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Iconic Aussie Food: As Australian as Meat Pie

This post is part of an ongoing series on iconic Aussie food. Be sure to check back for more food adventures, or subscribe to my RSS feed to receive updates automatically to your reader.

meat pieI’ve had meat pies on the brain lately since my boyfriend recently busted out his pie machine again. Yep, he makes us both homemade, gourmet-style meat pies in true Aussie fashion: filled with curry or with a stew with added gravy. They are amazing, and I wonder now why they aren’t popular back in America.

To be honest, I never knew what a meat pie was until I traveled around with Aussie backpackers in Europe. They would tell me about how much they could go for a meat pie right then and there, but couldn’t find what they were looking for. To me, it didn’t sound right; I like my pies to be filled with apples and cherries… not meat. To them, it’s one of the famous foods in Australia.

After hearing about them for ages, I made it a point to find a nice pie in Australia. About a week into living in Sydney, I stumbled across Harry’s Cafe de Wheels over in Haymarket, a place that has been doing meat pies since 1945. I was too nervous to attempt the pie with mash and peas and gravy on top (the “Tiger” pie); it was too much too soon, so I stuck to the basics. I ordered myself a steak and cheese pie for $5, streaked the top with some tomato sauce (ketchup) and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

However, after having tried many other types of pies since the first, I am grateful to have tried a nice pie in the beginning. If I had let myself taste one of those gelatinous cheap things you can get at the servo (gas station) from the start, I probably would have given up and never tasted them again. The same goes for the fast food types you can get at sporting events.

My Favorite Meat Pie

My boyfriend is head over heels in love with his own pies (they are quite good), so when I called him one day to tell him I had found the best meat pie in Australia, I think he was a bit cut. I had to apologize a million times, and then explain myself.

When I was doing the crazy awesome 16 day road trip with Heather some months ago now, we came across an ad for these pies while searching out the Finch Hatton Gorge west of Mackay. On the way to the gorge, we passed through Pinnacle, home to the historic Pinnacle Pub with its glorious, delicious, fantastic meat pie creations.

Yes, it is almost worth driving 60 kilometers outside of Mackay just to have one, or a few. But, seriously, one is enough since this pie has amazing crust. You just can’t get a pie quite like that anywhere else (or so I’ve found – I’m not an expert).

While not my favorite pies in the world, there is a great shop outside of Port Macquarie that offers up variety like no other pie shop around. I’m talking over 50 types of meat pies, from apricot chicken to kangaroo or croc-based pies. Heather and I also stopped here on our drive, but weren’t so much impressed with the pie crust. I’m sorry, Fredo’s, but that’s what you get after living in the shadows of the amazing Pinnacle Pie.