An Honest, Unpaid Review of the ButcherBox Meat Delivery Service

I heard so much about the ButcherBox Meat Delivery Service and saw so many ads on Facebook that I finally caved in to try the service. I loved the message of the company that they source only sustainable, organic, and/or humanely produced meats. The beef is grass fed and grass finished, for example, while the other products are usually organic with no preservatives or fillers.

When I signed up for the service, I decided to go for the option where ButcherBox chooses what’s delivered rather than the more expensive option of choosing my own products. Partly because I like the idea of getting a surprise in the mail and partly because I wanted to see what one could expect in a typical delivery. I also managed to sign up during a promotion for free bacon with every delivery for the life of the subscription and a one-time free add-on of grass fed beef steak tips.

Home Is A Kitchen - Butcher Box Meat Delivery Service Review

When the box arrived, I felt my excitement rise as I opened it like a meat-centric Birthday present. I pulled all kinds of frozen meats out of the box and noted that the delivery had two more packages than usual because of the free items. I also noticed that the box came with an insulated liner and some mostly melted dry ice. The interior insulation arrived damp and I couldn’t tell if it was recyclable or biodegradable.

In order to get some information about the sustainability of ButcherBox, I looked to their website. Visiting the website did not clear up the matter as it looked like the FAQs about the box contained somewhat misleading language. One statement said that the box is 100% recyclable and made of 95% recycled materials. “That’s great!” I thought. Then the next line discussed the liner and just said that it keeps the food cold. I found the separate mention of the liner odd, especially with no mention of whether it was recyclable or even biodegradable. Lastly, the meat isn’t necessarily sourced locally. It comes from all over the U.S., Australia, and Canada.

Home Is A Kitchen - Butcher Box Review - Contents and Packaging

With thoughts of meat, sustainability, and questionable eco-friendliness swimming through my mind, I wasted no time getting to what really matters – Taste! I cooked up all of the products in various ways familiar to me so that I could really judge the quality. In some cases, I even did a side by side taste test between typical grocery store products and ButcherBox.

Steak Tips
The first items I tried were the steak tips. With a friend visiting us, I found a great opportunity to experiment. I didn’t quite have enough to go around, so I supplemented with some steak tips I bought at the grocery store. We did a side by side taste test to see if we could not only tell the difference, but figure out which tasted better. Pictured below, the grass fed steak tips from ButcherBox are on the left and the grocery store steak tips are on the right. I seasoned them simply with just some salt and pepper although I would have loved to try marinating them in yogurt (check out the recipe).
Home Is A Kitchen - Butcher Box Review - Grass Fed Steak Tips

I’ve enjoyed grass fed beef in the past and I know that it naturally has a slightly leaner and often much more earthy or mineral flavor. That’s comparing it to the mostly grain fed grocery store products, which tend to taste sweeter and fattier. In this case, the cut of the steak tips from ButcherBox needed quite a bit of improvement.

The small, thin sliced pieces gave off an unappealing zesty mineral flavor while the tough texture shocked me (perhaps the meat came from very old cows?). The amount of liquid in the package also confused me. The ButcherBox steak tips fell far short of the quality of grass feed beef I enjoyed in the past or even the quality of the grocery store meat.

In comparison the meat from the grocery store charred up beautifully and contained nice marbling inside, which made for tender tips. We got off to a really disappointing start with the steak tips. I couldn’t believe how bad they were. They were edible, but barely. Usually, the quality of grass fed beef is its selling point. It should be flavorful and beefy, but still tender. I would never order these steak tips again.

Chicken Tenders
The next item I grilled up were the organic chicken tenders. I seasoned them just a bit with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. I didn’t have any strong feelings about the chicken tenders. The chicken leaned on the small side, so they cooked up quickly and sometimes ventured towards dry if I didn’t pay close attention. They also fell apart pretty easily in an unappealing way, but I think this occurred due to the absurd amount of liquid in the packaging. The tenders were practically swimming. I tried patting them dry, but they never quite lost that water logged feeling. Overall, I’ve had better, but they tasted alright.
Home Is A Kitchen - Butcher Box Review - Chicken Tenders

Boneless Pork Chops
The boneless pork loin chops were the first product from the box that I actually liked. While pork loin chops don’t top my list of favorite cuts of meat by any means, these tasted pretty good. The thicker cuts took to marination well. I used a take on my soy and sriracha pork marinade. The chops came out tender, juicy, and flavorful. Can’t ask for too much more there. Still, a lot of liquid in the package.
Home Is A Kitchen - Butcher Box Review - Boneless Pork Loin Chops

Sirloin Steak
After the steak tips fiasco, I wasn’t confident in the sirloin steak from ButcherBox. Luckily, the steaks came out well with a simple salt and pepper seasoning. I grilled them to medium and found myself pleasantly surprised that they came out so well. These steaks seemed less like NY Strips cut from the top sirloin, but rather sirloin steaks cut from the short loin (a little cheaper and a little less tender).  I enjoyed the steak, but also couldn’t help thinking about the price point of the box.
Home Is A Kitchen - Butcher Box Review - Sirloin Steaks

Bottom Round Roast
Using the bottom round roast, I made roast beef using my own recipe. Again, I found myself surprised at how well it came out. The beef wasn’t tough at all and had a good overall flavor. It sliced well and I enjoyed it. I thought the size was perfect for a family meal as well.
Home Is A Kitchen - Butcher Box Review - Bottom Round Roast Beef

Ground Beef – Burger
The ground beef heralded another miss for me from the ButcherBox delivery. I formed the 85/15 grass fed ground beef into 1/4 pound burger patties. I grilled them up simply using a tried and true method for great burgers. Nothing could save these burgers though. There is no way that package of ground beef was 85/15. Whether grass fed or not, 15% fat is 15% fat, right? The burgers tasted extremely lean though and they were the driest I’ve ever made at home. I found it quite shocking. I would never use this meat for quality burgers again.
Home Is A Kitchen - Butcher Box Review - Ground Beed - Burger

Ground Beef – Kofta
Learning from the mistake with the burgers, I decided to try the ground beef by using my grilled kofta recipe. My hope was that the fillers and spices in the recipe might offset the lean dryness of the supposedly 85/15 ground beef. The recipe did the trick and I produced a decent meal from the ground beef. Basically, ButcherBox ground beef lends itself to recipes that use lean meat or that have some kind of way to adjust the texture of the meat. It’s just not worth the cost when there is grass fed organic beef that tastes much better at most grocery stores.
Home Is A Kitchen - Butcher Box Review - Ground Beef - Grilled Kofta

Uncured Bacon
Last, but not least, I dipped into the package of bacon and did a side by side taste test with store-bought bacon. The picture below shows the two store bought pieces on the left and the three ButcherBox bacon pieces on the right. I noticed the ButcherBox bacon was slightly thicker than the grocery store bacon. It cooked up nicely and tasted pretty good. It wasn’t quite as salty as the grocery store bacon, but it did have a slightly better pork flavor. All in all, the bacon tasted good, but not especially different than typical bacon.
Home Is A Kitchen - Butcher Box Review - Bacon

Eating sustainable foods (especially meats) produced organically, naturally, and humanely is a laudable goal – one that I strive for myself where possible. With that said, other than feeling good about sourcing meat products somewhat responsibly (as far as ButcherBox consumers know), I find it hard to justify the price point of Butcher Box.

When comparing the overall quality of the meat, the amount received, and the fact that the environmental impact of the delivery isn’t ideal, the cost of a monthly subscription just doesn’t add up (roughly 3 to 5 times the cost of the grocery store). If possible, consumers looking to source sustainable quality meat would do better to find a local farmers market or another meat delivery service with either a lower cost or at least a higher quality meat for the same price.

19 thoughts on “An Honest, Unpaid Review of the ButcherBox Meat Delivery Service

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  1. Butcherbox never delivered my $150 gift box and I contacted several people about it and eventually they were just like “it’s not going to ship”. If I hadn’t spent hours on the phone they would have just taken my $150 and never delivered. Instead after a couple weeks and numerous phone calls later, they admitted it was never going to go out and “Hazel” implied that they were just going to take my money and never ship the box. I would not recommend this service to ANYONE.

    1. That’s too bad. I didn’t have this kind of problem thankfully, but I have read that some people had trouble with quality control and getting those issues resolved with customer service.

    2. Anonymous 3/13/20. Not sure if you realize, you are not a “ripped off” victim. It seems really odd to have had the experience you describe, a simply phone call to you CC company would have propmted a refund of your money and corresponding investigation. Anyone using a CC or even a debit card know that there are options available to get your money back. You should pursue whatever avenue rights the wrong you have experienced. It will help the company understand whete they may have fallen down if your story is simply correct. Good luck.

  2. The first delivery we received was horrible. The vast majority of the packages were open and meat was freezer burned. Besides that the value for what we got was poor. We received 2 steaks and the rest of the meat was really poor quality cuts – ground beef, gristly beef tips and chicken that was more bone than breast. We definitely will not purchase from them again.

  3. I had zero issues with the taste of Butcher box meat ! The whole chicken is my favorite
    With the steak tips coming in 2nd ( made teriyaki beef and broccoli) the beef roast
    Always great cooked in pressure cooker!
    Usually delivered on time ( always there to receive package right away so no prob)
    We get custom box per every other week
    Plus add to few purchases from grocery store. All for our family of 4 ! We know we could stop service anytime but for now we shall keep it during this trying time in the world! Thanks Butcher box!

    1. I’m happy it’s working out for you and that you’re getting what you need during these trying times. The subscription wasn’t for me, but everyone should do what works for them. Stay safe and thanks for stopping by!

  4. I have really enjoyed my butcherbox. You have to cook the grass fed beef differently. It cooks much faster. The bacon, I feel is amazingly better than regular bacon. The food tastes cleaner if that makes sense.

    1. Hi Derek, I’m glad you enjoyed your butcher box. I just didn’t have that experience. I’m very familiar with cooking grass fed and finished beef. We buy it all the time. I just didn’t think all of the cuts of beef were good quality. Some were good, others not. As I said, I agree the bacon was good, but I wouldn’t say amazingly better. My hangup was more that the meat isn’t really locally sourced and the price of it didn’t reflect the quality received. That’s me, but power to people that are fans of the service. During these times, people should do whatever they’re comfortable with to get food responsibly and safely. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and for stopping by.

  5. I loved the concept of Butcher Box, but I had to cancel my subscription, because I did not ever receive an order where the meat inside wasn’t already unthawed or beginning to unthaw. Adding delivery instruction were no help. Butcher Box said they have no control over the delivery times, so I was tired of taking chances receiving spoiled meat, when I was paying over $200 a month for their product.

  6. I have had nothing but success and have been extremely happy with all cuts of meat as well as the fish and chicken, just yesterday, I did the chicken wings for a group of 10, i didnt have enough for all, so had to supplement with store bought.. no comparison, butcherbox much bigger and tastier, Beef tips were amazing, gonna do some buffalo burgers and bacon wrapped scallops today. The price is a little much , but saves that trip. All that being said, it does conpare to meat I get when I buy 1/2 a cow and have it butchered locally

    1. I’m happy it worked out for you. I’m going to have to hard disagree on the steak tips and ground beef, but I hear you. I do agree the pricing is tough, but I understand the convenience of delivery so long as it arrives still frozen and on time. I think you nailed it though when you said you could get the same (or in my opinion, better) quality by sourcing locally. It’s usually cheaper, helps the local economy, and the environmental impact is less since the meat doesn’t have to travel or get extra packaging. As I said to others though, everyone should do what they like and what works for them with the priority being staying safe. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  7. I’ve been very pleased with the quality of the meat from BB. I did have a problem 2 summers (2018) ago when a shipment was sent out & delayed due to the July 4th holiday.
    Everything arrived totally thawed & not even cold to the touch. They immediately sent out a replacement box.

    1. That’s great, Lois! I’m glad it’s working out for you and you’re happy with the service. I wonder if maybe the meat differs by location. I know they source from all over the place, but maybe certain areas get different product relabeled under ButcherBox. That could explain the difference in experience or quality. Or it could just come down to personal taste.

  8. Thanks for the detailed review. I was thinking about signing up after a friend referred me, but this review will definitely make me reconsider. Even if the meats did taste good, I am still a bit confused about the price structure. I can get high quality meats from local grocery stores or farmers markets (and I don’t have to build up a stock in the freezer!) for half the price. So I am not really seeing the value proposition here…

  9. “(roughly 3 to 5 times the cost of the grocery store)”

    I good review for me except claims like that. I’ve have had several boxes of their meat so I was confused how you came to this math. Whenever I compare the prices to any local store, I found Butcher Box to be VERY reasonable! I usually get about ~12 lb of various cuts of beef for $149. Are you saying you get grass fed steaks for $3-5 a pound? Maybe you are ordering very different things but I have quite a variety.

    My only gripe with BB is receiving some a few sliced open packages each shipment.

    1. Hi Stefan, I appreciate you leaving a comment and reading the review. Regarding the statement about the cost that is based on a few factors. The first, is type of cut of meat and the second is the quality. You are correct that for some cuts of meat, the ButcherBox price is competitive, but for others it isn’t. Ground beef for example is more expensive and often cheaper elsewhere (even grass fed). Same for chicken tenders and things like that. The other issue might be quality. A quality grass fed steak, will be in the ballpark of what you might pay per pound at ButcherBox, but an average run of the mill corn/grain fed steak will be cheaper. I have no problem with quality cuts being more expensive, that makes sense – so long as those cuts really are a good quality. I thought the quality was a mixed bag for the price. However, when it comes to cheaper cuts, I’m personally not interested in paying $12+/pound for ground beef, chicken, or some cuts of pork. Those also often come in a box alongside the more expensive cuts, which affects the value. Lastly, the box I received had somewhere in the realm of 8-9 pounds of meat (not including the promotional “free” items). The price per pound was around $14-$16 Per pound. If you look up the average price of certain cuts of beef in the U.S., then I think 3-5 times makes sense on a case by case basis. My point was comparing just the cost of the meat to the cost of what most people buy at the grocery store (quality aside). I see what you’re saying in terms of trying to compare the same quality though. In that sense the price difference would be smaller for most, but maybe not all cuts.

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