03.What to buy
Herbert Adams King Island Gourmet Premium Beef Pies take the gong for most meat at 38.5%, followed by Elmsbury Bakehouse Premium Grain Fed Beef Pies (Aldi) and Snowy River Meat Pies. Of these, Elmsbury has comparatively lower amounts of fat and sodium, making it our Best All-Rounder pie. Although it's not the cheapest on test, it's good to see the quality Aldi is offering in a premium pie that's nutritionally a better choice. Bear in mind, however, that Australian pasture-fed beef is a more sustainable choice than grain-fed beef.
What our tasting panel said
When it came to taste, our tasters weren’t too pleased. We asked them to describe the pie filling and pastry and give an overall impression. Of the tasters, 80% said there was too much gravy in Mrs Mac’s. This wasn’t surprising – when we cut the pies in half, gravy came oozing out. The other standout – half the panellists said Sargents Traditional Pies were too salty - and they were right; they were right up there for sodium content with 500mg per 100g. When it came to the overall impression of the filling, 65% said they liked Black & Gold, followed by 45% who liked Four’N Twenty Traditional. On the other hand, 80% disliked the filling of Coles Smart Buy. For the other pies, most panellists rated the filling as ‘OK’. One panellist summed up the taste, saying meat pies are “a snack that needs sauce.”
Our taste testers like their pie pastry to be a decent thickness that holds the contents of the pie well and doesn’t break apart in their hands. Around 70% said Four’N Twenty Traditional and 65% said Herbert Adams King Island Gourmet had perfect pastry. Almost half said Mrs Mac’s pastry was too thick, and Scott’s was too thin. Meanwhile, 80% said the pastry of Big Ben Traditional was too doughy and 40% said that Homebrand pies break apart, which we noticed as soon as we opened the packet.
As a final question we asked our panellists to consider if they would buy the pies or not. They were most likely to buy Four'N Twenty making it our Best Taste winner followed by Black & Gold which was also up there for taste. They were very unlikely to buy any of the other pies, particularly Homebrand, Scotts and Coles Smart Buy.
Elmsbury (Aldi) Bakehouse Premium Grain Fed Beef Pie wasn’t initially included into the taste test. However, when it came out as our Best All-rounder we put it through a small taste test, to confirm it had good taste along with its comparative value for money and nutritional quality.