As the coronavirus pandemic continues, many families are re-thinking the way they shop for groceries, particularly meat. Consumer behavior and outbreaks linked to meatpacking plants have caused disruptions throughout the supply chain. Many Americans who venture out of their homes to purchase groceries are confronted by empty store shelves.
Thankfully, meal delivery services make weathering the experience more enjoyable. Not only can you avoid the new protocols such as mask wearing and sanitizing grocery carts, you can find everything you need for hearty meals at home, all from your computer. A meat delivery service is also likely to have a wider selection than would be available from your corner store – everything from organic and grass fed beef and boneless chops to dry-aged steaks and wild caught salmon.
We researched some of the most popular meat delivery services available online and reviewed them based on metrics like variety of cuts, meat quality, price point, specialty services, average cost of shipping, and more.
Snake River Farms
The Snake River Farm meat delivery service is an immediate standout because of its special offerings. Not only do they specialize in dry-aged USDA prime cuts of beef, they are also one of the only to offer American Wagyu beef, which is renown for its flavor and marbling, which creates a buttery texture. All cows come from sustainable and human farms in the Pacific Northwest. Its other offerings, which include Kurobuta Berkshire pork raised on Midwestern and Idahoan farms, are just as outstanding.
Snake River Farms is known for its exclusive (and pricey) cuts of rare beef, notably its Wagyu. Offerings include American Wagyu tomahawk steaks, in addition to wagyu hot dogs and burgers. Products are characterized as Gold Grade (highest quality and accordingly high price tag) or Black Grade (still outstanding but slightly more affordable). They are known for the chef-curated variety and gift packs.
Snake River Farms advertises several sustainable ranching practices such as rotational grazing and composting of cattle waste. Even their shipping foam is compostable or can be used as a fire starter. The company is additionally a founding member of the organization Beef Counts, which provides food to needy families.
As for shipping, costs will vary depending on how soon you want your goods. Like most meal delivery service kits, meat comes vacuum-sealed and frozen.
Hailing from Nashville, Porter Road has diverse offerings of pork, lamb, chicken, and prime beef, all from farms in Tennessee and Kentucky. Beef cattle are pasture raised and free to roam, primarily grass-fed but grain-finished. Like some other subscription boxes, it uses plant-based packing foam that doubles as a fire-starter. The company is one of the few to deliver meat fresh, though some cuts will arrive frozen. Options range from a la carte (which include typical far such as pork chops, New York Strip, ground beef and ribeye, in addition to special offerings like lamb chops, Denver steak, and fresh andouille) to themed boxes (beef boxes, pork boxes, or “best of” subscriptions). Subscriptions vary from delivery every 2, 4, or 8 weeks. Subscription boxes also have the flexibility of adding on items such as chicken on a box-by-box basis.
The most basic subscription box comes in at $50, with specialty offerings such as the breakfast box and the Grill Master Box coming in at $70. A recent “Stay at Home” bundle, which includes dry-aged ground beef, will net you an impressive 11 pounds of meat. Like many other services at this time, demand is high, so shipping delays and inventory lags are common.
Butcher Box is a newer subscription service that places an emphasis on grass-fed, grass finished beef from free range cows. Grass fed beef is higher in antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamins, imparting a richer, meatier flavor compared to its corn-fed counterparts. Grass-fed and finished beef produce less methane and are more sustainable, since cows do not live on feedlots.
Though Butcher Box specializes in grass-fed beef, it also offers vegetarian fed heritage pigs and organic, humanely raised chicken. All their meat products go through processing facilities with fair labor practices.
Butcher Box has a variety of boxes to choose from – all beef, beef and pork, beef and chicken, or a custom creation. Boxes come in two different sizes depending on how many mouths you want to feed with it. Prices begin at $129 monthly, but the best deal is the Custom Box, which allows you to pick and choose from cuts like top sirloin, chick roast, chicken breasts, ground beef and more. Shipping is free, which makes it a standout from some of the other services. Meat comes frozen and vacuum sealed. Keep an eye out for introductory promotions like free add-ons for the life of your subscription.
Rastelli’s started as a humble, local operation in New Jersey but has expanded to shipping across the United States. The butcher shop has always put an emphasis on finding the best quality meat possible and sharing a genuine love of food. Consumers can get beef, seafood, and poultry delivered right to their doors knowing that their meat meets strict quality and sustainability standards. For example, Rastelli’s sources their salmon sustainably from the Faroe Islands.
Rastelli’s also delivers on price- a box of boneless, skinless chicken thighs will only run you $35. On the higher end, you can purchase a ribeye box for $179. Uncommon for meat delivery services, Rastelli’s even offers a plant-based sampler box for $99. There are two main options: buy as you go or subscribe to a monthly box of your choosing. The latter option will net you a discount of 5%. The bottom line: if you like high quality meat and supporting a small business, Rastelli’s is a good bet.
If you are looking to support local businesses as you consume high quality meat products, Crowd Cow might be a good option for you. The company strives to rethink the meat commodity system by connecting its customers to independent ranches and farms spread throughout the United States and around the globe. Their offerings are diverse, including both American and Japanese Wagyu beef, grass fed beef, chick, pork, bison, and lamb. For those who love seafood, there is also a selection of sustainably sourced, wild caught fish available. As a functional meat directory, consumers have the option of searching for products by type of meat or farm.
Customers have the option of purchasing items from an a la carte menu with offerings such as bone-in pork chops, whole pasture raised chickens, ground beef, Wagyu, and more. They also have store-curated subscriptions with themes like steak and chicken, or combinations thereof. All packaging is recyclable and compostable. For those interested in transparency, each purchase comes with an information card about where the meat is from and how it was raised. With Crowd Cow, you have the comfort of knowing exactly what you are feeding your family while supporting small farm owners across the globe.
Holy Grail Steak Company
The Holy Grail Steak Company is aptly named. If you are looking to experience the very best of beef and you are willing to expand your budget, then the Holy Grail Steak company might be a good option for you. As a fairly new addition to the meat delivery industry, Holy Grail Steak Company is high end and sells prized cuts of American Wagyu in addition to A5-grade Japanese Wagyu. Available fare includes Kobe beef and Hokkaido Snow Beef. Customers have the option of searching through collections like USDA Prime, Wagyu (Japanese and American), and Akaushi.
The Holy Grail offers some of the most impressive offerings on this list but be prepared to pay for it. A 12 pound pack of Wagyu burgers are $169, while steak starter packs (four steaks) run around $249. Customers have the option of making a one-off purchase, making custom orders, and sending curated boxes as gifts. Shipping free on orders over $199, which is easy to do. You also have the option of purchasing gift cards so giftees can create boxes based on their personal preferences. No matter which method you choose, prepare to enjoy meat products that are truly special.
Omaha Steaks has earned its reputation as one of the most prolific meat delivery services, referring to themselves as “America’s Original Butcher.” Indeed, Omaha Steaks has been on every carnivore’s radar for a long time. They have adapted well to evolving consumer tastes and offer a range of grass-fed and grain-finished beef, though their signature items are still grain fed. Unlike many other of the subscription services listed here, Omaha Steaks does not offer organic products. What they may lack in transparency, however, they make up for in sheer volume and diversity of product offerings.
The range of products listed on the website can be overwhelming. You can expect, of course, many different cuts of steaks, which include “king cuts” capable of feeding an entire family. In addition to steak, you can peruse cuts of veal, bison, pork, seafood, and chicken. Outside of meat, there is charcuterie, meal kits, side dishes, desserts, wine, and hot dogs. There are not subscription options per se, but you can opt into monthly grilling or steak boxes. Shipping prices vary based on order total and preference, but shipping times do not appear to be affected by COVID-19. Omaha steaks occasionally runs free shipping promotions, so keep an eye out.
If you consider yourself a foodie who enjoys the finer things in life, you will likely enjoy a D’Artagnan box. D’Artagnan is a boutique meat purveyor who prides themselves on their ability to connect customers to fine cuisine. On the menu, you will find classic offers such as American Wagyu and USDA Black Angus beef, in addition to lamb, chicken, duck, and turkey. All meats are antibiotic and hormone free, pasture/sustainably raised, and held to the strictest quality standards.
Their non-meat offerings are what really set D’Artagnan apart. Explore their menu, which includes caviar, foie gras, and charcuterie. An impressive truffle and mushroom collection makes the meat delivery service truly unique. In addition to build-your-own and curated boxes, you also have the ability to search offerings by cooking method (grilling, sous vide), cut, and more. Price wise, D’Artagnan is on the higher side, reflecting the offerings of higher end products. They have a helpful selection of articles for cooking different cuts of meat using different methods. If you are looking to elevate your eating experience (or elevating the eating experience of a friend), D’Artagnan is a good place to start. Keep an eye out for specials like their Freezer Sale, which offers 25% off select products.
Chicago Steak Company
Of the options listed, Chicago Steak Company has most in common with Omaha Steaks. Chicago Steak Company focuses on prime cuts of meat shipped free to your door. It specializes in Prime cuts of beef, which make up the top 2% of all beef cuts. They also sell USDA choice on their site, so look at labels carefully when building your order online. Steak offerings include both wet and dry aged options, with most stating aging times of 4-6 weeks. Available steak options include basic fare such as Top Sirloin, Filet Mignon, New York Strip, Ribeye, and more. Their beef burgers are generously portioned and come in three different types of beef.
All beef is harvested in the Midwestern regions of the United States. For those who are interested in learning more about cooking techniques and the variety of cuts of meats available, the website also includes helpful articles and tutorials. Like Omaha steaks, they do not offer subscription boxes in the conventional sense. They pride themselves on offering high quality steaks, so don’t expect to see much else on their list of offerings. Occasionally, they will offer promotional incentives, particular surrounding holidays (Christmas, Father’s Day, Easter, and more).
Kansas City Steak Company
Just like barbeque, steaks from different regions impart a different flavor, marbling, and other characteristics. The most discerning of carnivores will appreciate the nuance available from a Kansas City Steak. A Kansas City strip, named for the Midwestern cows from which they originated, have excellent marbling, a tender mouthfeel, and a rich flavor.
In addition to their signature Kansas City Strip, steak lovers will also love their UDSA Prime offerings in addition to brisket and beef tenderloin Chateaubriand. Aside from their beef selections, enjoy other meats such as ham, steak burgers, Bacon-wrapped pork chops, and lamb. Like Omaha Steaks, sides such as stuffed potatoes and even desserts are on the menu. Curated gift boxes centered on themes such as Game Day, Father’s Day, and wedding gifts are also available. Short on time and forgot to get someone a present? E-gift certificates are available with instant delivery to your friend or loved one’s email address. If you are looking for a good all-around meat delivery service with few frills, a decent price point, and a good selection, Kansas City Steak Company is a fair contender. Keep an eye out for promotions, like 15% off when you spend $125 or more (not hard to do when stocking up).
Have you ever wondered where the country’s best steakhouses get their meats? It’s likely from Debragga. Many of New York’s top restaurants procure their meat from there, a sure sign that you are getting products of the highest quality. Dry-aged steaks are where Debragga really shines. Dry aging is a process by which butchers hang cuts of meat in a climate controlled, humidity-controlled environment. The process can take weeks or even months. As the moisture evaporates from the steaks, enzymes break down and intensify the flavor profile of the meat. The time and effort involved in dry aging makes them a special, once in a while splurge.
Debragga is, at its core, a high quality butcher shop. Dry-aged and Wagyu cuts are their specialty, but you can also find veal, sausage, pork, smoked meat, lamb, and poultry on the menu. All Debragga meat products are free from hormones and antibiotics, and they deliver nationwide. If you are hesitant to leave your home as states reopen, Debragga recently started selling “Eat Well At Home” kits to help people get weeks of provisions during COVID-19. In all, Debragga is a no-frills butcher shop that offers high quality meat at an according price.