I tried ButcherBox because of a special offer from ChefSteps (which may still be available… read on). I give them a thumbs up for shopping if you’re in an area where healthy meat (humanely raised and free from antibiotics and hormones) is not readily available. Prices are reasonable and they seemed to have learned from the experience of the many mail order meat companies that have preceded them.
There’s currently a choice of five boxes: Mixed Box, Beef & Pork Box, All Beef Box, Chicken & Pork Box and Beef & Chicken. Beef is grass fed/grass finished, pork is “heritage breed” (not further specified) and chicken is organic free range. I chose the Beef & Pork for $119 (a $10 savings with the offer) which included 2 10-oz. New York strips, 2 lb ground beef, 4 6-oz top sirloins, 4 8-oz pork chops and a 1-lb pork tenderloin. So that’s a total of about 7 pounds.
What did I like? The product was delivered not in a Styrofoam chest, but a zip-up tote that had dry ice and cooling bags inside. Much more efficient use of packaging. ButcherBox doesn’t promise to deliver frozen meat which reduces the shipping requirement; it’s shipped flash-frozen to reach you nicely chilled. This allows ButcherBox to offer “free” (i.e. included) shipping vs the painful overnight delivery charges you often see. My package was shipped two-day UPS from the Midwest and then sat on the porch an extra day because I was out of town when it arrived. The meat was still cold when I opened the box.
I also liked the trim on my meats. Somebody really has a good hand with the trim knife. The steaks were nicely shaped with just enough fat to define the edges. The steaks were fine: they were lean without being chewy, my usual criticism of grass-feed beef. The pork program seems less successful. The chops were shoulder blade chops, a less-tender cut. And a 1-lb tenderloin turns out to be really tiny.
And I especially like the ButcherBox website which is just the right mix of advocacy and information, with a very robust FAQ. Some of the much bigger and more established mail order meat companies could learn from these guys.
About that special offer: use this link and if it works you can get $10 off plus two free 10-oz. ribeyes. Definitely worthwhile. You do have to sign up for regular deliveries to get the deal, but the ButcherBox customer service department advised me to choose “every three months” which allows plenty of time to cancel if you don’t like it.