What is the most popular meat for Christmas Day lunch?

a Christmas dinner spread with roast turkey, potatoes, veg and wine

With Christmas fast approaching and supermarket shelves stocked high with turkeys, the delicious festive spread we all look forward to most is on everyone’s mind. And whilst crispy roasties and steaming Yorkshire puds are delicious, the meat is undeniably the star of the show.

Whilst turkey is often thought of as the most popular meat for Christmas Day lunch, there are plenty of other options. A well-marbled side of beef is the height of luxury whilst ham and gammon are delicious both hot and cold, making them a versatile option for those hosting more than one festive feast.

But how do you choose? If you’re thinking of having something different to the traditional favourite or want to include more than one type of meat, we’ve narrowed down the most popular with some handy cooking instructions and serving recommendations too!

 

Beef

Christmas beef is an excellent choice for Christmas Day lunch. The tender juiciness and luscious taste of a flavourful fillet or wonderful wellington provides everything you could want for a festive feast. Whilst a wing-rib of beef is the go-to joint for a delicious Christmas dinner, sirloin boasts succulence and exceptional flavour along with the popular topside of beef.

 

Christmas beef cooking instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6
  2. Score the fat using a sharp knife in a criss-cross pattern
  3. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper
  4. Place the beef joint, fat side facing downwards, into a roasting tray and roast for 45-50 minutes (for medium-rare) turning the beef halfway through
  5. When the beef is cooked to your liking, take it out of the oven and cover with aluminium foil
  6. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes before serving

If you want to really impress your guests, serve your meat with a jus made from its natural juices and sprouts coated in butter, honey, and Dijon to really bring the beef to its full potential.

sliced roast beef

Ham

What’s Christmas Day lunch without a joint of ham or gammon? The decorative and delicious centrepiece is the gift that keeps on giving long after the big day is over. Whether you prefer smoked or unsmoked, glaze this Christmas meat in sticky ginger, maple and mustard or spiced pomegranate and orange to take this mouth-watering Christmas favourite to the next level.

 

Roasted marmalade Christmas ham cooking instructions:

  1. Place the gammon in a large pot and add in carrots, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, and bouquet garni
  2. Squeeze the zest from a lemon into the pot and cover with water
  3. On a high heat, bring the gammon to the boil
  4. Turn the heat down, place the lid on and simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes
  5. Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 3
  6. After simmering, put the pot aside to cool for half an hour leaving the meat in the broth to soak up the flavours
  7. Remove the vegetable and set aside
  8. Place the meat onto a chopping board, taking off the skin with a sharp knife
  9. Score the fat in a criss-cross fashion and season generously with black pepper
  10. Roast the gammon for 20 minutes
  11. Remove the meat from the oven and coat it with marmalade using a brush
  12. Strip over with rosemary before returning it to the oven for 1 hour
  13. Baste frequently until beautifully golden and crisp

To keep your Christmas ham fresh for your cold meat spread on boxing day, loosely cover with tinfoil and store in the fridge. Avoid putting it in the coldest part of the fridge such as the back or at the bottom as ham is recommended to be stored between 6-10 degrees.

joint of cooked ham resting on chopping board with leeks and tomatoes

Duck

A whole duck makes a delicious change to Christmas turkey and roasting it couldn’t be easier, plus the fat makes for delicious and crispy roast potatoes too. A typical whole duck at approximately 1.6kg will serve up to 6 people and is accompanied beautifully with glazed carrots, pigs in blankets and chestnut sprouts.

 

Christmas duck cooking instructions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6
  2. Remove all packaging and take the giblets out of the body cavity
  3. Weigh the duck without the giblets as cooking times may vary
  4. Prick all over and rub a teaspoon of salt into the skin
  5. Place your whole duck onto a rack in a roasting tray and place in the middle of the oven
  6. Roast for 40 minutes per 1kg plus 10 minutes extra
  7. Let the duck rest for 10-20 minutes before serving

roast duck with roast potatoes, roasted carrots and green veg

Turkey

Whether you prefer the whole bird or just the crown, Christmas turkey has got Brits seal of approval up and down the country and is a traditional seasonal favourite. When cooked properly, turkey can be tremendously juicy and full of flavour – a far world away from tasteless and dry. Serve with pork and spiced apple stuffing, homemade turkey gravy and honey-mustard roasted veg for the ultimate wow factor.

 

Christmas turkey cooking instructions:

  1. Take your turkey out of the fridge and unwrap at least an hour before cooking
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7
  3. Cut an onion into large pieces, quarter an orange and gather a few sprigs of rosemary and stuff into the cavity of the bird
  4. Generously rub the skin with salt and pepper
  5. Put the rest of your onion and rosemary around the Turkey and flip it over so it’s breast-side down
  6. Rub again with salt and pepper before roasting for 20 minutes until bronzed
  7. Turn the oven down to 170°C/Gas 3 and cook for 2 – 2 ½ hours. (Based on a medium turkey weighing 4-5kg)
  8. If you feel the turkey needs less time in the oven, regularly check the meat by piercing the fattest part of the leg with the tip of a knife – a clear juice indicates the turkey is done
  9. Flip the bird over to brown the breast and roast for 20 minutes on 220°C/Gas 7.
  10. Rest the turkey for an hour before carving

Christmas meal with roast turkey, pigs in blankets, crispy potatoes and gravy

Christmas Day lunch at Salomons Estate

With the preparations for Christmas well underway, it’s time to start thinking about the fabulous festive feast we love so much. But with so much to prepare, including cooking the mouth-watering Christmas meats we’ve mentioned above, dining out for Christmas Day lunch is becoming increasingly popular!

If you’re after a relaxed Christmas Day this year, why not join us at Salomons Estate? Sit back, enjoy a glass of fizz, and forget about the washing up as we take care of everything for you. Get stuffing with roast turkey breast, sirloin of beef and honey roast gammon in our four-course festive feast complete with sweet desserts including clementine, cranberry and pistachio meringue! Finish up by enjoying mini mince pies and a sweet chocolate gift from us to you and enjoy the festivities in 36 acres of picturesque gardens.

Tables are available from mid-day until 4.00pm and bookings cost £90 per adult. More information and the menu can be found here, and bookings can be made on OpenTable.