Scotland’s best steak pie award goes to Ayr butcher

An Ayrshire butcher’s steak pie has been crowned the best in Scotland – and is still made with the same family recipe from 1983.

Prime Cuts Butchers won the Scottish Traditional Steak Pie Champions in 2019 and secured an amazing double by retaining the title in the first national competition since Covid.

Prime Cuts Butchers, which operates four shops in Ayrshire, have again been judged makers of the finest family favourite with their Maybole Road shop in Ayr taking top honours.

Delighted owner John Kennedy said he was left ‘speechless’ at winning the coveted Diamond status in the Scottish Craft Butchers Awards.

‘These two evaluation competitions are the only two we have ever entered our traditional steak pies for,’ the 53-year-old said.

‘Winning in 2019 through our Coylton shop cemented our faith in what we saw as an outstanding product and to retain the top spot with the Ayr team in 2023 puts it beyond all doubt – judges agree that Prime Cuts make the best steak pie in Scotland.

‘We’re absolutely thrilled to take the title again – everyone is overjoyed. 

‘It’s an amazing honour and a great reward for everyone’s hard work – especially manager John Gibson and his team at Ayr.’

John explained that the recipe first championed by Prime Cuts when his father opened their first shop in 1983 remains the same to this day.

‘Each of the Prime Cuts shops in Ayr, Mauchline, Cumnock and Coylton make their own pies to that same recipe,’ said John.

‘But the team at Ayr obviously had the magic touch this time round.’

Prime Cut Butchers in Ayr who have been named Scottish Craft Butchers Traditional Steak Pie Champions for 2023. Credit: Perthshire Picture Agency

While John is happy to reveal some of the winning recipe’s secrets, he guards others closely.

‘We use 100 percent cubed prime Aberdeen Angus Cross shoulder steak and delicious gravy topped with an uncooked puff pastry lid,’ he said.

‘Unlike many butchers, we sell our steak pies unfired as the first baking of the pastry is always the best.’

What goes into the delicious gravy, however, remains a secret.

‘Quality is the key,’ he said. ‘Only use the best to create the best.’

Prime Cuts make and sell around 1,000 traditional steak pies every week – from individual to large family versions. 

And with the run-up to New Year looming and another Scottish Championship under their belt, the team at Prime Cuts is bracing for a run on their award-winners.

‘Steak pies are a traditional Scottish favourite – especially at New Year – and a key part of our business,’ said John. 

‘Retaining the Scottish title will make our pies even more in demand, so a busy time lies ahead for our butchers.’

Gordon King, Executive Manager of Scottish Craft Butchers, said that nearly 100 traditional steak pies were forwarded to the awards evaluation from butchers the length and breadth of Scotland.

‘We always have a strong entry for this category,’ he said.

‘As every butcher wants to be the champion in the run-up to Christmas and New Year,’ he said.

‘The fact that Prime Cuts retained the title with a different set of judges after a four-year break means they are producing something really special – a consistently high-quality winner.’

Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s food and drink pages.

Plus, don’t miss the November’s issue of Scottish Field magazine.