Growing up, I lived in a farm community.
One of our neighbors raised cows for Hood milk (not an affiliate: just a great company that cares about its farmers’ and cows’ quality of life). Every year my family would get incredible cuts of meat from this farm, from just-weaned lamb to great hunks of goose to tenderloin cuts that melted in our mouths. We knew the grass these animals grazed in, the ponds they swam in, and the farmer that took their lives. “Organic” doesn’t begin to cover the access to pasture, sunlight, and space these animals had.
For a short time as an adult, I became a vegetarian, in part because of that experience. I couldn’t stand the thought of eating critters that had to live through America’s factory farms in their short lives just so that I could eat cheap meat. That said, I eventually decided that, in a bid for human life extension, some meat (and animal protein) should be a part of my diet. I focused my choices—and my wallet—on sourcing the best quality meats for my family and me.
The best meat delivery online
Passing on animals raised on a factory farm is the bare minimum. Here are the requirements I have for sourcing the meat that enters my home that I applied to finding the top meat delivery companies:
- No antibiotics
- No added hormones
- Fed a species-appropriate diet (e.g. grass-fed cows)
- Pasture-raised, free-range, or wild-caught
- Ideally certified as humane by a third party, like Animal Welfare Approved
When looking through the best meat delivery online, I applied the same level of quality requirements. All of these distributors ethically source their meat, guarantee on-time delivery, and provide juicy, delicious cuts for health-conscious meat-eaters. They are arranged alphabetically below.
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I’m sure you’ve heard of ButcherBox; between their aggressive advertising and generous affiliate program, they’ve been able to reach just about anyone interested in online meat delivery. The question is: are they worth the hype?
What is ButcherBox?
ButcherBox doesn’t source from a single farm or series of farms. Instead, they build relationships with farmers that adhere to their farming guidelines (that vary by animal protein). Their beef is largely from Australia (and therefore has to adhere to strict Australian animal welfare requirements), their chicken is free-range and meets GAP-3 requirements, their salmon is wild-caught in Alaska, and their pork comes from vegetarian-fed, humanely raised pigs. None of their livestock is fed or injected with hormones or antibiotics.
How does ButcherBox work?
Choose between five boxes that offer a starting amount of 8.5lbs to 11lbs of meat: an all-beef box, a beef and pork box, a beef and chicken box, a mixed box (beef, pork, and chicken), or a custom box that you fill up yourself. ButcherBox also offers one-off gift boxes, which range in variety from “Weekend Grilling Essentials” to “Barbeque in a Box.”
How much does ButcherBox cost?
ButcherBox can range from as low as $119 to $155 for one-offs to $137 to $159 per month with a subscription.
Who is ButcherBox best for?
Spanners who are willing to pay a premium for quality cuts of common grocery store meats.
2. Crowd Cow
Crowd Cow, like many online food delivery companies, has exploded in popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is Crowd Cow?
Crowd Cow partners with sustainable ranchers, farmers, and fisheries to deliver high-quality meats to its American customer base. While it’s best known for its A5 Wagyu, the company also provides access to sought-after portions of American Wagyu, bison, duck, game, and traditional grocery meats like chicken, pork, and lamb. Crowd Cow features every farm that they source from on their website and share individual standards for each meat product that you can order.
How does Crowd Cow work?
Consumers can build their own box or try out a subscription. Members get $100 off their first three boxes and 5% off recurring orders, and membership is free.
How much does Crowd Cow cost?
You can easily spend thousands of dollars on a single box (load up on a few A5 Kagoshima Wagyu prime ribs for $425 a pop) or just hit their minimum order threshold of $50 per order (free shipping kicks in at $150). Want that minimum order to pop? Build it out with Crowd Cow’s premium dog treats.
Who is Crowd Cow best for?
People who are looking for premium beef cuts.
Try Crowd Cow
Unlike the newer brands on this list, D’Artagnan Foods has been around since 1985. Famous for their long-standing commitment to treating their livestock humanely, D’Artagnan’s founder claims, “There is no reason you should be brutal to animals when you don’t have to.”
What is D’Artagnan Foods?
D’Artagnan Foods started as a distributor for foie gras to high-end New York restaurants and steadily grew as both a distributor and manufacturer for small family farms. They now offer a range of products, from field-raised pheasants to wild-caught yellowfin ahi tuna to $1,800 Japanese Wagyu A5 Beef Boneless Striploin. They also order traditional grocery meats.
How does D’Artagnan Foods work?
Think of D’Artagnan as an e-grocery store; just pick what you want and it will get delivered to your home. Unlike other online meat delivery companies, they do not offer a subscription option.
How much does D’Artagnan Foods cost?
Who is D’Artagnan Foods best for?
People who are looking for delicacy meats.
Try D’Artagnan Foods
Ray Rastelli, Jr. started Rastelli’s in 1976 as a New Jersey butcher to service his local community with premium cuts of meat. Since then, Rastelli’s has grown into a meat empire that sources internationally, flash freezes, and exclusively ships to the United States.
What is Rastelli’s?
If you’re looking for premium grocery store meat (beef, poultry, lamb, veal, and pork), Rastelli’s has spent the past 45 years sourcing and distributing meat from pampered animals. The online meat distributor breaks down where each of its meats comes from, from the certified “low-stress” pastures of Australia to the open fields of Eastern Pennsylvania.
How does Rastelli’s work?
Rastelli’s offers both one-off boxes and subscriptions.
How much does Rastelli’s cost?
While there’s no minimum order, Rastelli’s charges $25 for shipping under $100, $10 for shipping under $150, and nothing for orders $200 and over. Check out some of their niche products like Wagyu hotdogs ($49), bacon-wrapped shrimp ($52), and hot Italian turkey sausage ($20).
Who is Rastelli’s best for?
People who like high-quality traditional meats.
Better online meat delivery options?
I looked through a whole bunch of other meat delivery stores, and many of them came close to making this list. Most of them were eliminated for redundancy (some of them even sourcing from the same farms on this list), though others were eliminated for lack of sourcing transparency, mediocre reviews, and uninspiring meat options.
Do you use any of the online meat delivery options I included above? Would you add any to the list?
Let us know in the comments below!
By day, I am a problem solver, writer, and the co-founder of Longevity Advice. I’m best known for writing about technology and have been featured in Forbes, The Hill, and TechRepublic. When the batteries are powered down and the suit comes off, I’m an enthusiastic hiker, runner, and Rocket League competitor and enjoy discussing minimalism, Studio Ghibli, and Icelandic sheepdogs.