A new deal with an Australian-based meat pie company is bringing the iconic food to Philadelphia, but Aussies want to make sure fans eat them correctly.
four n twenty in australia
Credit: Courtesy of Four’N Twenty

A Philadelphia sports team is introducing an Australian food favorite to its fans and its introduction is already stirring up controversy.

The Philadelphia 76ers recently announced that they were adding meat pies, a flaky pastry filled with meat and often other savory ingredients, to their concessions for the 2017-2018 season. The deal between the basketball team and meat pie company is a multi-year agreement, which will see Four'N Twenty as the presenter of Australian Heritage Night in January 2018 and the launch of a Four'N Twenty beef pie eating contest, in addition to the pies being available on the concourse.

Available starting tomorrow, the Australian favorite is being offered as an unofficial homage to the professional basketball team’s record-setting point guard Ben Simmons. Simmons hails from Melbourne, Australia and his early career success played a role in getting the Philly team its first international sponsor, Four’N Twenty, the popular Australian meat pie maker. It’s also fitting as the team’s coach, Brett Brown, spent several years coaching in the land down under.

Leading up to the iconic Australian food’s release, the newest menu item available at the Wells Fargo Center was given to a handful of sports reporters to sample. Despite not yet being available to the public, the food’s addition to the Sixers’ concessions is already causing a stir. Much of it started when ESPN Sports Business reporter Darren Rovell took to Twitter to share his sampling of the pie and was seen eating it with a fork and knife.

Some Australian natives were confused as to why Rovell was eating the meat pie with a fork, as it’s traditionally eaten using one’s hands. The short video and various Twitter responses turned Rovell’s taste test and complimentary review into a version of America’s battle over whether you can eat pizza with a knife and fork (you can, by the way, if you so desire). At one point an Australian police Twitter account from Queensland got involved, as did Fox’s Australian site, which published an op-ed that begins by telling Americans to “stick to hot dogs and burgers, America, and leave the meat pie eating to us.”

Surprisingly, the slightly negative review of the pie’s crust offered by Christina Betz, a Multimedia Producer and Editor for NBC Sports Philadelphia, didn’t garner much of any playful backlash, despite Betz sticking what is typically oven cooked into a microwave. (You can, by the way, also do that without shame if you so desire). While Aussies may not have come for Betz, Four’N Twenty very politely suggested she try it next time minus the fork.