- Butcher Box Review : How It Works (And Should You Try It?) - April 22, 2021
- Crowd Cow Review : Is It A Good Deal For Meat Lovers? - April 20, 2021
Home delivery of groceries has become increasingly popular within the past few years, and for good reason.
The convenience of having hand-selected groceries delivered to your door for a small fee (if any) can’t be beaten, especially when you’re able to choose exactly what you want to receive from the comfort of your own couch.
Specific delivery boxes like Butcher Box for home meat delivery can not only up your cooking game, but it may provide other benefits like sustainably sourcing products or using all recyclable packaging. But are they always really worth the cost?
Home delivery boxes can be especially good for those who like to pay attention to how their groceries were sourced or the climate costs that go into sourcing, delivery, and packaging.
You may be able to find all the information about where your groceries were before they arrived at the store with a bit of research, but if you’re using a specific grocery delivery service, often you can find the information directly on their website without having to look.
So whether you are anti-antibiotic in your meat or pro-recyclable packaging for your box, home deliveries can conquer it all.
Today we’re going to specifically look at the Butcher Box home meat delivery. Butcher Box is one of many home delivery services specifically for meats and seafood that touts sustainable and ethical practices in both raising and harvesting the meats and seafood included in the box.
Why Choose Butcher Box?
If you’re anything like me, the grocery store isn’t your favorite place to go, especially when you have a big list of things to get and still want to make the best choices for yourself and your family.
Your choices may only be examining cost, or you may also pay attention to things like where and how your food was kept, or if it’s considered organic. And of course, everyone wants to buy food that is going to taste amazing and make the best meals.
At the grocery store, you can often find some meats and seafood that are sustainably raised or fed with a specific type of food or harvested so as not to harm the ecosystem around them.
But it’s not guaranteed that the type of product you’re looking for is going to be there, or you may not be able to trace the origin of the product you want all the way to the source. Here’s where Butcher Box has the most benefit when it comes to a meat delivery box: you know exactly what you’re getting and where it comes from.
All Butcher Box meats are humanely raised and/or sustainably harvested, and if you dig into the information in most cases, you can also find out what part of the world it comes from.
The benefits of choosing Butcher Box include:
- Beef is 100% grass-fed, humanely raised, and pasture-raised, meaning that the cows have pastures to roam on instead of being cooped up in cages.
- No antibiotics are used in the beef, and it’s sourced from Australia, which has better animal welfare laws than the U.S.
- Pork is raised in pastures or hoop barns instead of slatted floor cages, using sustainable farming and harvesting methods.
- They also call out “old-world genetics,” which supposedly provides a richer flavor and more marbling in the meat. The pork also never has any antibiotics.
- Chicken is free-range, which means that the chickens are given access to pastures.
- Butcher Box chicken farmers are also level 3 Global Animal Partnership (GAP) certified, which requires certain standards for raising farm animals. (If you don’t know anything about GAP (we didn’t) and want to learn more, check out their website.)
- Butcher Box’s seafood is wild-caught and sustainably harvested.
- There are no additives, and each type of seafood can be traced back to the area of the nation where it was harvested. In many cases, these are family-run businesses.
It’s also worthy to note that Butcher Box is a Certified B Corporation. In a nutshell, this means that Butcher Box operates at the highest standards of social and environmental performance as well as the highest levels of legal accountability and public transparency.
There are quite a number of great companies operating under this positive umbrella, including Patagonia and Seventh Generation.
How Does Butcher Box Work?
Butcher Box is a subscription service with a number of different choices. There is a curated box, in which you won’t always know what you’re getting, or a custom box in which you can pick all of the meats that are coming to you.
While you have to sign up for a recurring box initially, you can skip a box or cancel your membership at any time with no hidden fees, which is something we really like and look for in a subscription service.
Once your box has been chosen and paid for, the meats will ship in recyclable packaging with a dry ice insert that keeps the meat cool in transit.
While of course it is recommended that the box be brought in and unpackaged right away, according to their website the dry ice will keep the meats cold enough for up to 8 hours after delivery.
Shipping is free, and you can choose your delivery date and how often you want the meat to be delivered, as frequently as once a month.
The Butcher Box site isn’t all about meat delivery, either. They have tons of recipes and blog articles that are useful to anyone who loves to cook, or is interested in their practices or processes.
The Butcher Box Experience website, called Just Cook, includes everything from guides to how best to prepare the meats you’ll receive to videos that take you inside one of their seafood sources.
What About the Cost?
Time to get to the meat of this article! (See what we did there…) Many times with subscription boxes people are turned off by the price, so we’ll break down the pricing and what you get here so it’s all out in the open.
First, you choose the type of box you want from five choices:
- Custom box (You choose the types and cuts of meat you want, and can change your selections every month.)
- Mixed box (Contains a selection of beef, chicken, and pork.)
- Beef and chicken
- Beef and pork
- Beef only
Then, you choose the size of the box you want, the classic box or the big box. For the custom classic box, the weight is 9-14 pounds and $149, breaking down to the cheapest price of over $10 a pound.
While this may seem steep, the grocery stores where we did price comparisons are very similar. For the custom big box, the weight is 18-26 pounds at a cost of $270.
For all of the curated boxes, the classic box is 8-11 pounds at $129, while the big box is 16-22 pounds at $238. At the highest box weight, this adds about 20 cents per pound on top of what you would pay if you bought the custom box.
As we mentioned before, one thing we love about this subscription box is that you can time the frequency of your deliveries, skip a delivery, or even cancel your plan with no hassle and without having to contact customer service. It’s all done online with a few clicks, very simply and easily.
What are the Pros and Cons of Butcher Box?
So now that we’ve broken down plans and products, let’s talk about the pros and cons.
- Sustainably and ethically sourced products
- Ability to change or cancel the subscription at any time
- High-quality meats
- Free shipping
- Regular member specials
- Price may be more than what you can find in local grocery stores
- The size of a box may not be enough meat if you’re used to bigger portions
- It’s meat, so if something happens during the delivery (doesn’t deliver on time, damaged packaging, etc.) you have to throw it out
- Not much in the way of seafood options, if you prefer to throw a lot of seafood into your dinner mix
Okay, Okay… But What About Taste?
Although we haven’t tried the products from Butcher Box ourselves, there are tons of reviews out there about the taste of the products offered, and we’ve found that they’re about half and half when it comes to positive and negative reviews on taste.
Many customers say the quality of the meats is evident, and that they are tender and more flavorful than store-bought meats.
However, quite a few customers say that the meats included are not what they expected and that they feel store-bought meat is usually better. This last statement seems to particularly be said when it comes to ground beef.
We’ve also found quite a few reviews that say it makes the subscription worth it to get the custom box instead of a curated box. Many customers speculate that the custom boxes selectively get the better quality meats because they are individually selected instead of being thrown in a box.
I Tried Butcher Box, What About Others?
If you’re looking to comparison shop meat subscription services, there are dozens available. Here are a few others that look great to us:
Omaha Steaks have been around forever, and there’s a reason for it. I first remember Omaha Steaks as a refrigerated truck that would go door to door when I was a kid and do cold calls selling boxes of meat. My mother purchased one once and it was great. Now they’ve branched out to almost being another Schwan’s, offering appetizers, full meals, and everything in between. They have been positively reviewed by places like businessinsider.com and grillseeker.com.
Rastelli’s is QVC’s leg into the meat subscription service, and we love this one because of the variety of choices offered. While not as sustainable or environmentally friendly as Butcher Box, they do tout hormone and antibiotic-free products, as well as wild-caught seafood. With choices like meatballs and a surf and turf box, Rastelli’s is definitely a good option.
If you’re a fan of jerky, salami, and other cured meats, the Carnivore Club box is the box for you. You don’t get to choose exactly what you get every month, but there are two sizes of box to choose from and each included product is selected from a different artisan vendor every time, so you know you’re always getting high quality. With picks like garlic salami and honey sriracha chicken bites, you can’t go wrong.
Moink is very similar to Butcher Box in that the meat included in Moink boxes is all sourced from ethically and sustainably run farms that are grass-fed and pasture-raised. All subscription boxes are customizable and you can cancel or skip a box at any time with no fees or penalties. Moink offers a wide variety of meats and seafood, including things like breakfast sausage and lamb steaks.
Butcher Box FAQ
Answer: Butcher Box explains on their q&a page that they have finally designed packaging that is 100% recyclable while still built to keep your meats at an optimal temperature through delivery. They also have a blog article explaining the packaging process.
Answer: Grass-fed and grass-finished means that the cows used for Butcher Box meat are never fed grain. Instead, they are allowed to pasture graze and ingest their natural diet throughout their lives.
Answer: Butcher Box uses their packaging engineering testing labs to determine if your box needs dry ice or has enough frozen product included to keep your box cold through delivery. There is a handy guide on their website to go through if your box arrives without dry ice to make sure your delivery is still safe to eat. Don’t worry, if something is wrong, there is a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Answer: Because of differences in delivery services, Butcher Box does not guarantee a specific day of delivery.
Answer: Add-ons are offerings that can be added on for an additional cost to your existing box. These recur with each box unless you change or update your subscription. Exclusive member deals are seasonal or one-time-only discounts that can be added to your box each month, but that change each month.
Butcher Box has a lot of back and forth in the reviews, and at first glance, the cost seems a little outrageous. However, when compared to local stores, it works out to about the same price.
While I’m sure you could find some of these meats cheaper if you have a great local butcher shop, the convenience of getting home delivery of ready-to-go meats is great.
We will definitely be trying out a subscription to Butcher Box to see how the quality of meat stands up to what is expected. We also love the idea of supporting ethical and sustainable business practices, so we feel it’s worth paying more for high-quality that also supports those things.