Remember back in March when you could find ZERO ground beef in any stores?
It was pretty clear that people were stocking up for the taco/spaghetti diet! 🙂
And…I was uncharacteristically completely out of grass-fed ground beef!
I had a touch of food insecurity.
I felt so much more relieved (and taco-secure) once I made my ButcherBox order, which I usually do every 3 months to supplement what I can’t find at our favorite local farm.
Grass-Fed, Pastured, Sustainable Meat
ButcherBox has amazingly high standards for sustainability and care of the animals, and especially what they eat.
They only offer humanely raised 100% grass-fed (and grass-finished!) beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage breed pork, and wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, all free of antibiotics and added hormones.
ButcherBox Grass-Fed Beef
ButcherBox’s beef is raised in Australia to ensure 100% grass all year round. The grasses there are tall, which means the animals have enough fiber in their diet, and the temperate climate means that there’s no need to take the cows off pasture for a moment of their lives.
Australia has very strict cleanliness standards and really knows how to grow and transport quality meat. One Aussie reader told me they’re absolutely spoiled in her country with incredible beef.
Here in America, the “grass-fed” standards have been a moving target the last decade or so, and there have often been loopholes where farms can’t access pasture during the winter. FSIS standards currently allow for haylage, baleage, silage to count as grass, and those options may include leaves of corn plants and other grains (before the grains are evident).
You’ll get to hear even more about how this beef is raised (and if you can taste the difference) in some future posts!
BB chickens get to run around the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and West Virginia, stress-free so they’re more juicy and flavorful.
In 2019 ButcherBox joined Applegate, Panera, and more as the first e-commerce company to commit to further improving the humane treatment of their birds by 2024 in alignment with ASPCA’s broiler chicken welfare policy.
ButcherBox Heritage Breed Pork
Heritage breed pork means that the hogs are the old-fashioned kind that grow slowly and are imbued with marbling and amazing flavor.
I can attest to this as we’ve recently been eating BB’s pork roasts, and although most pulled pork I have really needs barbecue sauce or smoked flavor, this pork is absolutely succulent with just salt, pepper, and garlic powder, slow-cooked all day.
Their pigs enjoy bedding in open barns, outdoor access, and an all-vegetarian diet of forage and feed.
ButcherBox Ordering Options
ButcherBox is a subscription service, which always has its pros and cons.
I love a subscription sometimes because I can set it and forget it. The company will remind me when I’m low on something, instead of me having to figure out where I got the food and how to replace it.
Some people get nervous about subscriptions because they don’t want to get too much of something. But I will say that ButcherBox is incredibly flexible. You can set your subscription as frequently as every month or as seldom as every six months. It’s easy to cancel anytime without penalty.
Once you decide you’re ready to poke into the subscription, here’s how it works.
You Always Choose What Kind of Meat
No matter what other choices you make at ButcherBox, you can decide whether you get all beef, beef, and pork, beef and chicken, all three, or all three plus seafood. You can always change your order from delivery to delivery.
They Can Choose Your Cuts
ButcherBox offers a sort of “grab bag” box, where you get about 8 to 11 pounds of meat and the cuts are always a surprise. This would be a great choice for a cook who likes a little adventure or someone who’s trying to learn to use new cuts of meat. That’s also a good choice for someone who doesn’t want to make choices. 😉
Or You Can Choose Your Cuts
Personally, I prefer control over adventure. I always create a custom box, where I can choose everything I’m getting. All the boxes come in a smaller and a larger size.
For my family, I go with the large size, but we wait a few months between orders.
Recurring Add-Ons & Member Deals
Recurring add-ons are one of the best ways to save money with ButcherBox.
Once you choose an add-on, it’s added to every single box you get. The add-on options change, but typically you will see something like the following image.
You can see that boneless skinless chicken breast comes in at $8 a pound. Bacon is at $7 for 10 ounces or over $11 a pound, a little pricey in my book, and ground beef is $7.50 per pound, while ground pork is only $5.50 per pound. Both of those prices are fairly competitive for what I can find in my area.
Before your box ships, you’ll always have a few days to make changes and can add or remove these add-ons.
Member deals change monthly and range from pre-cooked meat for those quick dinner nights to something as simple as 2 pounds of ground turkey for $7/lb.
I often see emails come in sharing a limited time member deal, and what I LOVE about BB’s deals is that you don’t have to freak out about FOMO and grab them before they expire and perhaps get a box when your freezer isn’t ready.
The member deals are added to your next box, WHENEVER that is, and you can always review and change your mind before it ships if you add some impulse meat rashly.
Many women buy impulse shoes or earrings, me? Meat. Farmer’s market raspberries. It’s a problem. 😉
Just look at this freezer barely closing!
How the Meat Delivery Subscription Works
As I mentioned, ButcherBox’s subscription is so much more flexible than a set-in-stone monthly box. You choose your frequency.
It’s easy to skip a delivery entirely. Or just pause your entire subscription for a while. We did this when we were traveling last summer and had been eating down our freezer to do some remodeling when we would have no electricity. And it was a very painless process.
I just sent a quick email got a confirmation from a real person (a pleasant customer service representative), and started back up once we got home.
How delivery works:
Every box is shipped to your door in recyclable insulated packaging and dry ice, and I’ve never had a problem with anything being partially thawed before I opened it.
I’m proud to have watched ButcherBox improve their sustainability over the years, from a Styrofoam cooler to this new innovative packaging that goes right into the paper/cardboard recycling.
You can even get money back for referring a friend, so keep that in mind if you have crunchy natural families in your circle!
Where to Find High Quality Meat
Having trouble finding good quality meat locally? Would you like to fill your freezer with local and pastured options?
If you’re in Canada, check out TruLocal.ca.
If you’re in the US Midwest, Chicago to Milwaukee to Detroit to New York, and select cities across the country, check out TruLocalUsa.
If you’re west of the Mississippi, check out Wild Pastures.
If you live in any of the 48 contiguous states, click here to find out what Butcher Box’s new member deal is!
I’m grateful that there’s an online source of incredibly high quality meat that I can always count on. A subscription from Butcher Box includes grassfed, organic, pastured, and free range = all the labels important to your family’s health!
(free shipping too!)
How to Order ButcherBox Meat on a Budget
If you’ve never subscribed to ButcherBox, or subscribed and canceled in the past, definitely wait for a great new member offer. These rotate frequently, but there’s usually some way to get some savings on your first order of a new subscription.
I choose to create a custom box so I can choose my cuts, 12 of them for $270 shipped (that’s the big box; you choose 6 cuts in the smaller box for $149).
There are savvy and less savvy ways to order up your custom box though, so let’s talk about those…
The pic is my last order, and you can see I’ve made some wise choices and some foolish (financially) because I really wanted something specific this month.
The box comes out to $22.50 per cut of meat, and some are 3 pounds ($7.50/pound) but others are 2 pounds ($11.25/lb!! Eek!), and steaks and chops are even smaller sizes.
Although everyone loves ground beef, if you include it in your custom box, you’ll be paying $11.25/lb. Far better to grab ground beef as an add-on for $7/lb!
These are the kinds of choices you need to be intentional about when building your custom box. Let’s look at what you actually “pay” when you choose each cut.
I’ll put them in order from my perceived best deal to the worst deal in each meat category, and we can discuss what a “deal” looks like to you!
If you go with the classic box at $149 total, each cut choice costs you $24.83, so adjust prices below accordingly.
Beef Custom Box Options:
- Bottom of the round roast: $10/pound
- We don’t usually buy steak, but if a special occasion is coming up, it’s nice to know we can have the option and not compromise on quality.
- Flat iron steaks, Top sirloin steaks, Tri-tip, or Sirloin cap: $15/lb.
- NY strip steaks or Ribeyes: $18/lb.
- Chuck roast: $10/lb. I put this one below some of the steaks because although those prices seem high, they’re all lower than my local farm, while I can get a chuck roast for less. Know your price points!
- Ranch steaks or Steak tips: $22.50/lb.
- Filet mignon (2-6oz. steaks): $30/lb.
- Stew beef: $11.25/lb. Usually stew beef is an economical cut, so I would look for this elsewhere or watch for a special!
- Ground beef: $11.25/lb Go with the $7/lb add-on!
- Burgers: $11.32/lb. Better to make your own burgers with the add-on IMO.
All prices as of October 2020.
Chicken Custom Big Box Options:
- Drumsticks: $4.50/lb. Sometimes these go on a GREAT member deal, so watch for that!
- Boneless skinless chicken breast: $7.50/lb. Still more than I pay at Costco but certainly raised better.
- Whole chicken: $6.42/lb. This is a little pricey but comparable to a really well-raised chicken locally. Be sure to make a triple batch of broth with those bones to stretch every penny!
- Boneless skinless thighs: $7.50/lb. Value starts to go down because this is the same price as breasts, but thighs usually sell in the store for less per pound.
- Bone-in thighs: $7.50/lb. And since the bones take up some weight, bone-in is a worse value because it’s the same price. Bummer, because usually, bone-in is a budget saver! I still get these regularly though, because I can’t even find organic bone-in thighs anywhere, and Nom Nom Paleo’s cracklin’ chicken gets my whole family drooling. I always save the bones for broth!
Note: This screenshot was taken in October 2020, when the country was still having some supply chain issues. Often there are more chicken options.
Pork Custom Big Box Options:
- Bone-in pork butt: only $4.09/lb.! This is the best deal in the whole box – I weighed the bone recently and it was only half a pound, and the liquid that came out of the roast in my slow cooker weighed 1.4 pounds. My roast was actually a whopping 6.5 pounds to start with, so I got around 4 1/2 pounds of meat, and boy, was it moist and delicious. Easiest meal and leftovers ever!
- Boneless pork butt: $6.42/lb. Unless you need to slice up this roast (but why?) just go with the bone-in!
- Center cut pork loin roast: Just over $6/lb. This is a higher quality roast than the butt, which is really only good for shredded meat. If you want something to roast, then slice, for a special occasion, or you like pork loin chops, get this cut. You can slice your own pork loin chops, very economical compared to buying chops.
- Pork sirloin roasts: $11.25/lb.
- Boneless pork chops: $11.25/lb. Go with the add-on for this cut as it’s only $7/lb!
- Pork tenderloin: $25.70/lb Whoops – I’m a little embarrassed that I’ve added this cut to my box before, but at least it made an absolutely delicious Christmas dinner! Watch for tenderloin to show up in the member deals if it’s a cut you love.
- Ground pork: $11.25/lb. My general price point is under $7/lb., and the add-on right now is only $5.50 so that’s a no-brainer.
- Breakfast sausage: $22.50/lb. Definitely not worth doubling the price of an already poor value just to have BB add the seasonings. Buy ground pork and make your own homemade sausage.
- Bacon: $36/lb = yikes! Everyone loves bacon, but don’t let the 10-ounce package fool you into putting it in your custom box! Get the add-on even though that’s a bit pricey at $11.20/lb. Watch for member deals and stock up!
Seafood Custom Big Box Options
- Wild Alaskan sockeye salmon: $11.25/lb. This sounds pricey BUT it’s usually $25/2lbs at ButcherBox as an add-on, and finding comparable sustainability costs much more in a grocery store, so I feel smart in prioritizing salmon in my box, especially right now to get Vitamin Dand omega-3s. I can get Alaskan caught salmon from Aldi for about $7/lb. and often do, but the deep red color in this salmon (and flavor) really shows off the quality. I want to say that sockeye at Costco is closer to $30/lb!
- Cod: $11.25/lb. I don’t even buy cod but did add a few pounds to our last order just so we have some variety in our seafood.
I’ve seen other options here too, from scallops to lobster tails, so variety can vary pending supply.
While some cuts are terrible to add to the box, like ground beef and bacon, they’re a deal as an add-on OR the member deals can’t be beaten.
Not long ago I was able to add 10 lbs. ground beef to my order for $4.99/lb (unheard of for this quality!!! 100% grass-fed!!) and drumsticks for only $2/lb, along with bacon for 3 packages for $10!
I see I also got that pork tenderloin for only $7.50…which is why I said above that the member deals are the BEST way to save money at ButcherBox, but you have to have a subscription to get the deals!
Since you can add the deals to your box without worrying about them expiring, I’d recommend that if you’re really on a budget, get a big box every 6 months and watch your emails for those deals so you don’t miss the chance to add them.
To clarify, the deals DO expire, especially the best ones, but as long as you click “add to box” during the timeframe, you don’t pay or get a box shipped until your regular subscription, at which time you can always remove the deals if you were overzealous.
How to Start Your ButcherBox Subscription
Start here, and then…
That’s how easy it is to customize your own healthy meat delivery order!
Other Sustainable Meat Ordering Options (by Location)
ButcherBox isn’t the only sustainable, pasture-raised meat delivery service out there. There are a few others that are a bit more targeted by location for now.
Here are a few other options that take great pains to source well:
- TruLocal ships to most of Canada and also 10 states in the US. They have a similar “Build Your Own Box” style to ButcherBox.
- Wild Pastures delivers within a 2-day radius of Denver and Phoenix, which is a pretty large area.
- Farms That Are Delivering looks like a great resource to find individual farms that will deliver to your area.
Bottom Line: Is ButcherBox Worth the Money in 2020?
In this crazy uncertain world we live in, prioritizing our family’s health is our best line of defense against just about everything.
It’s important to me personally to have a well-stocked freezer and pantry. And I know how to use less meat so that I can spend more on well-sourced, well-fed meat.
If you can buy from a local farmer with whom you can have a conversation about growing standards, that’s always the best bet. But you can’t always get all the cuts or all the kinds of meat you want. ButcherBox is a trustworthy source. And although you can end up spending too much, if you follow my strategies it’s definitely a budget-friendly option.
Plus, it’s wonderful for busy families to have food delivered right to their door. Enjoy your next box from field to freezer.
Need some recipes to use your meat? We’ve got you covered:
- Whole chicken in the Instant Pot
- Garlic maple chicken
- Instant Pot turmeric chicken
- Bone broth
- Instant Pot apple bourbon pork chops
- Cheeseburger soup
- Frozen ground beef in the Instant Pot
- Homemade hamburger helper
- Classic herb marinade
- Pepper steak
- Beef burgundy
- Spicy fish seasoning