactly the same as a pie. It’s funny but sometimes the price of a sausage roll (or any other non pie pastry for that matter) can vary greatly when compared to the prince of pastries so it was good to see a consistent price point here.
Presentation: With a sausage roll the napkin has an added significance as instead of being used to place your pastry on it is almost an automatic reflex to wrap said roll in its soft white paper duvet. In this instance the size of the napkin was more than sufficient.
Meatiness: On first looks, as I hope this picture illustrates, this was a massive roll. This, perhaps surprisingly, had me a little concerned as usually big appearances mean that the meat to pastry ratio can be way off, and in some cases downright unacceptable. I am happy to report though that on this occasion the meat content just about made the grade. A puff pastry case will always struggle to compete with a hot water crust when it comes to meat content percentages but with this pastry I felt I was getting a decent sized banger for my buck. The sausage meat had a nice texture with the levels of fat just right to add moistness whilst the meat itself was very tasty. One thing I did notice as I made my way through was the presence of a yellow smear on top of the sausage meat. My only conclusion is that it had to be mustard and if it was it certainly didn’t distract my taste buds during the eating experience.
Pastry: Whilst there was lots of pastry (perhaps a little too much) there was no doubting the quality of the bake. The layers evenly split and flaky whilst the colour on the outside was golden and even. One of the common fall down points for a sausage roll can be the pastry slipping off and you being left with a limp sausage dangling from your fist shorn of its pastry sheath. In this case there was no risk of that happening.
Brown Sauce: Logistically, for me anyway, condiments on a sausage roll just don’t make sense. They slide off, have nowhere to realistically gather and in general are just a bit of a mess.
Overall: Excellent if slightly too plentiful pastry wrapped around some well-flavoured sausage meat. What was that yellow substance though?
Gravy Factor: A Bangin’ Banger.
Well I think it’s safe to say that Girvan has gone on the list of “good football eat locations” with a more than solid scotch pie and sausage roll offering. Well played. Moving on and for fans of the pie reviews this weekend I took a trip to Bathgate Thistle who’s pies are supplied by a former 2x winner of the World Scotch Pie Championship so that will be going on the site soon whilst my International Soccer Scran Series will next take us to Nuremberg. So plenty to look forward to but until next time, 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. He’s now taken this passion further in the form of Empanadas Escoces a venture inspired by the taste of Spanish pies and a desire to bring them to Scottish Shores.
Sometimes, just sometimes, I wonder if my pursuit of pastry goes a little too far. Three years ago I found myself sitting on a sofa talking to a former Miss Scotland and the artist formerly known as DJ Romeo about how I was darting about the country eating pies and reviewing them. Two things struck me immediately when I re-watched that mental few minutes. One, I had more hair. Two, the question about whether or not I had eaten all the pies was fairer than I was willing to admit at that time. It had been the culmination of a week where I’d also featured on websites and radio stations and afterwards I had found myself sitting in my car thinking, sometimes, just sometimes, my life is a little bit strange.
I found myself questioning the sanity of my pie pursuit once again last week as I looked out on the arctic tundra masquerading as the pitch at Scotstoun Stadium. I had left on the Sunday morning via bus and then train(s) more in hope than anticipation that the game would be on, regularly checking social media channels for the inevitable. I was therefore amazed that I had got to the point where I had settled down with a pie and a pint in my hand ready for some hard hitting rugby/ice hockey action. Alas though, that inevitable did come, as no sooner had I taken my last bite the stadium tannoy declared the game off. You would think I would be annoyed but I wasn’t, it had got me out the house, given me a story to tell, and of course, most importantly, gave me a new pie review. The fact that this is the conclusion reached tells us all that when it comes to pie, you can never go too far.
So with that in mind and without, much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Scotstoun Stadium, Womens Rugby International Scotland A-A Spain
Price: Four smackeroonis (£4 for the unintiated)! Oooft, that is indeed a pricey pastry.
Presentation: This was a large pastry in a tin foil case with an equally ample napkin. It’s worth noting here taking a picture of a pie under the cover of a stand against a bright white snowy background is blinking difficult!
Meatiness: I dubbed this a Steak Surprise Pie as when making my purchase I had simply asked for steak but as I munched my way through it the texture suggested something else was lurking within. My first thought was mushroom or potato as the texture was soft and forgiving on the bite but the taste just didn’t match up. I then wondered if I’d happened across some really soft pieces of fat but it’s taste was too different from the generous steaky chunks surrounding them. I had inspected the filling thoroughly but to be honest, it wasn’t until somebody on Twitter asked if I had gone for the “Steak & Sausage” pie did everything fall into place. Now does that mean that the sausage wasn’t good? Not at all, in fact it added an extra meaty layer that had me nodding my head in pleasure on more than one occasion. The gravy was also of the right consistency to provide the necessary ooze without risk of spillage. This pie was £4 but I was starting to understand why.
Pastry: The pastry was where I think there was some space for improvement. Not in the nature of the bake which was solid. Golden and crisp without any hint of this sticking to the tin foil case but for the amount of pastry on the crimp. One of the great pleasures of eating a pie is that glorious first bite, where pastry and meat come together in a hopefully glorious unison of savouriness. On this pie, my first bite was all pastry and I had to pick some of it off before getting to the good stuff. It’s a minor complaint on a pretty tasty pie but it’s one worth mentioning.
Brown Sauce: Luxury Pie here so no brown sauce, and it was certainly not needed.
Overall: Yes it was £4 but it was bloody tasty. A bit of better advertising on what was in it would have been nice and bringing in the crimp a few millimetres would have enhanced that all important first bite experience but that’s a minor complaint on a very tasty pastry.
Gravy Factor: Luxury Gravy. Expensive but sometimes you have to treat yourself.
I think that was my first rugby pie which is a bit of a surprise as I’m known to land at a rugby ground fairly often. Next up will be a return to the Scottish Junior football scene with Rossvale, who are sponsored by one of Scotland’s biggest bakers, McGhee’s, so no pressure lads.
But 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.