Seasonal meats guide | Alternative meats to turkey | Waitrose & Partners

Our guide to preparing and cooking all the
seasonal meat alternatives to Christmas turkey

Seasonal meats guide

Christmas is a time for cooking something special which makes our seasonal meats worth taking the time for. All our meats are sourced from a small group of dedicated farmers who rear their animals to the highest standards. Who said you have to stick with tradition?



Gammon, or ham, is a Christmas classic, served hot or cold, that will please all the family. 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. Ham cold cuts are also incredibly versatile in leftovers. Not sure what the difference is? 

Read our guide to ham and gammon here



In the 19th century, goose was the favoured centrepiece of Christmas feast 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, game flavours will go down a treat. Don't forget to save some of the cooking fat to make the perfect roasties.



A French-trimmed whole rack of venison makes an elegant dish, and when roasted has a gentle, game 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. Venison is at its seasonal best at Christmas, making it a jolly memorable meal for your guests.



Guinea fowl's complex flavour marries perfectly with sweet fruit-based accompaniments like our easy cranberry sauce. The average bird has enough meat to up to four. This works well for a small gathering, or roast 2-3 birds for a Christmas feast to remember. You'll then have enough bones to make a flavoursome broth. 


DUCK   >
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. Be sure to keep the cooking liquids on hand and either toss with roasties or pour over thick slices of potato for melting results.


Our British and Welsh in-season lamb is at its prime during Christmas and makes a reliably delicious main at any occasion. Whether cooked low and slow, stuffed with herbs or roasted on the bone, the meat is always juicy and sweet, falls off the bone and goes perfectly with all the usual Christmas trimmings. Juicy and tender, it's best served medium rare, slightly crisp on the outside, and rosy pink inside. 


BEEF   >
A well-marbled side of beef for Christmas is the height of luxury. The tender, juiciness of a sirloin or rib fillet roasted on the bone, and served with a jus made from the meat's natural juices is something special. Don't miss our Highland beef, produced exclusively at Christmas time, by a small group of dedicated Scottish farmers.

Meet the farmer supplying Waitrose & Partners organic and free range pork - Steve Hart

Steve Hart's pigs are bred from Hampshire boars crossed with Landrace Cross White Duroc sows.

He believes this is the perfect combination to produce tender, quality pork and won him Farmer’s Weekly Pig Farmer of the Year in 2016.

He says the environment on his farm in East Anglia is just as important as genetics. His animals live in open fields and can also shelter in cosy, straw-filled barns if they need to.  

Steve has supplied Waitrose & Partners with organic and free range pork for over a decade. And since 2016, he has also been producing woodland pork once a year, which is available in selected stores in late November.

Steve says these pigs go into the open woods from July onwards, grazing “to their hearts’ content” on seasonal acorns, hazelnuts and sweet chestnuts. The pigs roam naturally, rooting under trees for grubs, which produces sweet, tender meat with nutty flavour tones. 

“Raising pigs that are free of stress really does boost the quality of the pork,” he says. 

Read more about our pork >


Looking for more Christmas inspiration? 

Browse our recipe collection >