Friday 29 December 2017

Football Pie Review: Cooked for a Steven-age?

Rating the beef and onion football pie at Stevenage FC by Pukka Pies

Beef and Onion Pukka Pie Review at Stevenage FC
Beef and Onion Pukka Pie Review at Stevenage FC
Following a trip to London for Christmas drinks recently, it seemed an obvious op-pie-tunity to tick off another football ground in the area in the search for football’s best pies. This time we visited the Lamex Stadium, home to League Two side Stevenage FC.

Heading through the turnstiles, I immediately walked past the food shack for the away end, which was already tens of people long. However I wasn’t going to risk missing out on pie by waiting til half time, going for some chips and one of the many pies on offer. You’ll see from the photo I was purchasing from the imaginatively named “Tea Bar 4” from a heavily taped up menu board (one wonders what was previously offered under the red tape?!) but the pies had remained at £2.50, which is very reasonable for a football pie these days.

Pie Menu at Stevenage FC
The food menu at "Tea Bar 4" at Stevenage Football Club
The pie itself was a standard Pukka Pies Beef and Onion pie, but presented well in a white plastic tray with plastic fork. While I have to admit it was additional to my needs, as a pick-up-your-pie-in-your-hands-and-eat-it kinda guy, I did appreciate that the option was there for the, perhaps slightly more civilised among us, to eat from a tray using a fork! (Still, nothing will compete with Kate, the #AwayDayPieGirl, and her personalised metal football pie fork!)

Beef and Onion Pukka Pie Review at Stevenage FC
Beef and Onion Pukka Pie Review at Stevenage FC
I said it before but I’ll say it again - pie, tray and fork for just £2.50 puts a lot of clubs to shame (many Premier League clubs charge well over £3 for just a pie of the same brand!) But the big question was how the pie rated!

The lid was golden and flaky, as I’d expect from a well-cooked Pukka Pie, though Sam and I have certainly been to enough football games to know all is not always well when it comes to just a golden topped pie lid! Digging into the content, the beef and onion flavour was nice – not too liquid a gravy and a nice meaty mince flavour, however the capacity of the filling wasn’t great and to my disappointment I did notice what I had feared…

Did you see that we contributed to the Coral Pie Premier League article to find out fan's views on Premier League pies? We dissect it in our "We bet you'll want to know the top football pies!" article.

Also see their short one minute video below for a summary of their results, including a shock response to the nation's favourite half time snack!

Beef and Onion Pukka Pie Review at Stevenage FC
Crisp base of the Beef and Onion Pukka Pie at Stevenage FC
Mince had started to solidify on the bottom crust of the pie, much like the meat encrusting on your saucepan base if you forget to keep stirring your bolognaise properly! A classic sign of over-bake on the base of a pie, which was confirmed when I turned the base over and saw the over baked base. No soggy bottom in sight here but the other end of the pie base spectrum with an overly crisp base that was rather too solid to easily bite through. It had formed an almost biscuity layer, much like the Pukka rated at Wycombe’s ground recently.

While I enjoyed the rest of the pie, that base was severely over baked and screamed of sitting in a hot locker for too long. Alas this is a regular criticism of football pies, sometimes exasperated in smaller grounds where there is only one main kitchen pumping out pies for the whole ground. Not the worst pie I’ve had at a football ground, but that still doesn’t help it get a great position in the PIEremiership table – our football pie league.

Pukka Pies Beef and Onion Pie
Score: 3.68/7
[Colour 5, Capacity 4, Consistency 3.5, Condition 2.5, Chewiness 3, Cheapness 4.5, Content 3.25]

We've rated over 600 pies, including a number of football pies

In the match itself, an end-to-end battle led to an entertaining but goal shy 0-0 draw between Stevenage and Wycombe Wanderers. The two best chances went Wycombe’s way, with a near comical goal from the Wycombe keeper Scott Brown who took a free kick from the half way line that looped over the keeper, hit the underside of the crossbar and almost went in bar a goal-line clearance, and an Akinfenwa header which hit the post and went wide. (Note: The BBC article incorrectly assigns the comical free kick to our defender, but being at the game I can confirm it was our keeper who took the free kick – you can’t miss his kaleidoscope kit, believe me!!)

More about us and our football pie pedigree:

Sam and Rob being interviewed by BBC Sport's Azi Farni
Watch the video on the BBC Sport website
Regulars to our pie blog will know we're the world's leading pie review blog - featuring over 600 pie reviews with multiple football pie media appearances! Two years ago we joined BBC Sport's Azi Farni at Morecambe FC, who make some of the best pies rated on Pierate (let alone football grounds) to discuss what makes the perfect football pie! Watch us featuring in the BBC Price of Football video here.

Check out our PIEremiership article and you'll find that Morecambe FC's Globe Arena is certainly the place to be for top football pies! Top of our football pie league and winners of the British Pie Awards twice, they make the pies in the kitchen on site by hand, rather than just buying them in! We recently interviewed previous Head Chef Graham Aimson on his new adventure, but hope the pies at Morecambe stay top of the league in his absence!


Want to find out what the Pierateers really make of the state of the (pie) game in English Football? Check out our analysis in our Pies of Football 2016 article to find out what makes a great football pie!

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

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