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the ultimate Christmas dinner meat alternative to turkey

Beyond the Turkey: Exquisite Christmas Meat Alternatives from The Dorset Meat Company

The Dorset Meat Company

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    • The Gastronomic Adventure
  2. The Tradition of Christmas Meats
    • Turkey’s Historical Reign
    • Global Festive Delicacies
    • The Quest for Alternatives
  3. Dorset’s Finest: A Showcase
    • Grass-fed Beef Roast
    • Lamb Rack
    • Venison
    • Duck or Goose
    • Wild Boar
  4. Sustainability & Ethics
    • Ethical Farming
    • Environmentally-conscious Choices
    • Championing Local Produce
  5. Cooking Tips and Pairing Suggestions
    • Expert Roasting Techniques
    • Beverage Harmonisation
    • Enhancing with Condiments
  6. Making Your Christmas Meat Order
    • Festive Offers and Bundles
    • Voices of Our Patrons
  7. Conclusion
    • A Festive Culinary Renaissance

Options for a turkey free Christmas, and exploring other meats that will excite everyone.

Every year, as the winter chill embraces our homes, and the scent of mulled wine wafts through the air, the grand debate of the festive feast arises: to turkey or not to turkey? While the plump, golden bird has graced our Christmas tables for centuries, The Dorset Meat Company invites you on a gastronomic adventure, exploring meats beyond the traditional turkey.

christmas turkey

The Tradition of Christmas Meats

The turkey, believed to have been popularised in Britain during the 16th century, has become synonymous with Christmas dinner. But delve deeper into the annals of history, and you’ll discover a myriad of cultures and their distinct festive meats. From the roasted goose of Dickensian fame to the boar’s head of medieval banquets, meat has always played a pivotal role in our yuletide celebrations. Venturing beyond turkey not only offers an exciting palette of flavours but also introduces sustainable and ethical choices to our holiday menus.

Dorset’s Finest: A Showcase

rib of beef

1. Grass-fed Beef Roast: The robust, earthy flavour of a grass-fed beef roast is unparalleled. Sourced from the lush pastures of Dorset, this cut promises a mouthwatering centrepiece. Tender, juicy, and rich, it’s a dish that’s sure to impress. For an added touch, consider a red wine reduction or a sprinkle of fresh Dorset herbs.

Grass-fed Beef Roast with Red Wine Reduction Recipe


    • 1.5 kg grass-fed beef roast
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • Salt and pepper
    • 500 ml red wine
    • 2 cups beef stock


    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
    2. Rub the beef with garlic, rosemary, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
    3. Brown the roast on all sides in a hot skillet.
    4. Place the roast in a baking dish and pour in half of the red wine.
    5. Roast for about 1 hour, or until desired doneness.
    6. Remove the beef and let it rest.
    7. Deglaze the skillet with the remaining wine and beef stock. Simmer until reduced by half.
    8. Slice the beef and serve with the red wine reduction.

Christmas rack of lamb

2. Lamb Rack: Nothing says luxury like a beautifully cooked rack of lamb. When adorned with a crust of rosemary and mint, the lamb’s innate flavours are elevated, making it a contender for the star of your Christmas feast.

Herb-crusted Lamb Rack Recipe


    • 1 rack of lamb (8 ribs)
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 tbsp rosemary, chopped
    • 2 tbsp mint, chopped
    • Bread crumbs
    • Salt and pepper


    1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
    2. In a bowl, mix garlic, rosemary, mint, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and olive oil to form a paste.
    3. Rub the lamb rack with the herb mixture.
    4. Sear the rack in a hot skillet until browned.
    5. Transfer to the oven and roast for 25 minutes.
    6. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before carving between the bones.


3. Venison: This game meat, with its lean texture and profound depth of flavour, is the epitome of festive luxury. It’s not just about taste; opting for venison is a nod to sustainable choices, as deer farming has a smaller carbon footprint compared to other meats.

Venison Steaks with Berry Sauce Recipe


    • 4 venison steaks
    • Salt and pepper
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 200g mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries)
    • 100 ml red wine
    • 2 tbsp honey


    1. Season the venison steaks with salt and pepper.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sear the steaks for 3-4 minutes on each side.
    3. Remove the steaks and set aside.
    4. In the same skillet, add berries, wine, and honey. Simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency.
    5. Serve the steaks drizzled with berry sauce.


4. Duck or Goose: Echoing traditions from yesteryears, a duck or goose can be a delectable alternative to turkey. Its succulent meat and crispy skin, when paired with a tangy orange or berry sauce, encapsulate the essence of Christmas.

Orange-glazed Duck Recipe


    • 1 whole duck
    • Salt and pepper
    • 2 oranges, zest and juice
    • 3 tbsp honey
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce


    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
    2. Prick the duck’s skin all over and season with salt and pepper.
    3. Place on a rack in a roasting tin and roast for 1 hour.
    4. Mix orange zest, juice, honey, and soy sauce in a bowl.
    5. Glaze the duck with the orange mixture and roast for an additional 30 minutes, basting frequently.
    6. Carve and serve.

5. Wild Boar: For those willing to step off the beaten culinary path, wild boar offers a tantalising taste, rich and nutty, ensuring your Christmas dinner is anything but ordinary.

Wild Boar Sausages with Apple Compote


    • 8 wild boar sausages
    • 2 apples, peeled and chopped
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 2 tbsp brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp butter


    1. Cook the sausages in a skillet until browned and cooked through.
    2. In a separate pan, melt butter and add apples, cinnamon, and sugar.
    3. Cook until the apples are softened and caramelised.
    4. Serve the sausages with a dollop of apple compote.

These recipes highlight the natural flavours of each meat, offering a delightful festive feast suitable for any Christmas table.

Sustainability & Ethics

At The Dorset Meat Company, our commitment transcends delivering quality cuts. We are staunch advocates for ethical farming. By opting for meats like venison or grass-fed beef, you’re not just treating your tastebuds but also championing a reduced environmental impact. As the festive season reminds us of goodwill, what better way than to support our local farmers and be confident of your food’s origins?

Cooking Tips and Pairing Suggestions

  • Roasting: Ensure your meat is at room temperature. Season generously, and for a moist cut, consider slow roasting at a lower temperature.
  • Beverage Pairings: For beef, a full-bodied red wine like a Merlot complements perfectly. Lamb pairs well with a zesty Sauvignon Blanc, while game meats like venison and boar are enhanced by an aged Bordeaux.
  • Condiments: Think cranberry sauce with a twist, like adding a hint of orange zest or infusing it with rosemary. Apple sauces with a pinch of cinnamon can bring out the flavours in duck and goose.

Choosing the perfect wine paring for your alternative Christmas dinner

1. Grass-fed Beef Roast with Red Wine Reduction

Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Why: A classic pairing, Cabernet Sauvignon has strong tannins that cut through the richness of the beef. The dark fruit notes in the wine will also enhance the flavours from the red wine reduction, creating a harmonious balance between food and drink.

2. Herb-crusted Lamb Rack

Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir

  • Why: Lamb has a delicate, yet distinct flavour. A Pinot Noir, with its medium body and cherry undertones, complements this without overpowering. The subtle earthiness of the wine echoes the herb crust on the lamb, making the pairing seamless.

3. Venison Steaks with Berry Sauce

Wine Pairing: Shiraz/Syrah

  • Why: Venison, being game meat, has a strong, rich flavour. The spicy and bold characteristics of a Shiraz or Syrah can stand up to this robustness. The wine’s berry notes will also intertwine delightfully with the berry sauce, creating a symphony of tastes.

4. Orange-glazed Duck

Wine Pairing: Merlot

  • Why: Duck meat, rich and fatty, finds its match in a Merlot with its velvety texture and ripe fruit flavours. The plum and black cherry notes in Merlot will highlight the orange glaze, while the wine’s acidity helps cut through the duck’s richness.

5. Wild Boar Sausages with Apple Compote

Wine Pairing: Zinfandel

  • Why: Wild boar offers a unique, robust taste, needing a wine with enough character to accompany it. Zinfandel, with its peppery undertones and bold fruitiness, pairs wonderfully. Its slightly sweet nature will also draw out the flavours of the apple compote, ensuring every bite is a balance between the meaty sausages and sweet apples.

Wine pairing is an art, taking into consideration the flavour profiles of both the dish and the wine. The right wine can enhance the dining experience, turning a meal into a memorable occasion. By understanding the nuances of each meat and the characteristics of wines, one can craft pairings that resonate with harmony on the palate.

christmas meat

Making Your Christmas Meat Order

With the festive season upon us, ensure your dinner is both unique and ethereal. Dive into our special holiday offers and bundles at The Dorset Meat Company. Don’t just take our word for it; our satisfied clientele often regale tales of their sumptuous feasts, echoing our commitment to quality and flavour.


This Christmas, we invite you to step beyond the conventional. Embrace the rich tapestry of flavours that Dorset’s landscape offers. In every bite, taste the legacy of the land, the commitment to sustainability, and a tradition of culinary excellence. Let your festive table be a testament to taste adventures, ethical choices, and a celebration of British produce.

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