Please note this is an unsponsored review, but I am an affiliate for ButcherBox. This means they did not pay me to do this review, but if you use one of my links to sign up, I will receive a small kickback. I only endorse products I use in my own home and love for our family.
I can’t believe it’s been almost three years since I posted about my first order with ButcherBox. (Read: Why I Started Eating Red Meat Again.) Since then, ButcherBox has grown and changed a lot. Although they were first of their kind, with innovation comes competitors.
You now have a lot of options when it comes to 0nline organic & high-quality meat delivery services, so I thought it’s time I posted a FULL review of Butcher Box. If you’ve been curious to find out if ButcherBox is worth it, then this review is for you!
So what is ButcherBox anyway?
ButcherBox is an online high-quality and organic meat delivery service that delivers 100% grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, and heritage breed pork directly to your door (and now wild-caught seafood!) All of the meat is antibiotic & hormone-free. It arrives on dry-ice and will stay frozen all day until you can get home to pop it in the freezer.
Top 3 Pros of ButcherBox Organic Meat Delivery Service:
- Exceptional Quality & Variety. I can never find the same variety for the same quality of meat at the store.
- Convenience Shopping. I can choose what I want in my Pajamas, and I don’t have to go anywhere. It’s delivered to my doorstep.
- Member Deals. Exclusive deals are offered to members to save money on classic and premium cuts/staples.
Top 3 Cons of ButcherBox Organic Meat Delivery Service:
- Frozen Meat: The meat arrives frozen (pros and cons to this.) And occasionally the meat arrives unfrozen, aka damaged. More about this later.
- Limited Seafood Options (for now.) UPDATE: Although this is expanding, they now offer wild-caught salmon, cod, and scallops.
- Their Grass-fed Beef is Not Local. It sourced out of the US. Explanation below.
Delivery Options: Choosing Your Box
ButcherBox offers two different box options.
The Curated Boxes
The folks at ButcherBox curate this box. You have four options to pick from:
- Mixed Box
- Beef & Pork Box
- Beef & Chicken Box
- The All-Beef Box
In each box, they select a well-balanced assortment of easy-to-cook items, like chicken breasts, and more unusual cuts, like the Denver steak. In addition, you can always pick from a range of 12 add-ons to spice up your box (more info below)!
It comes in two sizes:
- The Classic Box $129/month providing 8-11lbs of meat, about 24 servings. $5.30/serving
- The Big Box $238/month providing 16-22lbs of meat, about 48 servings. $4.96/serving
In the video below, I unbox a curated ButcherBox they sent me to try out.
The Custom Box
In this box, you take control of the selection process. Select up to 21 different cuts of everyday items, like ground beef, as well as premium items, like pork tenderloins – not to mention a wide variety of 12 add-ons for that extra something special.
- The Classic Box $149/month providing 9-14lbs of meat, about 30 servings. $4.96/serving
- The Big Box $270/month providing 18-26lbs of meat, about 60 servings. $4.50/serving
100% Grassfed Beef:
- Ground Beef
- Stew Beef
- Top Sirloin Steaks
- NY Strips Steaks
- Premium Steak Tips
- Flat Iron Steaks (Our Favorite)
- Sirloin Cap
- Chuck Roast
- Ranch Steaks
- Filet Mignon
- Bottom of the Round Roast
- Sirloin Tips
Free Range Organic Chicken
- Chicken Drumsticks
- Bone-In Chicken Thighs
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- Whole Chicken
- Chicken Tenders
- Chicken Tenders
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
Heritage Breed Pork
- Ground Pork
- Breakfast Sausage
- Pork Chops
- Pork Tenderloin
- Boneless Pork Butt
- Center cut Pork Loin Roast
- Bone-In Pork Butt
- St. Louis Ribs
- Baby Back Ribs
- Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
- Wild Alaskan Sockeye Burgers
- Wild Caught Scallops
- Wild Caught Cod and Halibut
- Wild Caught Lobster
We order the custom box – classic size. If I weren’t a food blogger, I’d get the curated box, but for recipe development purposes, I need specific cuts of meat.
Reoccuring add-ons are available for any box type. If you need a little more than what comes in the classic size box but aren’t ready for a big box, this is a great option. Also, if you’re signed up for a curated box, the add-ons help ensure you get the staple items you can’t live without in every box.
One of the best new features of ButcherBox is the member’s specials section. I’ve bought 10lbs of ground 100% grass-fed grass-finished ground beef for $49.99 three times now. I’ve also ordered several other times from that section, including, most recently, a turkey!
Last month they let their members in on their most popular sign-up deals, ground beef for life! For a one-time fee of $49.99, you could add on two pounds of grass-fed meat in your box every for the life of your subscription! You know I grabbed that deal. (We eat a ton of ground beef in my house!)
I also LOVE the holiday feast boxes. We always order one or two of those! They usually include spiral ham, turkey, and more holiday favorites.
You can select from every 2, 4, 6, or 8-week interval options for a new box. Keep in mind it’s super easy to change your box delivery date. I almost never stay on a true “delivery schedule” I’m always adjusting the date of my deliveries. I move them forward when we are low on meat and back when I’ve scored more member specials in a box one week.
Butcher Box Meat & Seafood Sourcing
ButcherBox has very transparent sourcing information.
Their pasture-raised, 100% grass-fed & grass-finished beef comes from Australia. Australia offers a balmy climate, which allows the cattle to roam free and graze year-round. They do state on their website that as the US grass-fed industry grows, they continue to seek domestic partnerships.
While I would prefer the meat to be US-based so that we can support the local farmers attempting to provide 100% grass-fed & grass-finished beef. I understand the current industry doesn’t meet their demand.
Their pork and chicken come from the US and Canada, and special items such as wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, lamb, and turkey all come from the US.
I’m using a lot of terms here that you may think you’ve seen at other places like say, Costco. Now I love Costco, in fact, here is a list of my favorite healthy staples from Costco. That being said, Costco is undoubtedly cheaper because the quality is NOT THE SAME. That goes for a lot of other places you can get meat as well.
Costco Grass-fed Beef – is not 100% grass-fed and grass-finished, but ButcherBox is. That means that it might be grass-fed, but that doesn’t mean they are pasture-centered (they give grass pellets instead of letting them roam.) And if it isn’t 100% grass-finished they still fatten them up with corn and soy at the end, this practice limits the health benefits you should get from 100% grass-fed & grass-finished meat. Costco near us doesn’t even sell grass-fed beef, in any capacity, anyways.
Costco Organic Chicken – is usually (varies by location) not GAP -3 Certified like ButcherBox organic chicken is*. This may not make a huge difference in nutrition, but it does make a difference in animal welfare standards. GAP stands for the Global Animal Partnership and their certified labeling program ensures that animals are raised without the use of antibiotics, added hormones, or animal by-products. The number stands for how closely the environment mimics the animal’s natural habitat.
Costco Pork – I haven’t seen any natural or pasture-centered options at our Costco. We don’t even have uncured bacon at our Costco, I know my in-laws had it in California, but we don’t. ButcherBox offers heritage breed pigs who have access to the outdoors with bedding in OPEN barns, plus a nutritious diet. Moreover, their pork products, like bacon, aren’t cured or stuffed with a bunch of fillers like carcinogenic nitrates.
So, comparing the two meat purchasing options (ButcherBox vs. Costco) is really like comparing apples to oranges, they are just not comparable.
Seafood, on the other hand, might be slightly more comparable. Costco and ButcherBox offer wild-caught seafood options, but Costco offers a bit more variety although this varies by location.
And here is where I’ve personally seen the most growth and improvement in ButcherBox products. While the meat was always DELICIOUS, their packaging and shipment processes have had to evolve. When they first started shipping, they shipped in these awesome insulated bags with dry ice. Since then, their packaging has changed with both the environment and product quality in mind.
I’m going to bet people are reading this review who tried ButcherBox but stopped their subscription due to errors. Well, I’m happy to announce that my affiliate manager told me that the error rate is now UNDER 1% for both ButcherBox and SmoothieBox. They currently feature an insulated recyclable box with dry ice that keeps everything rock-solid frozen.
Added for 2021 Update: I have had defrosted meat show up at my door or sometimes a missing product, but never once have I had an issue replacing it. Typically this happens when there is a carrier delay outside of ButcherBox’s control. I’ve found customer service to be incredibly responsive and willing to replace whatever was damaged in the next box.
Keep in mind with any meat delivery service; the meat will always be frozen. Frozen meat comes with a few potential downsides such as dealing with the packaging, needing extra freezer space, and needing to defrost the meat before use (reasons why I love my Instant Pot so much.)
Final Thoughts- Is It Worth It?
If you’ve followed me on IG (@hungryhobbyrd) or this blog for a while, you already know I think it’s worth it. But, what about fitting it into your budget? This is a hard question for me to honestly answer because if I’m honest, I keep track of our groceries, but I do not budget them. Much to Mr. Hungry’s annoyance, I refuse to put a limit on good nutrition. I budget everywhere else, but groceries and food I just track. (We budget eating out though!)
Also, a ton of my food is a business expense for developing recipes for the blog. So again, I feel that my viewpoint on this part is skewed. That being said, I still shop sales and price match, etc. I always check out the meat department for 100% grass-fed & grass-finished meat, and it’s overwhelmingly underwhelming. The price is usually much higher than the average cost of Butcher Box, while the variety and quality are far less.
The store doesn’t carry the variety that ButcherBox offers. Furthermore, there are a lot of fake marketing tactics happening at the store, like advertising grass-fed meat that is grain-finished you don’t have to deal with. No deception, you can bet that ButcherBox is guaranteeing the animal welfare concerns and sustainability practices of the farms they source from, not just by some random packaging at the store.
Verdict: Yes, it’s worth it. We love our Butcher Box subscription (which I’ve had going since 2016.) If you try it out, let me know what your favorite cut was. Also, don’t forget you can search by ingredients like beef, poultry, pork, and seafood in my recipe index if you need recipes to cook your meat with!