Borders butchers rise to the challenge at pie competition

Staff at Alan Learmonth's Butchers in Jedburgh celebrate success at the Craft Butcher Awards 2019.
Staff at Alan Learmonth's Butchers in Jedburgh celebrate success at the Craft Butcher Awards 2019.

A Jedburgh butcher has proved he has the recipe to success when it comes to pies, after picking up a clutch of the top honours in a national competition.

Allan Learmonth’s Butchers is once again the envy of pie-makers throughout the region having picked up no fewer than four prizes at the Craft Butchers Scotland awards last week.

Jason Ward presents a silver awards to Bryan Hume from Shaws Fine Meats.

Jason Ward presents a silver awards to Bryan Hume from Shaws Fine Meats.

The High Street butcher won gold awards for its traditional steak pie and its speciality chicken, haggis and peppercorn pie.

Its steak and haggis pie and mince round also earned silver awards, making it four prizes from four for Alan and his seven staff.

“It’s all hands on deck when it comes to making our pies,” Allan said. “Everybody takes a turn and each one is hand made in store.

“We are famed for our pies and have won recognition at the Craft Butchers awards every year, whatever the category, since we opened in 2005.”

Allan’s chicken, haggis and peppercorn pie was named best pie in Britain in 2009, and this was it’s first award since then.

“That one sells itself,” Allan added. “It’s extremely popular and we must sell hundreds every week. This is the first time I’ve entered it in a competition since 2009 so I thought I’d put it in and see if it’s still to the judges taste too, and it obviously still is.”

This year’s competition was held at Forth Valley College, Fife, and more than 280 pies from throughout the country were judged for appearance, flavour, filling and appeal.

The panel of judges included experts, food writers and interested consumers and the event is organised by the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders.

Other Borders butchers lifting awards this year include G J Sanderson Butchers in Coldstream, which reclaimed the regional title for the best traditional steak pie in the south east of Scotland. It’s steak and haggis pie also earned a silver award in the speciality steak pie category.

The region’s other success on the night came from Hawick’s Robert Pringle Butchers, which picked up silver awards for their traditional steak pie and their mince round, and Lauder High Street’s Shaw’s Fine Meats which also picked up a silver award for its mince round.

Executive manager of Scottish Craft Butchers, Gordon King, said: “We had nearly 100 traditional steak pies entered in the bi-ennial awards from all across Scotland,

“These awards show the exceptional standard of product being crafted by our local butchers and set the bar pretty high for others to follow.

“This year’s evaluation attracted a high number of entrants and competition for the top titles was very fierce.”