Meat pies form part of our national identity, sitting on a pedestal alongside lamingtons, Eskies and rubber thongs (that’s flip flops to you non-Aussies). Yep, we take these pastry parcels seriously.
Save yourself the calories and kilometres on the hunt for the flakiest pastry, richest fillings and thickest gravy – we’ve done the leg work from the tropics to the outback – to bring you the most delicious* meat pies your taste buds will ever meet.
These meaty treats are famous for a reason and their crispy pastry and chunky fillings keep Yatala Pies devotees detouring at Exit 38 day in, day out. This highway institution has been churning out pies for over 130 years, sending some 3500 pies a day into hungry hands and mouths. You can’t beat their traditional steak and mushroom pie and their family size pie is the perfect addition to any boozy BBQ.
Chew with a view
Sixty-five kilometres outside Mackay you’ll find seven Pinnacle Pies that are a crust above the rest. The Pinnacle Pie is best enjoyed as a dine-in experience, accompanied by a stellar view over the sugarcane fields, tree tops of Pioneer Valley and skyline of Mackay CBD. It’s hard to look past the traditional steak, mushroom and cheese pie – balanced to perfection with the right amount of chunky ingredients and just enough gravy.
Image: Rowan Bestman
If you can ride it, you can bake it
It’s not just horse racing that brings tourists to Birdsville each year. Dusty Miller’s curried camel pies are an attraction in themselves. With perfectly golden pastry and a mildly spiced meat filling, it’s worth mounting your mechanical stead to drive 1500 clicks inland to the Birdsville Bakery. Dusty cooks up other desert dwellers too – try his tender rabbit pie and kangaroo and claret pie – and dishes up some 30,000 pies every tourist season.
A slice of history
Sauers Pie Shop is one of those fabled pie establishments that’s been around for almost as long as the humble pie itself (a piece of pie trivia for you: the first pie in Australia was enjoyed in 1850). Family owned and operated since 1919, Sauers serves an unbeatable meat pie with a soft top, generous fillings and traditional gravy flavour. If the cooler months are tempting you to turn pie crazy, I’d suggest hitting the road to Maryborough.
Follow the herd
If you like your meat tender and seasoned generously, may I introduce you to the Goat Pie Guy. Not kidding – these pies are made from real Australian Boer goat meat, and are worth battling the herd of fans who trek to the Brisbane markets every Saturday. My favourite is the Moroccan Pie. Think chunks of goat meat cooked in a tagine with cumin, coriander, sweet potato and dates wrapped in a flaky, buttery crust. Mmmm.
Cooking up the coat of arms and turning it into a filling is exactly what Mocka’s Pies does best. With an unbeatable pie selection including kangaroo and red wine, spicy crocodile laksa and mixed seafood (chock full of wild barramundi, scallops and prawns) these pies satisfy even the most interesting flavour cravings. This Port Douglas institution has been pleasing customers for over 30 years with pies that pack a punch. In search of a winter warmer? The Tuna Mornay pie always hits the spot.
Joining the pie A-list are Joacheims Pies, who stole Hollywood’s heart, serving Hugh Jackman and Baz Luhrmann during the filming of Australia. Coming in at under $5 it’s hard to find better bang for your buck, and their signature crispy top and gooey centre is truly a slice of heaven. This Bowen store will give you more than just Hugh to drool over – especially when you try their potato top.
Flavours to savour
Pies with an Italian flair – Perfetto! Vincenzos at the Big Apple serves up some of the most tender and tasty pies on this list. I think these meaty morsels are best accompanied with a glass (or two) of a local Granite Belt vino. For me, the hero on the menu is the lamb pie – it’s rich, chunky and has the right amount of sauce to keep it tender. Buon Appetito pie lovers!
*Every pie fan loves something different, I know. My criteria for great pies is based on their flavour (I like it strong), the flakiness of the pastry (I like to wear it), the chunkiness of the filling (I don’t like a pie smoothie) and that illusive ingredient factor (I want it to stand out).
Who do you think does the best meat pie in Queensland?
Feature image courtesy of Steve Snodgrass.