The Official Hierarchy of the Roast Dinner

The Sunday Dinner is a thing of beauty; roast dinners are a part of our shared heritage in the UK. You shouldn’t ought to mess with that. However, the same thing has been said about the fine English Breakfast, and I’ve already done a breakfast hierarchy. So, when Mash Gang tell you someone should do a hierarchy of the roast dinner whilst you are arguing over chocolate bars, you know it’s going to be a thing. Especially as I have a lot of work I should be doing right now, and I don’t really want to.

Christmas dinner

The Rules of the Roast Dinner Hierarchy

This is the official, and therefore definitive hierarchy, ranking the individual elements of the roast dinner. You may disagree with some, or even all of it, but I’m afraid that would mean you are wrong. Because this is official. Not only that, it is entirely my subjective opinion. And we all know that’s what really matters on The Internet.

I am choosing to focus on a meat-based roast, for I am an omnivore. Therefore items like nut roast do not appear. I’m ranking some key meats and that’s enough for my purposes here. If someone would like to go ahead and write the definitive guides to vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free dinners, be my guest. I’m just focusing on the yum yum that I nom nom.

Roast dinner

For the Love of the Roast

I properly love a roast, whatever day it comes along and whatever the time of year. Pictured at the top is the Christmas dinner I made for my family in 2022 – one of the finest roast dinners of the year always – and I was rather pleased with it. Of course, it was photographed before gravy and bread sauce were poured. I’m not an animal. I’m not adding all the Christmas trimmings to this list though, no cranberry or pigs in blankets here I’m afraid. Same for your sprouts.

I used to make a Christmas dinner for 10 to 20 people each year for our annual Christmas II celebration. It was in our pre-kids life. The week between Christmas and New Year, when you were done seeing family and had a chance to catch up with friends again. I have great memories of recreating Christmas in full, but I think cooking for all my mates was the best bit.

I also love dinners made by someone else. Fine dining Sunday dinner tends to be tasty, but fiddly and they never quite hit the spot in the hearty stakes. But you can’t beat a ‘down and dirty, pile ’em high and serve it cheap’ pub carvery. Even the cheapest pub carvery can be a real homecooked heart-winner – I think of the White Lion, Wellington meal we had a couple of months back for a princely £4.50. It absolutely hit the spot, and was served with a delightful pint of mild thank you very much.

The best roast dinner I’ve had most recently though, was the Pheasant at Admaston. It falls somewhere in the middle of the quality spectrum. Really great, locally sourced meat, but without the pretension. Pile it high, but keep the veggies in a separate bowl to keep it nice. Writing of it reminds me that I must go back.

Sunday lunch

The Hierarchy

Well, I’ve kept you waiting long enough. Here you go, you eager beavers. And a couple of points:

  • Peas are great, but they have no place on a roast dinner.
  • I don’t care what meat you are serving, Yorkshire puddings AND stuffing should always be served.
  • Everything should be cooked with fat where possible. That’s why the boiled stuff isn’t as good as the roasted stuff. Fact.
  • Within each hierarchy, there is no pecking order. All are equal at God Tier level, and so it must be at Shit Tier status.
  • Contrary to the picture behind this Hierarchy, microgreens also have no place on the roast dinner.
  • I already know the bit you hate the most. It’s the potatoes. But this order is correct, there is no error here.
Official hierarchy of the roast dinner
Official hierarchy of the roast dinner


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

3 thoughts on “The Official Hierarchy of the Roast Dinner

  • You are correct my child that boiled isn’t as good as roasted. Thus mashed potatoes can never be considered above roasted potatoes. Yorkshire pudding is a gift to mankind. It’s all in the Bible. Change your ways, repent and I shall forgive you.

  • Radical! Mash on a roast dinner??!!!! I’ve never had it like that – got to be roast surely???


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