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Image of Christmas header

Seasonal meats guide

Christmas isn’t just the one day, so for special meals throughout the holidays, why not order a spectacular joint of meat? Follow our guide to choosing and preparing seasonal meats

Image of douglas fir smoked rack of venison
Image of douglas fir smoked rack of venison

Bring out the roast

All our meats are sourced from a small group of farmers who share our commitment to high standards of animal welfare. It shines through in the quality of the meat they produce.

Treat your table to a stunning centrepiece...


A well-marbled side of beef for Christmas is the height of luxury. The tender, juiciness of a sirloin or slow cooked beef shin roasted on the bone, served with a jus made from the meat's natural juices, is something special.

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Image of beef wing rib
Image of beef wing rib

Don't miss our Highland beef, produced exclusively at Christmas time. Find out more from farmer Robert Phillip, one of the main suppliers to Waitrose...

Meet the producer

Image of farmer Robert Phillip

Fourth-generation farmer Robert Phillip used to run a dairy farm in the Yorkshire Dales, until he decided to swap milking cows for rearing beef in the early 2000s.

“It all came about when I surprised my wife by giving her two Highlands for her birthday, to stop her buying any more ponies,” he says.

“We kept them in a field next to the house and it worked brilliantly well. That was a whole fresh start for us and we now have a herd of around 400 Highland cattle – and no new ponies!”

Highlands are one of the oldest breeds of cattle and are particularly hardy, independent creatures. Robert’s herd spends the winters on the uplands at 1,200 feet, feeding on grass, barley and beef nuts.

“Rough, tough grazing is what they love and it results in delicious meat rich in omega-3 and iron,” says Robert. “The animals are naturally marbled with fat, too, which gives you that wonderful flavour and tempting aroma as it cooks.

“We only supply the meat at Christmas, usually around the last week of November,” he says. And it’s becoming an increasingly popular choice for the Christmas table.

“A rib roast makes a wonderful centrepiece and Highland beef, in particular, is not just any old joint. It’s perceived as something really special.”

Image of fir smoked rack of venison
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Venison is at its seasonal best at Christmas, making it a memorable meal for your guests.

A French-trimmed whole rack of venison makes an elegant centrepiece and, when roasted, has a gentle, gamey flavour. Naturally lean, yet tender, the succulent texture contains just enough fat to keep the meat moist and juicy as it cooks on the bone.

Or, you could try our No.1 British Venison Wellington – venison loin topped with a mushroom duxelle with juniper and blackberry to bring out the venison’s unique flavour.

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Explore our Christmas recipes for seasonal meats
Explore our Christmas recipes for seasonal meats


A whole duck is a thing of beauty and roasting it couldn’t be easier. Basting the bird in its buttery pan juices during cooking will add flavour, moisture and crisp the browning skin. Reserve the cooking liquids to either toss with roasties or pour over thick slices of potato.

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Image of lamb with spiced berry glaze
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Our English and Welsh in-season lamb makes a reliably delicious main at any occasion. A leg or shoulder joint cooked low and slow, or roasted on the bone, will be juicy and sweet and goes perfectly with all the usual Christmas trimmings. A rack is best served medium rare, slightly crisp on the outside, and rosy pink inside. 

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At the first sight of crispy crackling, guests will hold out their plates for sweet, juicy pork. 

Whether you serve a hand-prepared French trimmed rack of pork produced from our organically reared pigs, or a British roasting joint that’s extra flavoursome and easy to carve, just don’t forget the apple sauce...

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Image of goose with quince
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In the 19th century, a goose was the favoured centrepiece of Christmas feasts. It fell out of fashion when other farmed birds became popular. Known for its rich taste, crispy skin and a more succulent texture than turkey, its fuller, gamey flavours will go down a treat. Don't forget to save some of the cooking fat to make the perfect roasties.

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Ham and gammon

Delicious hot, and just as delectable cold, British gammon is versatile, tender and welcome whatever the occasion. Choose smoked or unsmoked cuts, with a glaze, or make your own by drizzling with a mix of honey, cloves and mustard during cooking for an irresistibly sweet finish. Not sure what the difference is? Read our guide to ham and gammon

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Cook up a feast

Traditional, on-trend or with a twist, we have hundreds of festive dishes for all courses and menu ideas for all diets, plus recipes for those all-important cocktails