Choosing the Right Meat for Your Holiday Dinner

Choosing the Right Meat for Your Holiday Dinner

Now that we are in the middle of the holiday season, you have probably been busy planning meals, get-togethers with loved ones, and cooking up a storm. While turkey is the centerpiece of many holiday meals, it’s not the only option as a main dish.

Of course, everyone loves the traditional bird, but you can also please the palette with a roast, pork tenderloin, or some other type of meat. As you plan your holiday dinner, here are some tips for choosing and preparing the right meat to get the best results.

Choosing the Right Meat for Your Holiday Dinner

Beef Tenderloin

Choosing the Right Meat

Beef tenderloin is one of the easiest holiday meats because it doesn’t require a lot of prep time. As a general rule, you should estimate about ½ pound (or 8 ounces) of meat per person. This accounts for any shrinking during cooking.

Preparing Your Meal

Season your roast to your liking, which might include salt, pepper, thyme, olive oil, and garlic. Place it in the oven at 350-450 degrees F for about 45 minutes (or 130 degrees internal temperature).

Prime Rib

Choosing the Right Meat

Prime rib is sold in boneless or bone-in, and it’s delicious with a homemade au jus. When purchasing prime rib, plan on roughly ¾ to 1 pound per person. If you choose bone-in, about one rib for every two people is a good option.

Preparing Your Meal

To prepare your prime rib, rub it with olive oil, salt and pepper, the cut several slits in the meat to insert garlic. Roast the meat over indirect heat at 350 to 450 degrees F for about 12-14 minutes per pound.

Pork Roast

Choosing the Right Meat

For every guest you plan to serve, plan on purchasing about ½ pound of raw pork tenderloin. For a large holiday meal with a lot of side dishes, you may be able to get by with slightly less. But don’t forget about those leftovers.

Preparing Your Meal

For the best flavor and tenderness as well as safety, cook pork to at least 145 degrees F for medium-rare. It will still be pink inside but delicious and safe to eat.

Rack of Lamb

Choosing the Right Meat

A luxurious and dramatic cut of meat for your holiday meal, rack of lamb will be sure to make an impression. When grocery shopping, count on about two ribs per person if using American lamb.

Preparing Your Meal

When preparing rack of lamb, season with olive oil, garlic, salt/pepper, and oregano. Sear the meat on direct heat (350 to 450 degrees F) and then turn it once, continuing to cook on indirect heat for another 10-15 minutes.

Turkey

Choosing the Right Meat

The general rule of thumb with turkey is to aim for 1 to 1 ½ pounds per person at your table. This is because a lot of the bird turns out to be bones, especially with smaller turkeys.

Preparing Your Meal

There are many ways to prepare a turkey. If you plan to roast it the traditional way, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, wash it and remove the giblets, season and butter it to your liking, and then roast it for about 15 minutes per pound.

Duck and Goose

Choosing the Right Meat

Duck and goose are “gamey” but also traditional choices for holiday meals that are a welcome departure from options like turkey or ham. Similar to turkey, you’ll want to purchase about 1 to 1 ½ pounds of duck or goose per person.

Preparing Your Meal

Make sure your bird is completely thawed before cooking. Remove the neck and giblets if they are still present, as well as any excess fat. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Rub the bird thoroughly with cut sides of a lemon and coat with salt. Place a garlic clove in the cavity and roast the bird until the internal temperature is about 150 degrees.

Spiral Ham

Choosing the Right Meat

Ham is an excellent option to serve a big crowd. It can be even be served pre-sliced. When purchasing a spiral ham, consider going with about ¼ to ½ pound per person with a boneless hand and ½ to ¾ pound per person for a bone-in ham.

Preparing Your Meal

Spiral hams come fully cooked. So, all you need to do with one is heat it through without drying it out. Preheat your oven to about 250 degrees F and cook your ham for about 13-16 minutes per pound or until it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees.

Shop at Nick’s of Calvert for the Freshest Cuts of Meat

Whether you are trying something new for your holiday meal or sticking with a family tradition, starting with high-quality ingredients is a must. At Nick’s of Calvert, we work hard to bring you only the highest-quality food at the best prices.

Nick’s offers a full-service meat counter that serves as the centerpiece of our store. We promise complete customer satisfaction and would be happy to help you choose the perfect cut of meat for your holiday meal. Contact us today at (410) 414-7105 or visit our Prince Frederick location.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.