Perfect Balance

First I have to start by complimenting my dear husband. He got up last Friday in the wee hours of the morning, when it’s still quite dark, to start the 14 pound brisket in the smoker. I admit that I was skeptical. We had done some reading about smoking a packer brisket and it sure sounded complicated. There are so many things to consider…things I had never even heard of before. So to say I was nervous would be an understatement. We had a backyard full of people to feed after all.

Well, I ended up worried over nothing (Isn’t that usually the case for us natural born worriers?). Mike’s brisket was cooked to perfection – pink on the inside, crispy on the outside and oh, so juicy! There was only a morsel left (You know the last piece no one takes because no one wants to be the person to take the last piece.). And I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to all of our wonderful friends that brought the tasty side dishes to share. Each one was delicious! Sadly, I was too busy to take a photo, so you’ll just have to use your imaginations. You can flashback to our “Chopped Challenge” from New Year’s to see the rub Mike used though. Great stuff!

Now back to our Australian adventures…As we adjust to being back in our school routines, it’s all about finding that perfect life balance – or at least some semblance of balance. You know, trying to find the right balance of time for work, family, exercise, marriage, volunteer work, the kids’ activities and heck, even blogging! Some days it all comes together and others, well, you just have to muddle through. Those are the kind of days when a little comfort food is in order. Like an Aussie Meat Pie. We started with a pie crust.

Now I’m almost horrified to admit it, given my love of making homemade pie crusts, but for this recipe we went for the ready-made variety. I felt like such a cheat…but when trying to find that balance, sometimes you have to make sacrifices. Even with your pride.

If you have some extra time, I’d recommend a butter crust for this dish. You can find my real recipe here. I also recommend doing a quick pre-bake of the bottom crust at 350F for about 10 minutes. It will help to hold the meat which we browned up with our onion.

Then it was time to add the fixings – beef stock, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce (or Vegemite if you have it), cornstarch and apple cider vinegar.

Boil, reduce, simmer, set aside to cool.

That’s an important step…set the meat aside to cool. If you don’t, you’ll melt holes into your top crust. I know. Then roll out the top crust.

Miss A then sealed the two pie crusts together with a fork.

And Mr. N helped to patch our holes and brush over the egg wash. Again, remember to let your meat cool.

We baked the meat pie at 350F for 20 minutes. We’ll just call this one rustic looking…

Now, most Aussie meat pies are served in smaller individual size pie tins which would probably work a lot easier, but we just made one regular size pie for dinner. You can serve the slices with ketchup or without. To be honest, the flavor of this meat pie was the one thing that did end up with a good balance and didn’t need any additional sauce.

I gave the meat pie 3 spoons. It reminded me a lot of my mom’s sloppy joes from when I was a kid. I haven’t had those in years, so this was just a nice comforting dish in so many ways.

Mike also thought it tasted like sloppy joes, which aren’t one of his favorite foods, so he only came in at 2-1/2 spoons.

This wasn’t one of Mr. N’s favorites either. Mr. N gave the meat pie 2 spoons; although he did say he liked the pie crust. (Knife in my heart! Ha!) Miss A liked it more than her brother and actually requested some the next day for dinner making this a 3 spoon recipe for her.

The meat pie is easily something that can be adapted to suit particular tastes. My guess is that my taste buds were leading me back toward my mom’s sloppy joes as the meat filling was coming together. They were always a little sweet and tangy. Mike’s taste buds would probably have taken this in a different direction which used less ketchup and more savory seasonings. So it’s certainly not a recipe I’m ruling out. We just need to find the perfect balance. Hopefully it will be easier than juggling time!

Print this recipe: Meat Pie

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53 comments on “Perfect Balance

  1. i grew up on meat pies. not the aussie ones exactly but meat pies nonetheless and i love them. I say you did a meat pie lover proud!

  2. Deborah says:

    I’m so far behind on my blog reading – I really need to go back and read your Austrialian adventures! My brother in law is from Australia, and so my sister & her family spend a few months over there every year. Crazy enough, I have never even asked her what they eat! I know they like to grill seafood, and of course I know about Tim Tams!!

    This looks great, and I want some of that brisket, too! :)

  3. I sure would be comforted with a slice of that yummy meat pie Kristy. Balancing everything as a working mom who blogs about her family’s adventures in the kitchen is no easy feat! You always make it look easy Kristy–and delicious!

  4. Balance? What’s that?!! Let me know if you find the magic formula… I’m all ears! ;-).

    This lovely meat pie of yours is very reminiscent of the French Canadian “Tourtière” – (a Quebec tradition). We eat it during the réveillon on Christmas day (around 2 am in the morning!!). We especially enjoy it with molasses…yum.

    That wonderful man of yours is a keeper! (besides, you know how I feel about his Habs shirt) ;-).

  5. Charles says:

    “And I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to all of our wonderful friends…”

    LOL, I read that as “all of our delicious friends” at first, because “delicious” is right under the word “wonderful” and I was thinking “damn, I don’t want to go to your dinner parties! Sounds like a great time though, and the brisket sounds like it was divine!

    Love the sound of this meat pie – I’m a big lover of meat pies… I hope if you ever “visit” England on your food travels again that you’ll have a go at making a real steak and kidney pie, or even a steak and kidney “pudding” :D

  6. A Sloppy Joe Pie! I like it! In fact, I had a meat pie while I was in Aussie land and it was pretty good…way better than that Vegemite stuff. ;)

  7. Thank you for reminding us to let the filling cool, that would totally be something I’d do, always in a hurry around here. This sound delicious just as it is, but you’re right, it could be done up in a number of ways for a busy weeknight! Excellent idea! I still make sloppy joes:D

  8. rsmacaalay says:

    This is very common here, I love the steak and cheese as well as the mince and cheese pies. Yum!

  9. Your pie looks so good! I know my family would enjoy the recipe, but I might need to resort to a prepared crust! I have just never accomplished a good crust. I wonder if it’s ever too late to learn! ha! I did give up on my quest a long, long time ago. You are so adventurous–thus the wonderful name of your blog. That is one BIG brisket you guys smoked, but I’m sure you had a wonderful experience. Your friends are very fortunate! :-)

  10. Rose says:

    I’m an Aussie and even I would find it hard to give this pie more than 1 fork. I am reading the list of ingredients and am having a coronary with all the salt content. I prefer a Real meat pie over a sloppy mince pie any day. Donna Hay has some beautiful recipes you might want to look into. I’m sure Mr N would then give a 4-5 spoon rating. All the best in your Australian cuisine. I love following your international food travels!

    • Kristy says:

      It’s definitely a higher sodium meal…certainly not one we’d eat often. I’ll have to check out the Donna Hay recipes. I bet Mr. N and Mike would both prefer those. I’m just a sucker for a good sloppy joe. :)

  11. Finally the perfect Auzzie Meat pie. I can’t wait to make one for my dear friends. I just love watching your kids in action in the kitchen and your top portrait photo just takes my breath away with the action going on in your kitchen. Love it!

  12. I really am ridiculously excited that your blogging about Australia food. This meat pie looks like an absolute ripper! I was a bit sad to see you didn’t put vegemite in it, but maybe it’s hard to come across? If you want to try any Aussie sweets you have to give ANZAC biscuits a go, very Australian. P.S. I don’t know what a brisket is, about to google it :(

    • Kristy says:

      Couldn’t find any vegemite…not even at our store that has everything. One of these days I hope to try it. I hear it’s a love it or hate kind of thing. We have tried the ANZAC biscuits before when we cooked from New Zealand. They were awesome!!! We do have a good Australian dessert coming up though. :)

  13. Eva Taylor says:

    So glad that the brisket worked out so well with the smoking. That last piece would surely have been gobbled up by JT had he been there…he doesn’t let anything like that stop him.
    The meat pie looks interesting, I may have to try it, JT loves that kind of thing. I was surprised to see how it held together, because it looked rather liquidy in your photos.
    School starts next week for the kiddies in Toronto…provided the teachers don’t go on strike. :-(

    • Kristy says:

      Letting it cool really helped to hold it together. When I first cut some right out of the oven, it was much more “sloppy.” (Wet paper towel to clean up the plate a bit for the photo too.) ;)

  14. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    You definitely found the right husband Kristy! :D I doubt my husband will wake up to cook that early, although he loves eating! I’ve noticed that I’ve never had Meat Pie although I hear the name before. I also have never seen at the store too – either I’m not paying attention or this is really homemade pie kind of thing?! Must be so delicious!

    • Kristy says:

      In Australia meat pies are a common street food (or so I’ve read). Seems like you can really come up with a variety of different ingredients too. It’s a very comforting dish. :)

  15. Mary says:

    I’m so impressed – firstly with your husband and his dedication to duty! and then you and your wonderful pie – wow that looks good :)
    Mary x

  16. Purely.. Kay says:

    I am in complete shock that he actually got up that early. my hat goes off to you Mike :). And I have to admit, these do look very similar to a sloppy joe and I never liked those for some strange reason. But I would try this

  17. I LOVE meat pies!!! I spent a month in Australia last Christmas and fell hard for their spin on “pies”. This looks great, Kristy!

  18. Oh that elusive balance
    I wish I can find it!
    I actually saw the individual ones today on another blog and was thinking I need to give these a try but maybe play around with the seasoning a little

  19. ceciliag says:

    I have no idea what a sloppy joe is but your pie looks great. In Aussie and NZ we would call that a mince pie. II make pies all the time, steak and cheese is the favourite with my kids or steak and onion, steak and mushroom or the best one.. Potato Top, Make the mince pie , with the pastry bottom then the mince, then pile mashed potato on top then grated cheese on top of that! YUM! Actually i am going to go and make one for dinner! I have just decided! Thank you! c

    • Kristy says:

      The mashed potatoes sound like an AWESOME addition to a meat pie!!!! I’m definitely doing that this winter. Hope you enjoyed your meat pie this week. :)

  20. spicegirlfla says:

    Oh Kristy, pull the knife out of your heart! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cheated on the crust and then someone remarks how they just love my pie crust!! I just keep my lips closed tightly and smile… :) I think you have a beautiful, rustic pie there, made with love from little hands. I’ve actually had an Assie meat pie, homemade from some Australian friends. It was good but not something I’d run home to make myself. I guess each nationality has their favorites, I’m sure they would not love sardines like I do!!

    • Kristy says:

      LOL! Lips closed and just smile. I love it. :) Speaking of sardines…I’ve got to try some putanesca sauce on pasta. It sounds fabulous!! Then if it’s a hit, I’m going for your soup this winter. :)

  21. Norma Chang says:

    Using a ready made pie crust is not cheating, just a short cut, after all the filling is from scratch. With time restraints, we do what we have to do to get the job done. I too would have love to see aa photo of Mike’s brisket.

  22. Ah the indefinitely and undefinable “balance”…I’m convinced that no matter how well I’m doing, there’s always something slightly off balance. Which is probably a good thing; it keeps me striving to be better. I think the pie looks delicious.

  23. Looks very very tender and Juicy…¡¡ As you said sometimes one has to use easy way process (in this case the crust for you). It’s not the same but it’s food and you know how to improve it with a nice meat filling.

  24. Kudos to Mike for getting up early to get the brisket started. Your meat pie looks fabulous – I haven’t make a ground beef pie for the longest time. :-) Mandy

  25. ChgoJohn says:

    I’ve tried smoking brisket and it surely didn’t come out anything like yours. I need to keep at it. Mike’s not only sounds delicious but the fact that he served 40 people is remarkable!
    A meat pie that tastes like Sloppy Joes? Are you kidding me? Don’t change a thing, Kristy! In fact, mass market them. You’ll make a fortune!

  26. Dawn says:

    I wish you had taken pictures of the brisket!! My husband would have loved to see it – he thinks that brisket is the ultimate challenge that he has not yet conquered. This pie looks RIGHT up my alley, and my kids would love it, I will definitely have to give it a try!!

    • Kristy says:

      I’ve got one picture of the brisket, but it’s not a good shot. I just grabbed a pic of it mid-party. Too much going on to focus on a good picture. Maybe I’ll post it next post though. :)

  27. A_Boleyn says:

    I always found sloppy joes much too sweet for my taste so I might be one of 2 spoon voters as well. :) The smoked brisket sounds like it was a great success.

  28. hotlyspiced says:

    Now that’s a great looking meat pie. All the Aussies over here are very proud of you! It sure looks like an incredible success. Love hearing about the brisket too. Smoking something is not something I have done before. I’d love your recipe if you ever blog about it! xx

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