"Like a greasy chip butty, oh Sheffield United, come thrill me again"
August 7, 2020 7:29 AM   Subscribe

Hello. (Guardian) How to eat: chip butties. (your terminology may vary) An example of one in Scunthorpe. This chippy uses stotties. Add salad cream to taste, or tomato ketchup, or in Sheffield with Henderson's Relish (nearby posh), or in Barnsley with a side, or in Scotland replace with egg, or add baked beans, or in Gloucester ram it all in with your large battered sausage. A legitimate butty uses margarine (cheapest is bestest), and not butter. A close up. Chip shop chips are best. There are other edible and non-edible uses of chips, and scallops. WikiNot. For meat eaters, the British Sandwich Association has information on the bacon butty. (title and lyrics)
posted by Wordshore (60 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
For me the secret is to put plenty of salt and vinegar on the chips before assembling the butty. More partial to a fish finger sandwich though.
posted by pipeski at 7:51 AM on August 7, 2020 [4 favorites]


Trying to think of the best chip butty I've had, and am pretty sure it was a place in Bristol in 1998 (possibly Knowle or Totterdown), when I lived there and worked at the university. Not a clue what the name of the chippy was (it was definitely a chippy), but I will never forget the sensation of those golden, hot, spears of orgasm, combined with the fresh, soft, bap casing, and just how damned satisfied I felt afterwards.

(Very interested in anyone else's best chip butty experiences)
posted by Wordshore at 7:54 AM on August 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


So it seems like the proper chip butty has something in common with the proper lobster roll: the hard requirement for the whitest of white rolls.

That place in Scunthorpe has an impressive array of jacket potatoes as well.*

Even though I'm in Canada, I know what "jacket potatoes" actually are. But part of me wants to believe they're an heirloom variety with a sartorial purpose.

* Sorry for the non-butty derail. Carry on.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:01 AM on August 7, 2020 [4 favorites]


As a Hillsborough-area resident, I flagged this for mentioning United.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:14 AM on August 7, 2020 [3 favorites]


Henderson's Relish is a bizarrely local phenomenon: it's delicious, in literally every grocery store, chippy and cafe in Sheffield and, as far as I can tell, basically doesn't exist outside the city. My sister said she saw some in Leeds, but my friends in Manchester hadn't heard of it.

My local Sainsbury's in Edinburgh has recently started stocking it though, so maybe they've finally gone national?

For the uninitiated, it's basically Worcestershire Sauce but miles better. Great on a chip buttie (and mixed into the oil when making roast potatoes). Even my SO, who is French and has few positive things to say about British food, likes it.
posted by metaBugs at 8:24 AM on August 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


Have we ever had a post about the hyper-local names for bread rolls across the UK?


All through the lockdown I've been craving a proper* chip shop battered sausage with lots of salt and vinegar. This post isn't helping me keep my mind off it.

*By which I mean "Even C.M.O.T. Dibbler would hesitate to call this pork"
posted by metaBugs at 8:34 AM on August 7, 2020 [11 favorites]


BUt. [ swallows awkwardly ] [ blinks, rears back ] [ closes page ] Why???? When you could have poutine????
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:37 AM on August 7, 2020 [5 favorites]


I dunno, when I lived in England the three most shocking things I encountered were corn on pizza, the big 11:00 PM public vomit fest, and chip butties.
posted by Rumple at 8:38 AM on August 7, 2020 [11 favorites]


While both chip butties and bacon butties have their merits, bacon butties always seem like hangover food to me, whereas chip butties are anytime you need a pure carb fill. I have never bought a chip butty from a shop but have had them plenty of times assembled at home - as a child in Australia and now living in the UK. Can use either chip-shop/fish and chip shop chips or home oven baked chips, but the bread always has to be white.
posted by Megami at 8:48 AM on August 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


butter or marge on a chip roll? pure boak material.

Tear open a SW Scotland roll (exactly as not featured in “Nae Rolls”), fill with hot chips until the halves are at least 45° apart, douse with white vinegar until it starts to drip, then a big dash of salt.

Best eaten on Sauchiehall Street as an accompaniment to early evening drizzle.
posted by scruss at 8:49 AM on August 7, 2020 [4 favorites]


Forgive my obtuseness here, but this is a sandwich composed only of French fries and white bread, yes?
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 8:51 AM on August 7, 2020 [5 favorites]




Worcestershire Sauce but miles better

I never heard of it but the fact that it is vegan (no fish) definitely piques my interest.

When you could have poutine?

Poutine isn't nearly as portable and way heavier... and this may be scandalous for Anglo Canadians... most poutine outside of a roadside casse-croûte in Quebec (like Le Connaisseur or Chez Cathy or maybe Chez Morasse) is frankly mediocre at best. Its gotten better in recent years its true but Anglos still haven't gotten there. Sorry rest of Canada. Hey maybe you can make a Canadian chip butty by rolling some poutine in a beaver tail? And surely the Canadian answer to the bacon butty is the peameal on a bun?

Now a better argument would be why eat a chip butty when you could eat vada pav?
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:52 AM on August 7, 2020 [4 favorites]


Most emphatically you can't make a chip butty with French fries.
Chips are at least a centimetre square in cross section, hand cut (or we pretend they are), and taste of realness, not of McDonalds. Properly they should be cooked in animal fat, although exceptions are made for non meat eaters. If you're lucky you can have some SCRAPS on there which are fried up tiny bits of batter, a byproduct of battered fish cookery.

Fancy places cook their chips twice. Having a chip butty from a fancy place is sacrilege though.

Incidentally, Henderson's Relish is vegetarian, unlike Worcestershire Sauce which contains anchovies.
posted by quacks like a duck at 9:01 AM on August 7, 2020 [4 favorites]


I feel like this is a “I learned it from watching you!” moment, where the kid is American and the dad is English.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 9:04 AM on August 7, 2020 [5 favorites]


Damn, I was just wondering what to eat this evening and now I really want a chip butty. I could have one easily, just by crossing the road to the corner shop and buying some frozen oven chips, but then I'd have to put the oven on to cook them, and since it is already 36 degrees here (96 in old money) the extra heat would probably kill me. Possibly it would be worth it...
posted by Fuchsoid at 9:09 AM on August 7, 2020 [2 favorites]


i have a soft spot for these foods

it's right below the stent
posted by lalochezia at 9:17 AM on August 7, 2020 [21 favorites]


 If you're lucky you can have some SCRAPS on there which are fried up tiny bits of batter

Likely to get "Change yer ile, ya manky basterts!" in Glasgow. But I've seen Yorkshire folks descend on scraps like there was no tomorrow, so go figure.

No outer bread involved, but Newfoundland chips, gravy, and dressing is memorable. The bread is all mashed up with it.
posted by scruss at 9:17 AM on August 7, 2020 [3 favorites]


Ah yes. I had one for lunch in the Winter of 1985 in Bradford that was just right. Floppy white bread, basic margarine and hot, hot bacon. Funny how favourite food memories remain so vivid.
posted by mdoar at 9:19 AM on August 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


PLEEEEASE. It's lunchtime, what am I supposed to do?
posted by Lawn Beaver at 9:42 AM on August 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


A starch sandwich? Maybe instead of a paper wrapper you could put it all in a flour tortilla. I'm reminded of this scene in Big Night.
posted by St. Oops at 10:01 AM on August 7, 2020


I used to get lunch at a pub where, if you bought a sandwich, it came with a generous side of little fried potatoes chunks, like deep fried home fries. One sandwich option was a proper chip butty: big white roll, margarine, filled with proper chip shop style chips. And it still came with a generous side of little fried potatoes.
posted by dowcrag at 11:11 AM on August 7, 2020 [5 favorites]


My Scottish partner does wax nostalgic about chip butties, but nothing holds a candle to a good slice roll with brown sauce.

The first time she brought be back to meet the family they were appalled when I said I couldn't wait to try fried pizza. No one really eats that they said but it wasn't exactly hard to find!
posted by Evstar at 11:17 AM on August 7, 2020 [3 favorites]


As an American (and believe me, I realize that there are issues to be taken with American cuisine), the British phenomenon of "one filling + two pieces of bread + maybe a basic condiment = sandwich" has always kind of mystified me. Chip butties, bacon butties...

I mean, I'm sure that people in the States sometimes eat bacon between two slices of bread – and if asked to name it, we'd probably call it a "bacon sandwich" – but I don't get how it's a thing in the UK. Like, a recognized thing that has a name, which you can order at restaurants, and which is part of the national culinary identity. It's just some bacon and some bread! That's like putting tomato sauce on a tortilla, and calling it a pizza! Or putting a carrot on a lettuce leaf, and calling it a salad! Getting a single sandwich ingredient out of the fridge, and arranging bread on either side of it, does not comprise a sandwich.

This is a sandwich. This is a sandwich. This is a sandwich. A variety of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and condiments. Preferably on something more interesting than sliced white bread.

I suppose that we Yanks have the cheese sandwich and the bologna sandwich – humble, inexpensive snacks that can be made quickly and easily at home. But I can't remember the last time I saw either one of them – and they're mainly food for children, at any rate. (And you certainly can't order them at restaurants – grilled cheese notwithstanding.)

Just a cultural difference, of course. I've never had a chip butty – but if offered one, I'd say "hell yeah". I still think it's a monstrosity, but I bet it's a delicious monstrosity.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 11:22 AM on August 7, 2020 [5 favorites]


I was fascinated to learn about salad cream and am sad that the British imports store near me doesn't carry it.
posted by JanetLand at 11:24 AM on August 7, 2020 [2 favorites]


Regarding Salad Cream - Japanese Mayo (Kewpie brand is one) - the taste is very close.

... and to stay on the theme - I present to you the greatest Chip-related quiz ever.
posted by azlondon at 11:44 AM on August 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


Getting a single sandwich ingredient out of the fridge, and arranging bread on either side of it, does not comprise a sandwich.

I think the Norwegians would like to have a word with you about Matpakke
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 12:19 PM on August 7, 2020 [4 favorites]


If you head into Devon the scraps from the bottom of the fryer are called gribbles and are apparently asked for as a free treat by local schoolchildren on their way past the chippy.
posted by RandomInconsistencies at 12:20 PM on August 7, 2020 [2 favorites]


(And you certainly can't order them at restaurants – grilled cheese notwithstanding.)

You sure as heck can! When's the last time you were in a really old, really authentic diner? Not one of those pretentious ones that serves cupcakes on milkshakes or whatever, I'm talking a real greasy spoon diner. Because my favorite ones almost always have baloney (none of yer fancy "bologna" thank you very much) sandwiches on white bread on the menu. And the better places make it fried baloney.
posted by cooker girl at 1:02 PM on August 7, 2020 [6 favorites]


Huh. I go to old-school diners a few times a year, and I've never noticed bologna/baloney on the menu. (Heck, I don't even remember the last time I've seen American-style bologna.) Possibly a regional thing?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:08 PM on August 7, 2020


It's just some bacon and some bread! That's like putting tomato sauce on a tortilla, and calling it a pizza!

Sometimes, simplicity is perfect. Chopin is just one guy and a piano; not everything needs to be cacophanous.

(And now I'm a little sad that I don't have any bacon in to have a bacon sandwich for breakfast tomorrow. I need to stay out of this thread...)
posted by metaBugs at 1:08 PM on August 7, 2020 [6 favorites]




I don't imagine one can find decent tortillas in Britain, but maybe if one substituted a sturdy crepe, there might be success in importing
- the San Diego style burrito: take the buns off a burger and chop up the insides. Dump that meat mash onto a pile of chips, splortch with sauce, then roll the whole thing up in a tortilla/crepe like swaddling a baby.
- or Mediterranean Style, which is the same as above, except kebab for the meat and chip-sized chunks of fried eggplant / aubergine for the chips.
Think a Spice Bag, but rolled up in a pancake, which is then wrapped in foil, to be peeled and eaten like a banana. Sold from a converted ice cream van parked at the end of the high street waiting for closing time.
posted by bartleby at 1:12 PM on August 7, 2020


Now I want a battered deep fried chip butty with a Mars bar in the middle. And pineapple.
posted by flabdablet at 1:12 PM on August 7, 2020 [2 favorites]


Barbecued bologna is A Thing in Oklahoma
posted by brujita at 1:28 PM on August 7, 2020 [2 favorites]


I'm not British, though I did grow up in England till I was 8, but I love simple sandwiches, and while I enjoy Danish open sandwiches that are eaten with a knife and fork, I do not enjoy US-type sandwiches with all the stuff in them that you can't bite over. They look gorgeous, but you can't get all of the tastes in one bite because they are so extreme unless you have a very big mouth, so I feel cheated when I end up with a lot of sandwich-filling all over the place.
And a plain two or three ingredient sandwich lets you savor the taste of the ingredients. Why drown them in condiments and useless wet vegetables? I prefer cold boiled potatoes to chips in my sandwich (which I know makes me sound like a health-freak), but I have in my fridge some lovely slices of bacon which will be fried and put between slices of white bread tomorrow, just because of this great post.
posted by mumimor at 2:46 PM on August 7, 2020 [4 favorites]


I'm craving the strong Yorkshire tea as well, but if I drink a cup now, I'll never sleep. I'd better go to sleep soon so tomorrow arrives sooner.
posted by mumimor at 2:52 PM on August 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


And you certainly can't order them at restaurants – grilled cheese notwithstanding.

Let me introduce you to Wilensky’s Light Lunch. The special is just a slice of salami and a slice of bologna in between a meager bun. Extra for cheese. It always comes with mustard. Nothing else.
posted by Ashwagandha at 3:02 PM on August 7, 2020 [3 favorites]


I swear David Jason, depending on the mood, said "Bacon body"

this is what subtitles are for.
posted by clavdivs at 3:07 PM on August 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


I learned about these in the 70's from the Bay City Rollers. God bless Dinah Shore.
posted by doctor_negative at 3:45 PM on August 7, 2020 [2 favorites]


The bacon butty in this picture reminds me of the ones my British boyfriend sometimes makes. He often asks if I want a bacon butty for breakfast. I do not. He fries the bacon (until it is done but not at all crisp) and then fries the bread in bacon fat, adds salad cream or HP sauce. Voila!

He is confused by the lettuce, tomato and mayo on my BLT.
posted by shoesietart at 3:48 PM on August 7, 2020 [4 favorites]


> I still think it's a monstrosity, but I bet it's a delicious monstrosity.
  posted by escape from the potato planet at 14:22 on August 7

Some lingering issues from the old home planet, eh?

I'd forgotten about the Glasgow east-end delicacy — and you won't see one of these this side of the Ballieston Lights — a deep-fried macaroni and cheese pie in a roll.

Now, that's going to take a little for you to unpack, so let me assist:
  • a pie (to me, Cambuslang-born) is a perfectly cylindrical cold-water pastry crust filled with spiced ground beef or lamb (a butcher's pie), a meat-like substance but usually a nicer pie shell (a baker's pie). The last two have a can-like lid of pastry, usually with a round hole in the middle. No-one knows why. So the macaroni and cheese pie is one of these cylindrical shells loaded with mac and cheese, but usually there's no pastry lid. You follow me so far?
  • This pie is then dunked in batter and dropped (carefully) in the deep fryer. The batter usually swells up and prevents too much fryer oil lurking in the mac-and-cheese interstices, but sometimes you'll get a void filled with hot fryer oil. So (pie incl. mac and cheese) → (fryer); got me?
  • So this pie, right, now sporting a greasy but intumescent layer of batter, is fished out of the fryer, drained cursorily, and slapped in a bread roll. Seasoning is added. So now the pie is glistening in an oily manner from inside the folds of a soft bread roll. I think most people can get behind this one.
  • This is the really hard concept, and you may need to take a little time on this one:
    people     pay     money     for     these,     and     appear     to     enjoy     them.
Look, mind blown, I know. You've forgotten what words mean and how objects work. Take some time and come back to it. Like magic eye pictures, some people never get the concept. That's okay.

At least it's not as doughy as a Jamaican coco bun patty, though.
posted by scruss at 5:13 PM on August 7, 2020 [10 favorites]


Kewpie mayo does indeed elevate a chip butty. However, these days my allegiance lies with the vada pav, an Indian creation consisting of a mildly spiced mashed potato ball, deep fried and served in a soft white bun with chutney (tamarind mint being my flavor of choice).
posted by ananci at 5:48 PM on August 7, 2020 [2 favorites]


Hot roast beef roll with hot English mustard and gravy. That's what I want. And during the pandemic I can't get one.
posted by awfurby at 11:15 PM on August 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


For the uninitiated, it's basically Worcestershire Sauce but miles better.

There's no disputing taste, but I find it pretty much indistinguishable from slightly more vinegary Worcestershire sauce, so i can see why it would make a good chip sauce, much like Scotland's chip sauce, which seems to be just vinegar-thinned HP. I'm sure there are nuances a proper sauce-sommelier would spot. Either way, I miss the british chip shop chip butty.

For me, an important part of the platonic ideal of a chip butty is a reasonably thick layer of marg, just enough to hold a crunchy layer of discarded batter bits.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:00 AM on August 8, 2020


okay but chips (or crisps in British English?) in a sandwich is the bomb. When I discovered it as a kid I couldn’t understand why anyone would have a sandwich without chips. A sandwich with only chips though? Yeah I’d be down actually if they were flavoured chips, would definitely need some kind of fat (mayo or better yet avocado)
posted by LeviQayin at 12:14 AM on August 8, 2020 [1 favorite]


How about a fritter roll? White roll, sliced and battered potatoes, and vinegar. You get bonus rest of slices in a wee cardboard tray. Available in Edinburgh but only brought to my east coast knowledge by West Coast friends.
posted by sedimentary_deer at 1:08 AM on August 8, 2020 [1 favorite]


I ate rather a lot of crisp butties when I was a student and the money ran out before the end of term; penny for penny they worked out cheaper than pot noodles, and had less of an effect on your system. The students in my digs who seemed to live off pot noodles never looked well.

My recipe ingredients were:

1. A loaf of cheap white bread, from the cheapest supermarket.
2. Margarine. Stork, or something cheaper. Often, places would sell just out of date margarine that smelt like the gasoline plant that kept having accidents, when you took the lid off for the first time.
3. Crisps of the moment. Go for the largest box or bag at the cheapest price. Cheese and onion flavour of some kind was a preference. Smoky bacon was a possibility, for breakfast crisp butties. But never anything pretentious; I was an undergrad at Hatfield Polytechnic, and that would have been social disaster.
4. Salt and vinegar, to taste.
5. For fancy occasions e.g. if having fellow students round, you could have some kind of garnish. HP sauce was good.

Arrangement and presentation was crucial. The crisps should not be over the sides of the bread, else it'll be messy. But the crisp layer should be very visible, when viewed from the side. The crisps should also be relatively unbroken; let them be embedded and held in place by the margarine; never press down on the sandwich before eating. You want the crunch when you bite into it.

6. Add a pork pie on the side to taste, for the complete meal.

Bon appetit!
posted by Wordshore at 4:28 AM on August 8, 2020 [5 favorites]


Christ this thread is making me sad I didn’t participate in “Beer and Pie July” this year. I want a proper steak and cheese pie so bad right now.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 5:46 AM on August 8, 2020 [1 favorite]


You want the crunch when you bite into it

May I recommend Hula Hoops for that?
posted by scruss at 7:20 AM on August 8, 2020 [1 favorite]


It's like the Brits are still riding high on that whole "Earl of Sandwich" thing, where the basic idea is you put bread around something sloppy so your hands don't get gross. I mean, yes, I get it, I have the whole OCD why is everything touching my hands why are my hands sticky/wet/smelly thing BUT from a culinary point of view there's such a thing as Taking It Too Far. Kind of like the whole British Empire thing? At least these absurd "sandwich" constructs are generally limited to the islands, which unfortunately the whole British Empire thing was definitely not.

Also, who says poutine isn't portable? It comes in a wax paper bucket with a plastic fork. (Forks! When you don't want your hands to get gross while eating sloppy food! It's a Tool! Might want to look up "tools," do a little research?)

Is this too much sass? I'm not sure. It feels like the right amount of sass.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:56 AM on August 8, 2020 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of Grandpa’s cold boiled potato and raw onion sandwiches. Grandma used to say, “If you could wrap it in bread and put Frank’s Red Hot on it, he’d eat it.”
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:12 AM on August 8, 2020 [1 favorite]


okay but chips (or crisps in British English?) in a sandwich is the bomb.

Yeah, we always put chips (crisps) in our baloney sandwiches. Texture, baby, texture.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:15 AM on August 8, 2020


To add to USian confusion, we also make sandwiches out of crisps.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 12:58 AM on August 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


Inside the bread, not a piece of cheese or ham with a crisp either side. Though I've done that too.
posted by Grangousier at 1:22 AM on August 9, 2020


At least these absurd "sandwich" constructs are generally limited to the islands...

An interesting assumption ... which is very incorrect. This Front Page Post from a few years back contains many sandwich examples outwith the British Isles.
posted by Wordshore at 8:55 AM on August 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


As an American (and believe me, I realize that there are issues to be taken with American cuisine), the British phenomenon of "one filling + two pieces of bread + maybe a basic condiment = sandwich" has always kind of mystified me.

It's almost as if different countries have different habits, traditions, and uses of language.

I mean, in the UK what you describe - "one filling + two pieces of bread + maybe a basic condiment" - is literally the definition of a sandwich.
posted by penguin pie at 1:36 PM on August 9, 2020 [4 favorites]


Come to think of it, the most wonderful sandwiches in the world are the Roman tramezzini. I don't know if they are a Roman invention, but Romans do them best. They look like classic English sandwiches, but they are a whole different thing. Still not a lot of ingredients, but very intelligent combinations.
That doesn't mean a bacon butty isn't genius, though.
posted by mumimor at 7:23 AM on August 10, 2020


*snort* Okay, I emailed the British Imports store near me to ask if they ever carried salad cream, and got this response: "We stopped carrying Heinz Salad Cream when they started sending the bottles with US best by dates, which led us to believe that the salad cream was Heinz US instead of Heinz UK." Well!!
posted by JanetLand at 8:03 AM on August 10, 2020


in the UK what you describe - "one filling + two pieces of bread + maybe a basic condiment" - is literally the definition of a sandwich

Well if that doesn't just take the biscuit.
posted by flabdablet at 12:00 PM on August 10, 2020 [1 favorite]


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