The Choice consumer group reviews meat pies from time to time and in its 2010 test made this devastating comment:
“Very few meat pies are tasty or packed with meat, while the majority are a very unappetising prospect.”This then begs the question ‘What exactly is in a meat pie?’ Australian standards (FSANZ) demand the pie contain at least 25% meat flesh (as a percentage of the whole pie), but according to Choice, who tested twenty meat pies, the meat content varied from 22.7% to 38.5%.
The meats allowed by FSANZ in a meat pie are beef, buffalo, camel, cattle, deer, goat, hare, pig, poultry, rabbit, sheep and kangaroo meat. FSANZ's definition of meat includes snouts, ears, tongue roots, tendons and blood vessels. Only offal (such as brain, heart, kidney, liver, tongue, tripe) must be specified on the label. Wild animals ("slaughtered ... in the wild state") may not be used.
If we assume 30% meat produces an acceptable meat pie, then 70% of the pie is made up from the following:
binder for the ground beef, gravy, fats, salt, herbs, spices, the usual manufacturing chemicals, and last but not least, the pie crust.
I think we should be pragmatic about the pie crust and accept that it has to be made to cope with being held in one hand and munched without disintegrating and hot gravy running down your arm. I am not aware of anybody catching cancer or any other chronic disease that can be attributed to eating meat pies on a regular basis, so don’t let the pie crust ingredients bother you. Drinking beer and smoking yes.
Whereas the objective tests will tell us what foods we need to ease up on when our annual blood test is analysed, the ultimate test is the subjective taste test. The passion with which people love or hate pie brands is quite startling, and so I suggest you never argue with a man, or woman, with a pie in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other hand.
My trouble and strife has tested a few brands and has settled for Four’N Twenty Classic pies as they suit the family’s taste and are not too expensive. Choice also chose Four’N Twenty as one of the best in its taste test. I notice that Four’N Twenty is trying to sell pies in the USA too, good luck to them.
Official Great Aussie Meat Pie Competition