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The supermarket can be a hard place to be an environmentally-conscious carnivore. Meat packages are covered in vague stickers—organic, grass-fed, all-natural—and you have to be well-versed in the realm of verified meat labels to know exactly what it all means. If you don’t happen to live near a trusted butcher, there’s another place you can shop that takes all the guesswork out of buying sustainable, responsibly-raised meat: ButcherBox, a food delivery service that ships high-quality meat and seafood to homes in the contiguous U.S.
ButcherBox is a meat and seafood delivery service that sends subscribers frozen cuts of 100% grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, humanely raised pork, and wild-caught seafood. CEO Mike Salguero founded the company in 2015 when his wife was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder. Her doctor told her to eat more grass-fed beef, which was impossible to find in stores. Wanting a better way to connect farmers with consumers, Salguero created a Kickstarter campaign for ButcherBox and got 1,000 pre-orders. Today, the company is a leader in claims-based meats—products that tend to be organic, free-range, and grass-fed, and that make up just a small percentage of the U.S. meat industry.
How much does ButcherBox cost (per person)?
ButcherBox offers five different monthly plans in two sizes each. Curated boxes—in which the company sends its choice of 8.5 to 11 pounds of beef and chicken, beef and pork, all beef, or a mix of meat and seafood—start at $137, or $5.71 per meal for 24 meals. Custom boxes—which you can fill with 9 to 14 pounds of your proteins of choice—start at $159, or $5.30 per meal for 30 meals. Both types of boxes also come in larger sizes with twice the number of meals: $253 for the curated box and $288 for the custom box. Shipping is always free.
What do ButcherBox reviewers say?
Happy ButcherBox reviewers mention lean and flavorful meat, conveniently portioned packages, and consistency in quality, as well as ease of use and reasonable prices. Many say they’ve used the service for a year or longer and have replaced their in-store meat purchases with ButcherBox.
Several reviews describe positive experiences with on-time deliveries and responsive customer service, but others raise issues about unwanted charges or thawed meat upon delivery. Read reviews, complaints, and responses from ButcherBox on Better Business Bureau.
Is ButcherBox easy to use?
We tried ButcherBox, and it’s definitely easier than shopping for sustainable meat and seafood at the store. Proteins arrive at your door individually packaged, frozen, and ready to be thawed and cooked or stashed in your freezer for later. Everything is cleaned and pre-trimmed, so you don’t have to play butcher. ButcherBox kits don’t come with other ingredients or meat that’s already marinated or spice-rubbed, though, so you’ll need to do all of the seasoning and cooking at home.
What are the standout features of ButcherBox?
- B-Corp certification: ButcherBox is one of about 3,500 Certified B Corporations around the world. B Corps are businesses that are inclusive and sustainable, scored on their social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. ButcherBox’s certification means you can trust that the company is always improving animal and worker welfare, as well as its environmental footprint.
- No venture capital funding: On a similar note, Salguero says the fact that ButcherBox got its start with pre-orders on Kickstarter (rather than investments from venture capital firms) has paved the way for the company to be truly mission-driven. Board members are able to make decisions with consumers, animals, and the environment in mind, as opposed to only thinking about shareholder value.
- High-quality meat in one place: ButcherBox doesn’t carry every cut of meat imaginable, but it does serve as a one-stop-shop for some of the healthiest, highest-quality beef, pork, chicken, and seafood you can find online. Products range from pork butt and beef tenderloin to whole chicken and sockeye salmon.
Who should sign up for ButcherBox?
- Enthusiastic home cooks: ButcherBox proteins, which arrive pre-trimmed but not seasoned or marinated, are a blank canvas for home cooks who want to plan special meals around meat and seafood. Find recipe inspiration on the brand’s blog.
- Health-conscious carnivores: If you (or your doctor) want your household to start eating higher-quality, more nutritious meats, ButcherBox proteins are a good place to start. Research has shown that organic, grass-fed beef is the healthiest kind you can buy. It’s also the least likely to contain harmful bacteria, as it comes from cattle who only ate grass and were never given antibiotics or hormones. Other research shows that grass-fed beef has a healthier makeup of fatty acids and more vitamins A and E than grain-fed beef. Organic chicken and wild-caught seafood are also a better choice for those concerned about consuming antibiotics, and humanely-raised pork contains more nutrients than conventional pork, since it comes from pigs who ate a diverse vegetarian diet.
- Environmentally-minded shoppers: Anyone who likes to make purchases with sustainability in mind may want to consider ButcherBox, which only sources from producers that adhere to designated environmental and animal-care standards.
- Families: Most meat arrives in pre-portioned packages that feed two to four people each, such as one-pound bags of ground beef and chicken thighs in packages of two. This makes it easy to thaw one protein at a time for family dinners.
Who should avoid ButcherBox?
- Non-cooks: ButcherBox doesn’t take care of any meal prep for you, aside from the shopping for proteins. You’ll still have to choose your recipes, buy other ingredients, and cook your meat to perfection.
- Singles with small freezers: A one-time ButcherBox might be exactly what singles need to get through the winter with homemade braises, burgers, and Bolognese, as each box contains close to 30 meals worth of meat. A shipment of that much food every one or two months, though, might overwhelm a one-person household with a small freezer.
How does ButcherBox actually work?
The first step when signing up for ButcherBox is to choose a plan. If you have particular cuts in mind, you might want to go with the custom box—ButcherBox’s most popular plan that allows you to fill your delivery with your own choices of beef, pork, chicken, seafood, and more.
If you’re open to surprises, you could go with one of the curated boxes of all beef, beef and chicken, beef and pork, or a mixture of meat and seafood, and ButcherBox will choose the specific cuts for you. Whichever plan you select, you’ll have the choice between the classic or big size; the former has 8 to 14 pounds of meat (or 24 to 30 meals), and the latter has 16 to 26 pounds of meat (or 48 to 60 meals).
ButcherBox offers 25 or more different cuts of meat at a time, and these vary depending on availability and your region. For grass-fed beef, you can expect to see choices like ground beef, burgers, and several different types of steaks and roasts. Organic chicken cuts—such as drumsticks, thighs, breasts, and tenders—are packaged separately and come in both skinless or skin-on and boneless or bone-in options. Popular humanely-raised pork selections include chops, tenderloins, baby back ribs, and bacon, while the wild-caught seafood menu has salmon, scallops, cod, and halibut.
ButcherBox occasionally offers limited items such as lobster tails and leg of lamb, and it’s working on sourcing new products like bison. Right now until November 16, you’ll get a free 10- to 14-pound turkey in your first box when you sign up. Most of these new products are available for members only, but if you want to give ButcherBox a test round before committing, you can order a one-time box here.
After choosing your plan, box size, and cuts, you’ll fill in your shipping and billing information. When you click “purchase,” you’re agreeing to auto-renew your box for the following month. From there, you can go into your account settings to change your personal information, cancel your membership, or update your plan, delivery frequency, and box size or contents. Just be sure to make these changes before your next billing date, which you can also move around based on your schedule.
You don’t need to be home to accept your box, but keep in mind that ButcherBox proteins are meant to arrive frozen and should be put away within 8 hours of delivery. You’ll get an email when your order is delivered and will be sent the tracking information beforehand. If your meat is partially or fully thawed, use a thermometer to make sure it’s below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s warmer than that, discard it and report the issue to customer service. Otherwise, store it in your freezer or thaw it in the refrigerator if you plan to cook it soon.
Are there alternative ButcherBox meat delivery services out there?
ButcherBox is a safe bet for anyone trying a meat delivery service for the first time—especially those who prioritize sustainability and are cool with sampling a relatively standard variety of cuts. If you’re interested in specialty cuts, prepped proteins, or side dishes, however, you might want to look into the following alternatives.
On Crowd Cow, you’ll find less common cuts: venison tenderloin, ground wild boar, and Japanese Wagyu, plus sides like mac and cheese and scalloped potatoes. Most cuts are delivered raw so you can cook them yourself, but you can also order fully-cooked meat and seafood and pre-marinated proteins.
Rastelli’s also has a few things you won’t find on ButcherBox, like swordfish steaks, ahi tuna, and veal. Similarly to Crowd Cow, it has some oven-ready sides and proteins (think beef Wellington and garlic and herb prime rib roast). Dissimilarly, it can be used as both a one-time shopping experience and a subscription service.
Crowd Cow and Rastelli’s offer sustainably-raised meat, but the specific qualities vary across sources. Beef from one farm may be 100% grass-fed, and beef from another may be grass-fed but grain-finished, so you’ll have to pay attention to these claims when placing your order. On ButcherBox, all proteins meet the same standards, no matter which farm they come from.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is ButcherBox’s delivery area?
All 50 states except for Alaska and Hawaii.
When will I receive my deliveries?
You can’t choose a specific delivery date, but you’ll receive your box within eight days of paying for your order. You can always change your billing date in your account settings.
What are ButcherBox’s standards for its meat and seafood?
Beef is 100% grass-fed and grass-finished, which means the cattle grazed on grassy pastures for their whole lives and were never fed grain or kept in feedlots. Humanely-raised pork comes from hogs who were raised on pastures or in hoop barns, not crates, and ate an all-vegetarian diet. Free-range organic chicken means the chickens were raised without crates, cages, or crowding and with outdoor space and organic feed. Seafood is wild-caught and sustainably harvested. All products are free of antibiotics, added hormones, and additives or coloring. Read more about ButcherBox’s sourcing here.
Where does ButcherBox’s meat and seafood come from?
Beef comes from partners in Australia and the U.S., pork and chicken are raised in the U.S. and Canada, and wild-caught seafood is sourced from the U.S.
Can I recycle the packaging?
Yes. ButcherBox boxes are made from all recyclable materials and are completely recyclable. If your box was packaged with dry ice, let it evaporate in a well-ventilated area before disposing of the box.
Are there discounts or rewards?
ButcherBox members will be able to see and redeem available promotions when logged into their accounts. These deals could look something like, “free bacon for life,” and they are added three days before every bill date. The service also offers referral credits—when someone signs up for ButcherBox using your referral link, they’ll get $30 off their first box and you’ll get $30 off your next.