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How-to select the best cuts for a meat pie

Meat pies are a staple food in the North of England particularly in the harvest months where you might even be lucky enough to find a venison pie on the menu.

Traditionally, Lancashire is a hearty meat and potato pie region and we’ve got a large selection of independent pie makers, on top of butchers, and pubs that make them. Your butcher shop might even stock them on occasion!

But, if you don’t or if you’ve got a customer looking for the best meats for a pie here’s what you’ll need to know to help them!


In general the most common type of meat people use inside a meat pie is beef. If your customer is looking for suggestions on the best meat for their pie, be sure to ask them what they’ve tried and what effect they are looking for. Similar to our guide discussing how to choose the best steak, when offering tips on the best cuts for a meat pie will boil down to customer preference.

  • Mince - easier to cook and will cook quicker
  • Braising or Stewing - best for very long cooking times
  • Brisket - perfect for those that like a flavourful and shredded meat pie
  • Short Rib - goes really well with ale or beer
  • Shin - packed with flavour, moist, and the best texture

Overall, there’s a lot of different beef options for pies. Ask your customer questions on the type of vegetables and flavours they want in the pie as it might rule out different cuts of meat.

It’s also worth mentioning to fry the beef before putting it in the pie. Similar to a steak you can trap in all of the flavours of the meat. Additionally, it will help separate the fat from the meat a little which can help reduce the likelihood of a soggy bottom!

UK-Butchers-Beef (1)


In most cases with a poultry meat pie, people will choose to use a whole chicken. If your customer is looking for recommendations, on the best parts of a chicken to cook for a pie recommend the whole chicken that’s been boiled down in a broth to lock in juiciness and flavour. You may also recommend turkey or other birds in season.

If they’ve found a chicken pie to be too bland you may want to recommend they add a little bit of pork to the pie. This will help increase the amount of fat in the pie and can give it more flavour!


A lamb meat pie can be a tricky one to get right when cooking at home. You should recommend customers choose lamb mince which can easily be browned and then cooked with other vegetables.

Or if they’re looking to cook a pie with larger chunks of vegetables you may want to recommend they use lamb shank instead! A lamb shank can provide a lot flavour and is very tender when slow cooked in a pie.

Your shop might even sell pre-diced lamb, chicken, or beef which is a fantastic and easy option for meat pies. While diced meat may not be as flavourful as other specific cuts it is a quick way for families to make a pie.

cutting with the grain

The most important thing to remember when giving your customer recommendations for the right meat for their home cooked pies is to listen!

Once you know their flavour profiles it might make recommendations down the road even easier. And while we’ve only covered the most common types of meat pies you’ll see all year around but, there’s also appetite for seasonal game or fish pies as well!

And in order to sell the best cuts for a meat pie, you’ll want to have your items beautifully displayed or pre-packaged. It’s vital to have the right equipment which is why at Butcher’s Equipment Warehouse we sell everything you’ll need!

We sell reliable butchers knives and butchers blocks so you can provide top-quality meat while operating at peak efficiency. If you have any questions or need advice, please give our friendly team a call on 01254 427721.