Scotland's ultimate steak pie can be found in Ayrshire as local butcher wins Scottish Craft Butchers Awards top prize

It's the eagerly anticipated traditional centrepiece of every true Scot's New Year's Day dining table - and the dish that every butcher strives to perfect.

Published 20th Sep 2019
Updated 31 st Oct 2023

Now, Scotland's ultimate steak pie has been tracked down to the Ayrshire town of Coylton.

Prime Cuts Butchers has been hailed the maker of the best Traditional Steak Pie in Scotland after their tasty meaty pastry lifted the coveted Diamond status in the Scottish Craft Butchers Awards 2019.

Delighted owner John Kennedy stated that it was his belief that the family-run firm makes the best in the country that prompted him to enter the nationwide awards for the very first time.

"I knew we made something special," he said, "but to lift the top accolade with our first ever entry is just fantastic - we're over the moon!"

John, who heads a chain of four Prime Cuts Butchers shops in south Ayrshire, revealed the recipe for his award-winning pie is carried in his head since he was taught how to "create perfection" at the hands of his old mentor when he was just 18-years-old.

John said: "Each of our other Prime Cuts shops in Ayr, Mauchline and Cumnock make their own pies to that same recipe, but we obviously have that special magic touch here at Coylton."

It was on the family farm that local man John learned the value of prime beef.

"There is nowhere to hide with a steak pie," he said. "If you don't use the very best of beef, you won't get the best possible pie.

"We use 100 per cent cubed prime Aberdeen Angus Cross shoulder steak and delicious gravy topped with an uncooked puff pastry lid," explained John. "Unlike many butchers, we sell our steak pies unfired as the first baking of the pastry is always the best."

Prime Cuts make and sell upwards of 800 steak pies every week but that demand soars to around 6,000 in the run-up to New Year.

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"It's the feast everyone looks forward to at New Year - it's part of our Scottish tradition.

"Many believe it's the ideal hangover cure while others claim it's an easy bake for the busy housewives at a hectic time of year.

"Either way, it's a key part of our business and to be able to say we make the best in Scotland is just terrific. It's a reward for all of us for the years of hard work that the team has put in and a salute to a 30-year-old recipe that's just topped the lot."

Prime Cuts Butchers, Coylton, lifted the South West of Scotland Regional Champion title before going on to secure the national prize.

Gordon King, executive manager of Scottish Craft Butchers, exclaimed that the Prime Cuts' pie as "outstanding", he said: "We had nearly 100 traditional steak pies entered in the bi-ennial awards from all across Scotland," he said. "That's a lot of pies for the judges to taste but there was definitely something special about the winner that marked it out for the 2019/20 title.

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"It was full, flavoursome, high quality meat and gravy, scrumptious golden flaky pastry and that indefinable 'something' that marked it out as the best in Scotland.

"A steak pie is a staple for all Scottish butchers - it's traditional fare and a favourite of customers everywhere. But making the perfect pie is what they all strive for and this year it's John Kennedy and his team that lead the field."

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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