Wednesday 10 June 2015

Are Meltons Mowbray Pork Pies Better?

Pork Farms - Pork Pie Reviews

I often wonder when I buy a Melton Mowbray whether it actually makes for a better pork pie than a 'standard' pork pie. We have already investigated what makes a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie different but does this actually make it any better?! There are a number of criteria that must be met in order to call a pork pie a Melton Mowbray such as a minimum percentage of pork. However, there is no guarantee that the pork is going to be any good...

pork farm pies

An offer on Pork Farms pork pies in Morrisons provided an excellent chance to do a head to head comparison. Packs of both 4 'standard' and 4 Melton Mowbray mini pork pies were only £1. At the same price would the Melton Mowbray be any better? I started by checking out the vital statistics for these pies.

'Standard' Pork Pies: pastry 55%, pork filling 31%, jelly 13%, milk. The pork filling was only 67% pork, plus pork fat. The rest was flour and starch. Jelly is pork gelatine

Melton Mowbray Pork Pie: pastry 53%, pork filling 36%, jelly 10% Pork filling is 95% pork. Jelly is pork gelatine.

So it seems that the Melton Mowbray has much more pork content, it has to meet the minimum Melton Mowbray standard of 30% pork. The standard pie does not meet this requirement given that only 67% of the 'pork filling' is actually pork meat! But it's not all about who is telling porkies regarding their meat content, it is about how good they taste so it is time for a head to head comparison!

pork farm pies
pork farm pies
Melton Mowbray (L) alongside the 'standard' pork pie (R)

Melton Mowbray Pork Pie'Standard' Pork Pie
Condition2.80 - Quite mis-shapen despite coming out of a machine. Some boil out. 2.90 - Looked very much the same as the Melton Mowbray but without the boil out.
Colour3.90 - A decent dark brown colour which is expected from a Melton.3.90 - These are very much the same as the Melton Mowbrays in appearance, perhaps they are made in the same factory.
Cheapness4.00 - This price is pretty good but there wasn't a lot to these pies and they are normally more expensive than this.4.00 - Same as the Melton Mowbrays.
Capacity3.20 - As you would expect from a pie so small, there isn't much filling. They had quite big airgaps, perhaps by making the pie lighter this increases the percentage of meat?4.00 - Also a small pie, but smaller air gaps.
Chewiness3.40 - The pork was in discernible pieces and was fairly firm. Let down by some really chewy pieces. Some of the pastry had a nice bit of crunch but most of it was too soft.3.40 - The filling was just a mush, there was no texture as such. Despite the meat being in such small pieces I did find one chewy bit. The pastry for this pie was very much the same.
Content3.30 - An okay peppery taste but it lacked jelly and was dry.3.50 - The filling just tasted like sausage roll. Cooked (not cured) pork meat which is the same as a Melton Mowbray. It was too salty but wasn't dry.
Consistency3.00 - Overall this pie just didn't work for me, it was soft and a bit soggy in places and dry in others.3.10 - A bit too soft and mushy, this pie was not as good as other mini pork pies we have had, but at least it avoided the dryness and some of the chewiness of the Melton Mowbray.
Total3.37 out of 73.54 out of 7

The first thing this investigation showed was that there was actually quite a lot of difference between the two types of pork pie. However, the normal pork pie managed to beat the Melton Mowbray on this occassion. I think this was because at this price it is difficult to do a good Melton Mowbray, to get the higher meat percentage the quality of the meat will suffer. To maintain the meat percentage in the Melton Mowbray they were less able to bulk the pie up with fat and starch, this meant the pie was more dry.

In this case the Melton Mowbray was not as good, but there certainly are good ones out there! Just have a look at our article on Melton Mowbrays. My conclusion is it is not worth buying a cheap Melton Mowbray, in that case you are better off with a normal pork pie. But if you are paying more then they are worthwhile. I have also concluded that Pork Farms make some pretty bad pork pies. They make Melton Mowbrays for some supermarkets (such as ASDA) and I have found that these tend to be lower quality.


P.S. Here's a fact for all you pork pie geeks out there. Pork Farms are the only producer of Melton Mowbray Pork Pies who are not a member of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association. It's like they want all the benefits of being in the club without having to contribute to the club. Reminds me of the Tory party's view on the European Union.

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