Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > U.K./Ireland >
Jul 23, 2008 09:59 AM

Pork Pies

Ok, not very healthy I admit, but I do love a traditional pork pie. Best ones I've had recently were from Middlemiss & Son in Otley, Yorkshire. Thin pastry, lots of moist jelly and loads of meat. The problem is, I live in London so I'm hoping for recs for there and also N West/N Wales (which I visit a lot).....any tips gratefully received - and the diet starts next year!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The best pork pies IMHO come from Melton Mowbray ( close to Nottingham) and orginated there (I am told) as it was the point at which horses had to be changed on the ride North from London and the hard casing of the pie protected it on the rest of the journey

    They are about to attain European geographical status so that only pies made in the region can be called MM pork pies.

    The best maker in MM is Mrs Kings Pork Pies who make their pies with just six ingredients. Flour, water, lard, pork (70% lean leg/30% fatty shoulder and trotters for the jelly) salt & pepper. They also have a higher level of meat content than any other pork pie. The legal requirement is 35%, The Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Asscoiation says 45% and, I think, Mrs King's are up to 50%.

    They only make 2,000 a week and sell them at Borough Market every Friday & Saturday.

    I spent a day with the owners, the Hartland family last year and you could not meet nicer people. The link below has some good clips of Ian Hartland hand raising a pie and showing how they are made.

    They may not be they healthiest food, but they are damn delicious. I have one in the fridge for my supper, so I have to go now, I hear pork calling.


    10 Replies
    1. re: Simon Majumdar

      I think you've convinced me to try one of these, Simon. I might die next week after consuming the pie, but so be it. I could kick myself because we drove very close to Melton Mowbray a weekend ago on the way back from Whitby. I think we would have stopped but we were zonked.

      1. re: zuriga1

        Oh, do try one. Whatever you may think, there is no legal requirement to be a middle aged man with a large belly, a beard and a penchant for Jethro Tull. I for example, have no beard.

        Eat the pie with some piccallili, pickled onions, some Monty's cheddar or Kirkham's lancashire and a glass of Black Sheep bitter.

        It will change your life

        1. re: Simon Majumdar

          Thanks for the tips. Luckily, I do not have a beard.... and as for Jethro Tull.......:-)

          I have already changed my life drastically once, but I'll go for it again!

          1. re: Simon Majumdar

            But do you like Jethro Tull?

            I like Mrs King's pork pies too, preferably with a bit of brown sauce on the side. And I am neither bearded, male or middle-aged.

        2. re: Simon Majumdar

          Absolutely second the Mrs Kings recommendation... really wonderful texture and flavour. The Ginger Pig also make their own pork pies - very meaty, but a different texture, and distinctive flavour. Crusts are thicker than Mrs King's as well - but to satisfy a craving when Mrs King's isn't available for the rest of the week, they certainly beat the supermarket alternatives...

          1. re: SpikeyD

            Right off pork pie hunting this sat morning. Can't wait! And thanks for the tips..

            1. re: DietStartsTomorrow

              remember to take a flute and stand on one leg when ordering


            2. re: SpikeyD

              I second the Ginger Pig suggestion. I am by no means an expert on pork pies, but the one I had from the location just off Marylebone High Street was delicious: moist, lots of jelly, tender, very vaguely sweet crust.

            3. re: Simon Majumdar

              I've just returned from a weekend staying with friends in Melton Mowbray, the centre of the pork pie universe ...

              Because of your recommendation, we tried to get hold of a pie from Mrs King, but they were closed. Instead, we tasted two others (both manufacturers, along with Mrs King, are in the Pork Pie Association, which only has 8 members). The first we tried was from Dickinson and Morris. I've had it before, and it is a good pie - the pastry is quite thin, and the meat is reassuringly grey (unlike the usual nasty pink hue of pork pies around the country). I liked it, it was lovely and moist, but the pork is chopped more finely than I would like, and there is too much pepper in it, which can overwhelm that true porkiness we all desire.

              The other was from Brockleby's - sold at their farm shop just outside Melton. Well, it was completely different to any other I've had - big chunks of pork with real flavour and lots of jelly. The pastry had more flavour than the other pie, but it was thicker and, in places, a little soggy - but it was fab - overall way ahead.

              The question is - does it beat Mrs King's pies? Apparently the Brockleby ones have won the first prize for the best Melton Mowbray pork pie two years running - trouncing the opposition, by all accounts! I don't know if they distribute to suppliers in London though...

              1. re: Theresa

                We finally ate our Mrs. King's pie last week, and it was excellent. My husband is the better judge as I had never eaten pork pie before. He said the crust was first-rate. If they do sell Brockleby's in London or nearby, I'd love to make a comparison. It would be interesting!

            4. I am wary of posting this but....our butcher stocks pork pies from "Midland Chilled Foods" (Bartletts of Bath). They come in a simple cellophane wrapper with very simple text - industrial rather than artisan. They are really, really good.

              No rustic kitchen in sight, simply a big blue tin shed on an industrial estate (I checked their website). Worth trying if out of range of the Ginger Pig or Borough Market.

              10 Replies
              1. re: PhilD

                Maybe it's like corned beef in Manhattan, Phil. How many different ways can there be to cook that.. or pork pies? That said, I bought a Mrs. King pie today. My husband is the only one who can judge its worth, as I have no reference point at all!

                1. re: zuriga1

                  Zuriga1 - rush out and buy a couple of samples from the supermarket, a cheap on and a good one, and then do a taste test against Mrs King. You will soon have a reference point...!

                  If up north in Cumbria stop at Tebay services on the M6 they also have some fine pies in the farm shop. I have not tried their pork pies but the lamb was spectacular.

                  1. re: PhilD

                    How much pork pie can I eat?? LOL! To top it all off, I went to Jack O'Shea's butcher shop in Knightsbridge today. My wallet is empty.

                    1. re: zuriga1

                      What did you get? Was it wince-makingly expensive?

                      1. re: greedygirl

                        I just bought a medium, simple pork pie. There was an interesting combination pie with a few good-sounding ingredients (can't remember if it was apples, apricots or something else with the meat). I think the pie was only about £4 or close to that.

                        I was the only customer at the cheese sandwich stall. It was probably too hot for most people to think about eating something warm, but I was determined to try one.

                        1. re: greedygirl

                          I see you meant at O'Shea's. :-) I bought a flank steak which I'm grilling in about 15 minutes. I didn't let myself think in $$. It was about £8 for a very good-sized piece of meat. You're certainly right that the meat is beautiful, and it's good to splurge once in awhile. I'm sure in America, the same meat would easily be half the price.

                          1. re: zuriga1

                            It's half the price at my local butcher, and in a taste test Mr GG preferred it! (I liked the Knightsbridge beef better - not a cheap date, me.)

                            1. re: greedygirl

                              I guess we all have our own tastes... mine are expensive, too! My problem is that Mr. Z. doesn't want to eat beef very often, but I've gotten used to that now. He did taste my flank steak and had to agree it was delicious. Next time, I'll try some lamb shanks. No complaints from Mr. Z. about the price of the meat... I stayed away from all the clothing sales that day.

                    2. re: zuriga1

                      I bought a Mrs Kings today too! Will be picnicking in Viccie Park tomorrow with it. Yum!

                  2. If you're ever in Gloucestershire, Jesse Smith's butchers (or at least the one in Cirencester, there are a number) used to do a good line in pork pies. Actually, most of their pies were good. The pork and apple one was a particular favourite.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ali patts

                      savin hill pork pies are often very good (occasionally minced too finely for my liking). they are at more of the northwest farmers markets and food fairs.

                      they use middle white pigs (the greatest utility pig of all ?) and their pork pie with apple topping is superb. they have a website and you can vist them.

                      they also do british white beef and fabulous mutton.

                      the other fruit yopped varieties varieties are ok depending on your own personal taste. im not fond of the pie with pate in the bottom, unecessary overkill masking the pig flavour.

                      heretic that i am i always have my pie with organic heinz baked beans, my lovely wife with peas and helmans mayonnaise.