The Wigan Kebab: Pie Barm With Stodge and Northerness

The Wigan kebab (also called the pie barm)
Indeed. Thanks to Greenhalgh’s for the image.

As with the pasty barm last time out in our British food history feature, this time out we’re looking at Wigan’s kebab (or pie barm).

Because, yes, Northerners love their stodge happy comfort food and working class poverty (seen Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier).

But it’s not all doom and gloom, as this dish is about as easy as it gets (in terms of fixing a tasty meal that makes you gain loads of weight!).

What’s a Wigan Kebab?

The Wigan Kebab is a pie that’s placed with a barm bap, thusly creating what’s essentially a pie sandwich.

The barm should be buttered up nicely and also include a sauce of choice.

The dish also goes by the name of the pie barm and the Wigan slappy. But, heck, this isn’t complex stuff, right? It’s just a pie with bread around it. To which you can add HP sauce, butter, mushy peas, and whatever else.

You can buy these things from various places in Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

But your best bet is to head to one of England’s fabled chippies, especially in Wigan. Here’s an explanatory video into chippy life for you all.

Right, if you haven’t got a clue what those two are on about, then here’s a subtitled version of the video dissecting those Lancashire accents.

Just in case you struggled. This one wasn’t too difficult! But we do have a guide to talking in northern English.

The chippy is often a local focal point where people will go for a late night snack after a night getting wasted on beer in a pub.

So, yes, that’s all fairly standard stuff here. Very normal for British life.

And whilst the Wigan kebab isn’t as iconic as fish & chips, it’s certainly generating more and more interest about its foodstuff being.

What’s the History of the Wigan Kebab?

Where the pie barm comes from is a bit unclear. But Wigan is legendary in Lancashire for being the go-to place for pies. They’re actually called “pie eaters” as a result.

So, yes, the town is ubiquitous with pies. And has been for around the last century or so.

But we could find no real details of when the pie barm came about. It’s not the most difficult recipe to envisage though, is it?

We expect some hungry Wiganer decided to have a pie on the go one day, so wrapped the pie up in tasty white bread. Reet proper!

That’s the theory, anyway, but this is one bit of English food history missing an origins story.

How Do You Make a Wigan Kebab?

Again, this really isn’t very difficult to try and work out. But there’s a helpful young lady above with the right instructions.

Basically, you need a pie. And you need a barm. Some butter and some sauce are also handy.

Then you, sort of, cobble it all together and consume the thing. It’s that simple. Pukka!

Has a Pie Ever Been Into Space?

On a final note, in December 2016 a pie was tethered to a high-altitude weather balloon and sent into orbit.

It even had a dinky little tin foil tray to go with it and rose to 38 miles above the Earth, staying up there for some two hours.

This stunt was to promote the annual World Pie Eating Championships in Wigan. It’s run since 1992.

Locals take this event very seriously (enough so to send the first pie into space), with Lancashire born weight trainer Anthony Danson holding an impressive record.

In 2005, he ate some seven pies in just three minutes. Belting!

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