The Poor Mans Christmas – Eating Cheaper Meat

Cooking Tips | Welcome to the poor mans Christmas and the art of the eating cheaper meat from

Welcome to the poor mans Christmas and the art of the eating cheaper meat.

I don’t know what memories you have from growing up at Christmas. I know for me I never had a bad one and everyone of them was special for some reason or another. The first Christmas that I remember was the year when we had the most family over for Christmas and we all had a great time enjoying each others company.

This was the case for the next decade, but after that as the elderly crowd had passed away there wasn’t the same focus on family and we went abroad for Christmas instead. We would go to Spain each Christmas and we would have Paella and Burgers instead of the traditional roast dinner and as a teen the cheap booze was what always got my vote.

Christmas after all, was all about family time and celebrating being together over the festive period and never became a thing about the turkey. Of course the turkey was nice, as was the sprouts but it wasn’t the main element.

I would have rather been in my grandparents company (who sadly are no longer with us) than I would have a roast turkey. Plus when you look at the cost of a roast turkey it is hardly cheap, especially if you were just to buy the crown.

Plus for many families they really feel the pinch at Christmas and with money being tight I wanted to share ways that you can reduce your costs for your Christmas dinner for that one day of the year when we often spend a lot of money on just one meal.

In today’s instalment I want to talk about how much money you can save just by changing the meat that you serve up on Christmas Day. This especially applies if you are a smaller family, because do you really need a huge turkey when there is no possible way that you could eat it all on the day.

For us in Portugal here are the cost comparisons of what we could save just by changing our meat choice:

  • Meatloaf = 2€
  • Whole Chicken = 2€
  • Chicken Leg = 3€
  • Turkey Leg = 4€
  • Pork Shoulder = 6€
  • Gammon = 7€
  • Beef Stew = 7,50€
  • Pork Tenderloin = 12€
  • Beef Brisket = 12€
  • Lamb Shoulder = 15€
  • Frozen Turkey = 18€
  • Leg Of Lamb = 23€
  • Turkey Crown = 36€
  • Beef Topside = 55€
  • Organic Whole Turkey = 85€

Slow Cooker Recipes | Here are the best cheap roast dinner options for saving money at Christmas from

Obviously these costs change from country to country and what is cheap here might not be in the UK & America but if you investigated the different prices I am sure you could find yourself a fantastic alternative to the Christmas Turkey.

But if I was to choose from the list above and go down the route of a cheaper option I would say go for a cheaper meat but choose the best option. You don’t want to spend Christmas Day eating pork chops (that is unless you have to) but to have the best cut of pork would make your Christmas Dinner plate amazing without you feeling like you have compromised on cost.

For us we find the best cheaper meat option (that we have a lot for Sunday dinner) is having pork tenderloin and then slow cooking it in the slow cooker. You can then work hard on a really good marinade so that it tastes amazing and shouts “I am not cheap I am special”.

It doesn’t cost a lot and is often on offer at the supermarket. Then if you have a good sized freezer you could buy it when it’s at a good price and then save it for Christmas. They are also of a decent size and with all the other sides we personally have at Christmas we could feed 8 people on it.

Depending on how much money you want to save you could choose any of the cheaper meats above and save a small fortune. But what we have done (because we love pork tenderloin so much) is put together our favourite slow cooked pork tenderloin recipe for you below so that you have a fantastic frugal choice this Christmas without thinking that you MUST have roast turkey because you don’t have to. If money is tight remember your kids will remember their Christmases more for having a fantastic family time rather than whether they had roast turkey or roast pork.

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Sweet & Sticky Slow Cooked Pork Tenderloin

Welcome to my sweet and sticky slow cooked pork tenderloin. Perfect for a cheap Christmas roast dinner.

The Poor Mans Christmas – Eating Cheaper Meat
Serves: 8
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • 2 Slices Bacon
  • 1 Bag Carrots
  • 3 Medium Pears (roughly sliced)
  • 3 Medium Apples (roughly sliced)
  • 2Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 3Tbsp Honey
  • 1Tbsp Garlic Puree
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Start by peeling and chopping up your carrots into thin carrot sticks and placing them in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add ½ the honey, all the garlic puree and a little and salt and pepper to the carrots and mix well in your hands.
  2. On a chopping board place the pork tenderloin and season all sides with salt and pepper and then rub in the coconut oil. Add the rest of the honey to the top of the pork and rub in well so that it creates a sticky layer. Cover the honey with your bacon and place it on top of the carrots in the slow cooker.
  3. Down the sides of the slow cooker place your sliced pear and apple.
  4. Cook for four hours on a low heat until thoroughly cooked.
  5. Serve.
If you can afford to get a decent cut of bacon as it will make all the difference with the end result.

Slow Cooker Recipes | Sweet & Sticky Slow Cooked Pork Tenderloin Recipe from

More Frugal Recipe Ideas

Here are some more examples of how you can enjoy your roast dinner at Christmas without breaking the bank:

Paleo Slow Cooked Chicken Legs & Vegetables

Slow Cooker Recipes | Welcome to my Paleo slow cooked chicken legs and vegetables recipe from

This is one of my favourites and very filling. You could change this to suit your family or your budget. For example I would recommend swapping it for turkey legs as they are huge and can feed a big crowd, or by changing the vegetables to suit your favourite winter vegetables.

Slow Cooked Pulled Brisket With Red Wine

Slow Cooker Recipes | date night slow cooked pulled brisket with red wine recipe from

This is my favourite for Christmas if there is just the two of you. There is plenty to fill you both up and brisket is a delicious cut of meat if you want to save money and by adding red wine it comes with a much more adult theme.

Mediterranean Meatloaf In The Slow Cooker

Mediterranean Meatloaf In The Slow Cooker Recipe from

If you are on the tightest of budgets this Christmas then this meal can still feel like a luxury and is one of my favourite Sunday meals. Using some cheap mince, add cheese, tomato sauce and bacon and you have the most delicious meatloaf that you have ever tried!

Crockpot Beef Bourguignon Recipe

"Here is our beef bourguignon slow cooker recipe"

If you want something different why not warm yourself up with some beef stew. Add some dumplings and some homemade bread and you have a delicious family meal. You can also add whatever seasonal vegetables you have available. Or bump it up with some extra white potatoes with how cheap they are.

Slow Cooked Ham

"Here is our cooked ham slow cooker recipe"

It is not that frugal here in Portugal compared to in other countries but ham is a delicious cut of meat and after being slow cooked you can have a delicious family roast dinner. We also love to serve ours with loads of roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

Meet The Milners

Samantha and Dominic

Dominic & Samantha Milner are the founders of They love cooking, blogging and being full time parents to their three food obsessed kids. They cook with their kitchen gadgets everyday and love sharing their homemade recipes. Their favourite foods include chocolate, air fryer burgers and macaroni cheese. You can learn more about them here or you can sign up for their free newsletter here.

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