Have you ever mentioned something to your significant other, just thinking that they might want to consider it, and then before you know it they’ve already ordered it? That was sort of our experience with Butcher Box. I should have known that anything to do with beef would immediately get my husband’s attention. If you’re a vegetarian, I’m sorry — obviously it won’t be of interest to you.
Why not buy local?
I enjoy beef, but I could easily live without ever eating it again. My husband, on the other hand, often quips that a veggie meal would be great . . . if it had some meat in it.
If he’s going to eat beef, I want to make sure that what we’re eating has been humanely raised (as much as that is possible) and as healthy as possible — which is why I prefer grass fed beef. Cows are meant to feed on grass, not corn (no matter that they sure are tasty when corn fed).
Over the years we have tried a variety of local sources for grass fed beef. At farmer’s markets. Occasionally even going to farms. Some of it was tasty and some of it really wasn’t. All of it is very expensive.
I always figure that you can pay more $$ for good food, or you can pay more $$ to your doctors. Granted, you can get sick no matter what you eat, but you have a better chance of staying healthy if you eat a healthy diet — just like cows are healthier when they eat the diet they were born to!
According to the Butcher Box Website:
We guarantee that ButcherBox Beef is 100% grass-fed and grass-finished.
That means our cattle are free to range on grassy pastures throughout their entire lives, suckling from their mothers for the first 6 to 9 months, then eating their natural diet of grass. Thanks to the climate, they graze year-round, with access to shelter when needed. They are never fed grain or kept in feedlots. Besides being delicious, the health benefits of eating grass-fed, grass-finished meat are abundant.
All the meat we tried from Butcher Box was good. Most of it was really good. The only cut I thought was just so-so was the sirloin tips.
So what’s in the box?
It varies every month. You can create your won custom box (which would probably be my preference, but that does cost more: $149 — it does include slightly more than the curated boxes, though.).
You can choose any one of four different “curated” boxes for $129 (Classic Size; the Big Box contains more and costs more), and you get what you get:
- The mixed box
- The Beef & Chicken Box
- The Beef & Pork Box
- The All Beef Box
Mr. Judy chose an all beef box for our first box, which we received in March. We also got a deal that added 2 lbs of ground beef to all our boxes — although so far all our boxes have included 2 lbs of ground beef, so we’ve received 4 pounds of ground beef in both boxes. Our May box included:
- 2 Filet Mignons
- 2 Flat Iron Steaks (each one is 4ish small servings)
- 2 Sirloin Tips (each one is 4ish small servings)
- 4 lbs Ground Beef
The boxes are available in 2 different sizes, Classic (approximately 8-11 lbs of meat) and Big Box (approximately 16-22 lbs of meat).
We have our subscription set up for every 3 months, so we have already received our second box. This time we chose the Beef & Chicken Box. It included:
- Chicken Thighs (with skin & bones)
- One Whole Chicken
- 2 Flat Iron Steaks
- 2 Rib Eye Steaks (each 2 small servings — and very thin)
- 4 lbs Ground Beef
The whole chicken is still in the freezer, but I made the chicken thighs which were tasty. We grilled one of the rib eyes for the Fourth. They were very good, but — very thin. Which makes them difficult to cook, since think steaks cook fast (Mr. Judy did a good job).
It is interesting to note that our first box came very quickly, but for some reason the second box took almost a week after it got billed. I am not sure if the first box is just sent quickly because it’s your first, or if there was just some glitch with the second box. Everything was also still frozen in the second box, which we received in June (so much warmer).
The Add Ons/Monthly Specials
There are three (at this time) add ons you can choose: add ons are additional items that will be added to your box each month (although you can change that in your account):
- Wild Alaskan Salmon
- 2 lbs of Ground Beef (two one lb packages)
We chose ground beef as our add on for our first box.
Monthly specials are exactly what they sound like: items that are not included with the box that can be added; they do not get added into future boxes automatically (as the add ons do). The monthly specials change, well, monthly.
In addition to the Subscription boxes, there are limited addition gift boxes.
The Box Itself
I was very impressed with the packaging. No styrofoam. All the meat, which is vacuum packed individually by cut, comes in a cardboard box. There is another cardboard box with dry ice in it. Aside from the vacuum packing for the meat, it’s all recyclable.
The dry ice in our box hadn’t melted at all and all the contents were still frozen. I just happened to be at home when it was delivered, but I’m quite sure it would have stayed frozen for many hours. Keep in mind, of course, that we got our first box in March and it was still probably cold enough to keep it frozen even without the dry ice!
There is a nutrition label on every cut. Shipping is free. Or as Mr. Judy likes to say, included at no additional cost.
How the Subscriptions Work
Butcherbox is a subscription service, which means that the boxes will come at an interval you set up, although you can change that interval and you can also suspend your subscription for up to six months. From the Website:
ButcherBox is a monthly or bi-monthly subscription service. You can pause for up to 6 months or cancel at any time before your next order is billed. No hidden fees or penalties. You can also easily change your box type and your box frequency prior to billing.
One thing that bothered me is that you can’t see much information about the whole service without creating an account. I personally like to know more before I hand my email over to someone but Mr. Judy had no qualms (mmmmm, beef!).
Navigating the Website
The Website looks well done, but it’s not as user friendly as it could be. You can get information about the boxes, the pricing, the subscriptions, what was in last month’s boxes, recipes, and how meat is sourced without creating an account. If you want to know exactly what is available, you’ll have to create an account.
There is a Help Center, which is extensive, but you have to go scroll to the bottom of the Web page to access it (it really should be a link at the top!).
A nice touch is that when you log into the Website, there’s a banner on top that reminds you how long before your next billing date. You will also receive several emails reminding you that your billing date is coming up. You can change your box, the size, what’s in it (if you chose a custom box), and so forth as long as you do it before your billing date. Afterwards you cannot make changes.
We have not tried to cancel our subscription (we’re happy with the service) so I can’t speak to whether or not that is difficult, although it’s not supposed to be. If you want to Pause your subscription, it’s a small link at the bottom of your account page. I’d like to see this be a button at the top of the page, where the change your box options are, rather than buried at the bottom of the page in a small link.
But how does it taste?
We both liked all of the meat, with the exception of the Sirloin Tips. They weren’t bad, but they just weren’t as tender as the rest of the cuts. That may just be the way we prepared it, but we have a second package of them to experiment on. In fact, despite getting a second box since I started writing this post, we still have the second sirloin tips in the freezer!
But what about the cost?
Generally we only make beef about once a week — I’ve even been trying to get that to every other week (with minimal success) recently. Most of the beef I buy is at Trader Joes, which carries grass fed beef — from New Zealand, though, which means it has a large carbon footprint (although beef can be from Australia with Butcher box, too) — and it isn’t always available, either.
The bottom line is I believe that it costs us about the same through Butcher Box as it did buying it via Trader Joes, Whole Foods, or Farmers’ Markets.
Aside from the Sirloin Tips, all the meat was very tender, not too fatty, and tasted really good. The chicken also tasted good. I do wish that there had been some skinless option for the chicken, even though I am not afraid of (and do eat) chicken skin. I like the relatively eco friendly packaging.
I also like that most of the meat is US meat. Most of the chicken is from the US or Canada. The pricing isn’t outrageous for quality meat. I am not an ambassador or in any way affiliated with Butcher Box, just a happy customer. Mostly, it just plain tastes good. Butcher Box gets 2 thumbs up from me and Mr. Judy.
Does Butcherbox sound good to you? If you’re interested in trying out, I’d appreciate it if you used my referral link here.
Do you have any food-type subscription boxes?
Have you tried Butcher Box?
Do you think you’d like to try it after my review?