Sometimes, nothing hits the spot quite like a delectably juicy burger or a perfectly grilled steak. Doubly so when you've been stuck at home for nearly two months because of the coronavirus.
We get it — you're probably trying to limit your trips to the grocery store while you and your family self-isolate at home. Even when you do go out to shop for necessities like groceries, the pandemic has caused major disruption. There are new protocols, like having to wipe down your carts and wear a face mask. And after all that, places where prime cuts of juicy steak, organic chicken, heritage pork, dry aged beef, grass fed steak and quality ground beef (with actual flavor) were plentiful and readily available may now have empty shelves.
But with the help of online butchers, you can still have high-quality meat of all kinds — grass fed beef, dry-aged, humanely raised, organic meat and sustainable seafood — delivered right to your door contact-free.
Full disclosure, we've been big fans of these meat delivery services since their inception — way before COVID-19 — and their products are welcome in our kitchens regardless of what's going on in the outside world. Even better, meats keep, so if you're not ready to fully embrace the carnivore lifestyle, you can freeze these savory morsels until you're ready for a very hearty meal. We know plant-based eating is important, but at least some of the time we still occasionally crave a burger, whether it's seared over open flames on a grill or in your favorite cast-iron skillet — delicious meat products know no season, after all.
As with meal kit subscriptions and grocery delivery services, companies that deliver premium meat options and butcher subscriptions have proliferated in the past several years. This is a good thing, because since there are so many meat delivery services, many online butchers have sought to fill a specific niche meat subscription box subcategory of the market. Some specialize in grass-fed, pasture raised, organic or Wagyu beef while others focus on a wider range of cuts of meat, chicken and sausage, cured meats or hard-to-find exotic meats like wild boar and venison that may not be sold at your neighborhood butcher, even in the best of times. Regardless of their niche, however, all of the online butchers and meat subscription services on this list of the best meat delivery offer delicious, premium meat options.
Read more: The best meal kit delivery services
What we're getting at is that whether you're looking for a great value on meat delivery, specifically seeking out humanely raised and eco-friendly meat or simply hungry to try the latest, greatest and highest quality meats available (hello, American Wagyu), there's a delivery service out there to fit your specific needs.
Canning meat to save money and be prepared
We looked at some of the most popular online meat delivery services out there, taking into consideration the types of meats available, price point, special services, shipping costs and more to help you choose the best one for all your fresh meat needs. We'll keep this up to date with new offers and services as we come across them.
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So what are you waiting for? This list is like having your own personal meat market delivered straight to your door!
Snake River Farms
Snake River Farms
Snake River Farms meat delivery service (and its partner, Double R Ranch) offer something truly special: not only dry-aged, USDA Prime beef, but American Wagyu (Kobe-style) beef, known for its rich marbling, tender texture and fantastic flavor. All of its cows are raised sustainably and humanely in the Northwest, and it offers heritage breed Kurobuta Berkshire pork from pigs raised on small family farms in Idaho and the Midwest. In addition to its exclusive (and accordingly expensive), chef-approved cuts of rare steak, it touts several sustainable ranching practices, from rotational grazing that promotes healthy rangelands to composting cattle waste and using beef tallow for fuel. Even the shipping foam in each butcher box can be dissolved and used as plant food, composted or used as a fire starter. In addition, the company is a founding member of Beef Counts, which helps provide food to families in need.
But you're here for the Wagyu. While the company doesn't offer recurring subscriptions, you can buy all sorts of individual cuts like American Wagyu tomahawk steaks ($50 per pound), filet mignon, porterhouse and ribeye, not to mention Wagyu burgers and hot dogs (and don't forget about its Kurobuta pork bacon and baby back ribs). When it comes to Snake River Farms Wagyu, most products are offered in both Gold Grade (the highest quality — and price — available), and Black Grade (still special but slightly less devastating to the wallet). You can also purchase variety-pack gift boxes, some curated by chefs like Thomas Keller and Naomi Pomeroy.
As with most other meat delivery services, your cuts will come vacuum-sealed and frozen. Shipping cost varies, depending on how quickly you'd like to chow down.
Rastelli's started out as a small butcher shop in New Jersey serving its local community, but they've always put a premium on the best meat possible and are driven by a love of good food. Today, they ship beef, poultry and seafood across the US from farms that produce responsibly raised meats free of antibiotics, steroids and hormones (or sourcing wild-caught and sustainably raised seafood like Faroe Island salmon).
Prices vary depending on which box you choose — and there are many options, including boneless, skinless chicken thighs ($35), a burger box ($89), ribeye box ($179) and even a plant based sampler ($99). You can buy any box as a one-off purchase but will save 5% if you subscribe.
Based in Nashville, Porter Road offers a variety of cuts of prime beef, pork, lamb and chicken, sourced from Kentucky and Tennessee. Its beef is pasture-raised, grass-fed and grain-finished, but the company uses no added hormones or antibiotics and the animals are free to roam and graze. Like Snake River Farms, it uses corn-based foam insulation in its boxes, so you can use it to fire up your grill and cook the skirt steak that came in the same package. Most of the company's meat is shipped fresh, but depending on the cut, some pieces will be frozen. You can order a la carte (from more traditional options like pork chops, NY strip steaks, ribeye and ground beef, to less common cuts like Denver steak, lamb T-bones and andouille sausage made with fresh ingredients), or choose from several box options, including all beef, pork and beef, or a "best of" assortment that arrives every two, four or eight weeks. You can add items onto your subscription too ("put a bird on it" if you're feeling like chicken next week).
The basic box is $50 (or $4.69 per serving), but specialty selections like the Breakfast Box are also available — and we look forward to the "Grill Master Box" returning this summer (last year, it contained dry-aged steaks, dry-aged burger patties and brats for $70, with six pounds of meat total, or $6.56 per serving). In the meanwhile, they've put together a "Stay at Home" bundle with dry-aged ground beef, ground pork, Italian sausage and breakfast sausage (11 pounds of meat total, or $3.07 per serving).
Since demand is particularly high at this time, expect shipping delays and limited selection when it comes to more exotic cuts.
Crowd Cow aims to "create an alternative to the current meat commodity system" by connecting consumers to a carefully curated selection of small farms and independent ranches around the world. The specific offerings range from grass-fed beef and both Japanese and American Wagyu to pork, chicken and American-raised lamb (bison will be added soon). There's even a selection of sustainable seafood for those craving surf and turf. You have the option to search by specific cut or type of meat, or by farm.
You can purchase items a la carte — including a pasture raised whole chicken ($21), bone-in pork chops ($10.50 per pound) and perennial favorite ground beef, which you can get in the following varieties: grain finished ($8 per pound), 100% grass fed ($9 per pound) or Wagyu ($12 per pound). Or go with a curated subscription box like Steak Lovers ($159).
No matter what you choose, your meat arrives frozen and packaged in 100% recyclable and compostable materials — and includes information on which farm it came from, making this a perfect option for those seeking transparency in addition to delicious meat.
Holy Grail Steak Co.
Holy Grail Steak Co.
If you're looking for the very best in beef and have a few extra pennies to spend on the good stuff, let us introduce you to Holy Grail Streak Co. The newcomer to the high-end meat-delivery game sells the best American-raised Wagyu with a deep portfolio of top A5-grade Japanese Wagyu producers on the planet. This includes ultra-rare Hokkaido Snow Beef and beloved Kobe Beef. On the website, you can sift through their "collections" like Japanese Wagyu, American Wagyu, USDA Prime Black Angus, Akaushi, steak flights and Wagyu burgers.
Holy Grail does sport an impressive menu but it ain't cheap. Your best bet here is buying in bulk, like this 12-pound pack of Wagyu burger for $169, for instance, versus purchasing in smaller quantities which is much pricier. Or snag a steak starter pack with four steaks and two burgers for $249. You can order one-time boxes or custom orders for yourself or choose from carefully curated beef boxes to send as a gift or care package.
Enjoy free ground shipping when you spend more than $199 (not hard to do).
Omaha Steaks — one of the first-ever meat delivery services — bills itself as "America's Original Butcher" and has certainly been in the carnivore-feeding business for a long time. Keeping up with the growing preference for grass-fed beef, both grain- and grass-fed are now offered (and both options start with grass-fed but their signature beef is grain-finished); read more about how each option compares. The company doesn't advertise organic meat like many others do, nor provide much specific information about how and where the animals are raised, but does stand behind "a nearly 100-year tradition of providing customers premium, aged, and hand-trimmed beef with a 100% satisfaction guarantee." There's also a lot more on offer besides the namesake Omaha steak product.
Truly, the range of items on the site is somewhat staggering. From various cuts of beef (steak galore, of course, including "king cuts" you would probably struggle to finish even if you hadn't eaten for a week), bison, veal, pork, chicken and seafood, to charcuterie, full meal kits, a la carte side dishes and desserts, wines and even dog treats, this could be a one-stop web shop. While it doesn't offer subscriptions by name, there are plenty of gift boxes (like an $80-a-month Steak Box or a Monthly Grilling Box for the same price) that you could certainly order for yourself. Another interesting thing it offers: butcher services where you can consult one-on-one with a butcher to custom order precisely what you want. Shipping prices vary based on order total and how fast you want your stuff, but you can find some "free shipping" deals and combos on the site. There's also a Steaklover Reward Points program for committed carnivores.
Online grocery provider Thrive Market is also a one-stop shop, in a somewhat more traditional sense: It sells all manner of organic, 100% non-GMO, fair-trade products at wholesale prices, so you can buy various brands of things like paper towels, marinades and snacks — and bundled boxes of meat and seafood. To shop from the site, you must pay a $60 annual membership fee (which nets you guaranteed savings and free gifts, plus sponsors a free membership for a low-income family), but you can sign up for a 30-day free trial to test it out first. The company guarantees you'll make back your membership in savings every year, but if not, will give you store credit for the difference.
The company's meat delivery options include several boxes (a la carte cuts are not available), which feature 100% grass-fed, free-range beef from small and midsize, family-run ranches in Chile that don't use antibiotics or hormones; certified free-range and organic chicken from family-owned farms in Virginia; antibiotic- and hormone-free, pasture-raised pork from a family-owned farm in Georgia; and both wild-caught and sustainably farmed seafood like fish, shrimp and scallops. You can choose from single-protein boxes or mixed packs like the Thrive Market Meat Sampler (11.75 pounds of chicken, beef and pork for $110, or $3.51 per serving), and can also curate your own meat and seafood box if you like to pick and choose (average cost $5.95 per serving). Shipping is free on all orders over $49.
Please note: As of March 27 ButcherBox has implemented a waitlist for all new members due to high order volume. Please check back as we will update this article when circumstances change.
ButcherBox is a meat subscription service that offers three types of protein, but puts an emphasis on its 100% grass-fed and grass-finished, pasture-raised beef from cows that are free to roam (grass-fed beef is said to be higher in antioxidants, vitamins and healthy fatty acids, is often more environmentally friendly since it's pastured and not raised on feedlots, and has a purer beefy taste). The company also offers heritage breed pork from pigs with plentiful outdoor access and an all-vegetarian diet from forage and feed, and free-range, organic chicken that's humanely raised, with no antibiotics or added hormones. It makes a point of mentioning that it works with "the best possible meat processing facilities" and believe in fair labor practices too.
When you sign up, you can choose from all beef, beef and chicken, beef and pork, a mixed box or create a custom box. In any case, you select from two different box sizes depending on how many people you're feeding (or how big your freezer is). Prices vary, but plans start at $129 per month. If you like complete control, the Custom Box is $149 per month (or $4.97 per meal), and allows you to take your pick of over 20 different cuts like ground beef, top sirloin steaks, chuck roast, pork tenderloin, boneless pork chops, chicken breasts and drumsticks. All of the meat ships vacuum-packed and frozen, and shipping is free. As a bonus, the company is usually running some sort of promotion, like free bacon for the life of your subscription or 2 pounds of sockeye salmon.
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