Every guy should have one or two go-to recipes in his arsenal.
You don’t have to be a fancy chef by any means. But mastering a pan-seared steak or roast chicken is a thing of beauty.
Date night, anyone?
Cooking has been a big hobby of mine for the past four or five years. I worked in fine dining restaurants throughout college and watching the line cooks plate up masterpieces for hours on end really got me excited about making great food.
I’ve gone crabbing in the San Francisco bay, trout-fishing in the Blue Ridge mountains, and even built a brick oven in my backyard for pizza and bread.
And with all that work behind me, sometimes I just want a little convenience.
When ButcherBox reached out to me, work was in full swing—to the point where even getting to the grocery store for basic items was a struggle.
“You’ll just deliver great meat straight to my door?” I thought.
Sure, why not? I’ll give it a try.
My first box arrived filled with neatly packed frozen meats. I’ve had a few weeks to give ButcherBox a try and my verdict is in. Keep reading to find out what I thought.
What Is ButcherBox?
The story of ButcherBox starts the same way all great stories begin:
With a cow share.
Michael Salguero, the founder of BB, found himself picking out over $400 worth of prime, grass-fed beef from a steer he’d partially funded.
Why did he go through the trouble of partially buying a cow when he could have just stopped at the grocery store instead?
Yes, Michael was hooked on the flavor and quality of the meat and was tired of coming up empty-handed at every supermarket he went to.
He knew there had to be thousands of other people just like him who only wanted high quality, ethically raised meat they could trust. The only problem was that it was hard to find.
So he started ButcherBox.
The company is basically a subscription service for carnivores.
You can pick up a curated box or select your own cuts. The boxes come in two sizes: Classic and the Big Box.
For our review, ButcherBox sent me a Big Box to try for myself.
To be honest, they’re the only things I know how to cook. But let’s just keep that between us, ok?
ButcherBox Unboxing & Review
ButcherBox sent along a hefty selection of meats to sample. I’ll be peppering this review with some of the meals I made with BB. I got:
- Filet Mignon
- Chicken Breast
- Wild Alaskan Salmon
- Uncured Bacon
- Bottom-Round Roast
- Pork Chops
- 85% Lean Ground Beef
The Big Box comes with a lot of meat. This is definitely enough to last my wife and I a full month of dinners.
ButcherBox made sure there was a healthy mix of expensive and inexpensive cuts.
Seeing the two filet mignon was a bit surprising as this cut is one of the most sought-after. Filet mignon is one of the most tender cuts of beef you can get, so it’s great for pan-searing and grilling because you’ll get a great texture even if you overcook it a bit.
That being said, the flavor isn’t as “beefy” as in a New York strip or rib-eye, which are my go-to’s when I want a steak.
But I’ve found that a lot of people equate tender with delicious, so if you’re cooking for anyone who isn’t a steak aficionado, filet mignon is a top choice. But between you and me, those in the know go with the rib-eye and New York strip.
I grew up in California where the beef was plentiful. Everywhere you look, there was a cow just waiting to be eaten.
But I moved to North Carolina, which is proudly pro-pig. You can’t walk two feet in this state without tripping over and then eating a pig.
All of that is to say that I miss my grass-fed, grass-finished beef dearly. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy pork—maybe too much—but I long to get back to my beefy roots.
The quality in ButcherBox was clear. The steaks and roast were that deep ruby red you like to see (bright red meat is a signal it’s been treated with nitrates to make it look more appetizing, and is therefore likely older).
Beyond beef, the chicken is free-range organic, the pork is heritage breed, and the salmon is wild. The only time you can beat quality like this is going to your local farmers market and meeting the farmers that raise the animals themselves.
One thing that stood out to me was the uncured bacon. Their producer cleverly uses celery salt which is nature’s highest source of nitrates.
This is a great way of ensuring food safety and preserving the bacon without adding any synthetic nitrates which some people like to avoid (the science is still out whether people are allergic to nitrates. Either way, you don’t have to worry with this bacon).
Like all subscriptions, ButcherBox is best used as a tool for convenience. All told, I probably could have gone to the store and bought the same amount of meat for a few dollars less.
But, when this subscription box came to me, I was in one of those ruts where you know you want to eat better but you don’t know where to start. I was having trouble regularly getting to the store because work was busy. If you know what I’m talking about, give a little ‘woot-woot.’
So the value was there for me, personally.
Yes, you can drag yourself to Whole Foods or wherever else you like to shop and get some pretty decent meat for a little less.
But to have great products arrive straight to your door without even having to think about it is sometimes the perfect thing. If you’re willing to pay a bit extra for that convenience, you’ll find the value is there for you, too.
My biggest worry for ButcherBox was the packaging.
I fully expected it to show up in a big, ugly styrofoam container, which I would eventually (unknowingly) feed to all the fishes of the ocean.
But I was relieved to see that the brand ships their products in 100% recyclable cardboard and paper insulation.
And honestly, everything was frozen solid, so their packaging begs the question of whether styrofoam should even be available for consumers. With such a low-impact way of insulating, styrofoam is reckless.
Good job, ButcherBox.
Customer Service and Other Reviews
When looking through other reviews for the service, it seems they’ve had some difficulties with their packages opening during shipment.
They do offer to replace the meat if any of the seals are compromised, though, in my shipment, I didn’t have any issues with unsealed packages.
My Mom’s Thoughts on ButcherBox
My mom was a subscriber for a while, so I called to ask about her experience—unfortunately, the video was completely out of focus so I’m not going to share it with you, but I’ll bullet-point her impressions:
- Great for a keto diet
- Top-quality meat
- Super convenient, especially because she lives in the middle of nowhere
Eventually, she did end up canceling (she said she just doesn’t cook often enough to make it worthwhile for her—maybe if I move back home she’ll pick it back up. #milleniallifestyle).
Unlike some of the reviews I read online, she didn’t have any trouble at all canceling her service. She called the day before she was charged and—poof—no charge, no delivery.
Overall, my mom recommends ButcherBox.
Thanks for the help, Mom.
My Overall Thoughts on ButcherBox
What I Like
Grass-fed and finished beef has exceptional flavor–the quality in ButcherBox is the real deal.
I love the packaging. I was relieved to find that my products weren’t stored in styrofoam, but recyclable paper insulation.
It’s hard to beat the convenience this service offers. You get great meat straight to your door.
Even without a dry-ice pack, the meat I got was fully frozen so I didn’t have to scramble to eat 10 pounds of meat.
What I Don’t Like
The website was hard to navigate without giving away my email address.
You’re paying a convenience fee, which is fine, but these boxes can be a bit pricey. I prefer to pay the premium for high-quality, ethically raised meat, but I understand that the cost might be prohibitive.
Sometimes life gets so busy that a trip to the store is more of a task than you’re up to.
In those busy seasons, it’s great to find a helping hand.
ButcherBox makes sure that even when things get hectic, you’re still able to feed you and your family top-quality, humanely raised meat you can trust.
While the service comes with a convenience fee, it’s one I’d be happy to pay when I’m totally stumped on what to get.
If you’re looking to expand your culinary horizons, you have to start with the right ingredients.
The same goes if you’re watching out for your health.
So if you like eating well and find yourself short of time, ButcherBox is the subscription service for you.
ButcherBox delivers great cuts of top-quality meat straight to your door, and while you’ll pay a convenience fee, just knowing you have a freezer full of healthy options is invaluable for when the workweek gets hectic.