If you’ve seen the ads for online meat delivery services and you’re a mom who also hates grocery shopping…this ButcherBox review might be of interest to you.
I’ve hesitated to write this review for a while because I wanted to make sure Butcher Box was worth it, considering it’s not the cheapest option for buying meat.
(Even though – will tell you how to get the best prices below.)
However, cheapest is not always my biggest goal when it comes to food; my desire to save money has to be balanced with what I feel is really best for our family.
And knowing that being frugal is really about making choices on how to spend your money – and how you don’t spend it – I think I can safely say that home meat delivery services can still be an option for families, especially those who prefer to buy organic whenever possible.
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What Does ButcherBox offer?
ButcherBox is a US company that sources grass-fed/grass-finished organic beef, chicken and heritage pork from companies and farmers hand-picked to meet their standards for high quality meat.
All of the meat is also free of antibiotics and hormones (ever).
They’ve also added premium salmon, lamb and turkey recently.
ButcherBox sources their meat from farms in the US and Canada except for their beef, which comes from Australia. They state they are looking to add US sources currently.
Living in the Midwest, I understand the challenges small farmers face in becoming USDA-certified organic. But I would love it more if I knew the beef was sourced from farms in the good ol’ USA (mainly for the benefit of our farmers here.)
Why We Tried ButcherBox
I used to think ordering frozen meat online was relegated to Omaha Steaks – something you might get as a gift from your mom at Christmas – and that it was something of a luxury.
It still feels like a bit of a luxury – and I’ll admit it is like Christmas when those boxes arrive!
But the main reason I wanted to try ButcherBox was to find a good AND halfway convenient source of organic chicken.
The problem is, that once you try organic chicken it’s hard to go back! At least that has been my experience.
Our local grocery stores don’t offer organic chicken – only beef. I would have to drive an hour away for a specialty butcher that regularly sells organic chicken.
There are a few small smaller stores that work with organic poultry suppliers but it’s pretty hit-and-miss on availability, quantity and cuts available.
I do my grocery shopping about every 10 days (we live 15 minutes from our small rural town) so it’s difficult for me to meal plan for our family of 6 when I don’t know what will be available locally.
I like to stock my deep freezer with meat and not have to think about it too often. Driving to multiple stores in multiple nearby towns is really out of the question for my busy schedule.
I was pleased to find that ButcherBox’s prices on organic chicken are the same or slightly better than what I’ve been able to find in our region (when I can find it).
The Difference in Conventional vs. ButcherBox Organic Chicken
I have always preferred boneless, skinless frozen chicken tenderloins to chicken breasts because they cook quickly and, as the name implies, are more tender and easier to chop up or shred than chicken breasts.
However, the frozen chicken tenderloins from the local grocery store leave a lot to be desired.
The WORST part are the huge white veins in just about every piece (same in the breasts) that you have to cut out, meaning less meat you actually get to use.
What’s actually in those other brands?
From Walmart’s website, their Great Value frozen chicken breast tenderloins contain ” portions of rib meat contain up to 15% solution of water, salt and powdered chicken broth”.
I’ve also noticed that the store brands have multiple layers of frozen ice on their tenders…which makes me wonder how much chicken I’m actually getting and how much frozen water I’m buying.
And what’s in ButcherBox chicken tenderloins? Vacuum-sealed frozen chicken. That’s it!
And the taste? There’s no comparison.
I make homemade chicken strips with our ButcherBox chicken which practically fall apart, they’re so tender.
(Not so with the other brands.) More about that below.
What We’ve Ordered from ButcherBox
I’ve been ordering from ButcherBox over the past year, whenever I can afford it. I’m on about our 8th shipment now.
Here’s the truth: I don’t buy everything organic, non-GMO, all the time.
We live on a modest budget and I want to make sure we stay within it each month. So I usually have to plan carefully for a ButcherBox shipment and buy it when I can.
Therefore, I choose only what I know my family will eat and what is affordable for us.
After trying their beef, pork and chicken, the chicken is still my favorite. I simply L.O.V.E. their chicken tenderloins and have not found anything comparable to it anywhere so far.
(Look ma, no veins!)
The whole chicken from ButcherBox is also amazing, super tender and juicy. I could tell a huge difference between this and any whole chicken I’ve had from the grocery stores.
When the whole chicken is available as an add-on or a special, I will stock up on a few of these for my Easy Oven Roasted Chicken recipe.
The heritage pork is a very close second favorite, specifically the bacon.
Oh my, this bacon.
It’s thick and full of flavor, and again, the taste is just somehow superior to all other bacon-imposters out there.
It comes in a 10-oz package which is a little less than the 12-oz package I usually buy at the store, but it seems to stretch just as far (and in truth, only half of our family members are bacon-eaters.)
Save Money with Butcherbox Member Day Deals and Email Specials
After you order your first box, you’ll get occasional emails with deals that are for members only.
I have snatched up several of these deals in the last year, on bacon, breakfast sausage, apple gouda sausage and hot dogs.
With these deals, you have to add them to your next box’s order before the offer expires or sells out, but you don’t have to ship that order right away.
With the Member Day deals and other specials I’ve been notified of by email, I was able to save substantially on items I might not have tried otherwise.
Read next: 11 Healthy Breakfast Options for Busy Moms
ButcherBox Ground Beef
When I first started my subscription, the “free ground beef for life” deal was added to my subscription.
This means I get 2 pounds of their grass-fed, grass-finished organic ground beef with every shipment.
The ground beef, to be honest, has a little different flavor than I’m used to – not bad, just different. My family doesn’t notice a difference at all though.
I can get the same type of beef in abundance from farms more local to me (which I personally prefer the taste of) so that’s what I normally buy instead.
But hey — free ground beef is never a bad thing especially when it’s premium quality and you can trust there’s nothing scary hiding in it.
Grass-fed ground beef is super lean and I appreciate the fact that I don’t “lose” half of my purchase in a puddle of grease.
You won’t need to drain this beef at all.
Related post: Easy Sweet-and-Tangy Homemade Meatballs
I also tried a chuck roast in my very first box, which was excellent as expected. I would buy it again if it becomes available on a special deal.
How expensive is ButcherBox, really?
If you’ve never bought organic meat before, you will probably have sticker-shock. Otherwise, it’s very comparable to most other organic meats out there.
And as I mentioned, if you check your emails for Member Day deals and other Add-on Specials, you can save substantially with ButcherBox.
Plus, you get free shipping straight to your door (a big bonus for this mom of four.)
ButcherBox Plans: Curated Versus Custom Box
There are several plans to choose from with ButcherBox. The best value for someone wanting to try a variety of ButcherBox meats are the “Curated” boxes.
Butcherbox chooses the items you receive in the Curated Box, totaling anywhere from 8 to 22 pounds of meat depending on whether you choose the Classic or Big box (see the different options here.)
Certain items are available each month as “add-ons” which you can buy a la carte with your box. You can not buy separate items without adding them to a “box” – a.k.a., monthly shipment- which doesn’t have to be monthy at all.
You can, however, choose your next shipment date or cancel at any time.
I actually prefer the Custom box, which includes 9-13 pounds of meat for the Classic or 18-26 pounds for the Big Box. “Custom” means you get to choose what specific meats you want.
What I buy is the Custom Classic box, with 6 packages of chicken breast tenderloins.
This equates to 18 pounds of chicken total (packaged in 1-pound sections with 3 packages bundled together in “one”), and my 2 pounds of ground beef from my original “free beef for life” deal are added to each shipment for free.
How to get the most value from your ButcherBox Subscription
The chicken, ground beef and bacon are by far the best bang for your buck, if you have a medium/large family like ours (2 adults and 4 kids ages 15, 12, 7 and 4).
When I divide up the price of 18 pounds of chicken plus the 2 free pounds of ground beef in my Custom Classic Box, it comes up to $7.45 per pound.
The steaks and roasts and other items are higher priced per-pound and simply aren’t as practical for our family’s budget.
So the chicken tenderloins and bacon (and free ground beef) are normally what we stick with in our ButcherBox package –unless I stock up on the Member Deals and specials.
Think: casseroles, one-pan dinners and more
Shredded chicken, beef and bacon are basically freezer staples I frequently make meals from, and they are easy to stretch out as needed.
I often cook up a few pounds of the chicken in my InstaPot (I have this one) with a little chicken broth on high pressure for about 9 minutes (+ quick release).
It makes it incredibly moist and easy to shred and prep for tacos, casseroles and soups throughout the week.
These 18 pounds lasted us about 4 months the last time I bought them. I can typically use just 1 pound per meal and we eat chicken about once or twice a week (plus leftovers!).
Example of ButcherBox Coupons and Deals
Lately ButcherBox has offered some new “Member Deals” for current customers which are really a great deal.
The breakfast sausage I mentioned was part of a special “Members Day” and I was able to get 5 pounds for $25 (with purchase of my regular box.)
In my next shipment, 10 pounds of bacon were offered for $49, making it $4.90 a per package. I definitely took advantage of that!
(Prices and availability are subject to change at any time, of course.)
After you sign up for your first shipment, you’ll also receive emails with any upcoming deals and specials to watch for.
There are different promotions offered frequently for new customers such as the free meat deal that I mentioned, where you get a certain type and quantity of meat added to your subscription when you sign up.
You might be wondering if there are any negatives to ordering from ButcherBox other than the higher price of organic meat.
I should mention here that my very first order last fall actually got lost in transit!
I contacted ButcherBox when it didn’t arrive and they immediately issued a replacement box and overnighted it to me at no extra charge.
I was pretty happy with the prompt fix, hence the reason why I’ve continued to order from this company.
Some ButcherBox reviews I’ve read mentioned problems with packaging – the seams coming loose due to the frozen food shifting in the shipping process.
I did have this problem with a few individual packages in the first box, but it appears they’ve changed packaging design since then and fixed this issue.
Our ButcherBox Experience – in Summary
If your goal, like mine, is to eat great-tasting, high quality meat free of “junk” and questionable fillers that many grocery store brands contain- ButcherBox may be a great option for you.
Even though I don’t eat organic for every meal, I find that when I do, I feel better and our family is also more likely to clean up those leftovers when the food just tastes better from the start.
Simple food, prepared well: that’s my philosophy for planning family meals.
And let’s be real: you simply can’t beat having quality meat delivered to your home. Fewer grocery trips kids means less pending public fiascos!
Not to mention, stocking your freezer with quality food you’re actually excited to cook – that has to count for something in #MomLife.
*Article originally posted 10/7/19 and last updated 3/6/21