ButcherBox Review

The meat delivery service that lets you skip the butcher counter

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Butcher Box Packaging and products review

Food & Wine/Katie Tuttle

There’s a lot to love about the convenience of having your food shipped directly to you, especially if the thought of driving to the grocery store puts you in a curmudgeonly mood (just me?). Food subscription services can offer a respite from shopping, a more diverse variety of options, and quality products without leaving your home. The meat delivery service is one of the many alternatives that have emerged in the food delivery space.

Let me start by saying I am fortunate to live in a part of the U.S. known for its meat. Butcher shops aren’t hard to find; grocery stores abound. But finding meat from humanely raised animals is more of a challenge. ButcherBox is a name that came up often in my searches for its claims of providing 100% grass-fed and -finished beef, free-range chicken, cage-free pork, and wild-caught seafood. I wanted to see for myself if this company could deliver on quality and animal welfare principles. Here’s what I thought.


Food & Wine/Katie Tuttle

Pros and Cons


  • Large selection of proteins
  • Animals are humanely raised and processed
  • Easy to manage account online


  • Not as easy to locate curated box options
  • No side dishes or seasonings

What Is ButcherBox?

The goal of ButcherBox is to make humanely raised meat more accessible. The company began as a Kickstarter campaign back in 2015. At the time, founder Mike Salguero had very modest hopes of raising $25,000. He raised eight times that amount, signaling that people were more interested in ethical meat consumption than he’d initially dared to hope. Since then, ButcherBox has sent grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, humanely raised pork, and wild-caught seafood nationwide. The company has only grown from there, shipping to 48 states and sourcing its meat worldwide. 

How Does It Work?

When ordering, the first decision you have to make is whether you prefer a custom or a curated box, and what you choose entirely depends on the amount of control you want over what proteins you receive. With a custom box, you can choose from a huge variety of available cuts of meat, while a curated selection lets ButcherBox choose for you. 

ButcherBox currently delivers to every U.S. state except for Hawaii and Alaska. ButcherBox also allows you to choose your delivery frequency; you can opt to have your box delivered every four, six, or eight weeks. You can pause or cancel your account anytime via the web page, which is a nice option if you’re going on vacation or have overestimated your freezer capacity.

I ultimately chose the Curated Classic Mixed Box for value and convenience: I liked the idea of having my proteins chosen for me (I find it forces me to be a little more creative with my weekly dishes). Also, the Classic Box has between nine and 14 pounds of meat, which seemed more than adequate for my two-person household. 


ButcherBox’s pricing is relatively straightforward. Curated options are more affordable, starting at $146 for the Curated Classic Box (containing eight to 11 pounds of meat) and $269 for a Curated Big Box (16 to 22 pounds). If you want to choose your own cuts of meat, the Classic Custom Box costs $169 for nine to 14 pounds of meat, while the Big Custom Box will run you $306 for 18 to 26 pounds.

ButcherBox also has regular sign-up “bonuses”; as I write this article, ButcherBox was advertising a year’s worth of bone-in chicken thighs. Past promotions included items like ground beef and bacon as incentives to join.

Meal Choices

When ordering from ButcherBox, your choices are extensive. The service focuses strictly on meat, so the closest you’ll find to prepared items are breaded chicken strips or hamburger patties; it does not offer items like side dishes or seasonings. But you’ll also find diverse offerings such as wild-caught seafood, ground bison, and Italian sausage. In my curated box, I received the following:

  • 4 pounds of ground beef
  • 3 pounds of chicken breasts,
  • Two rib-eye steaks
  • 2 pounds of pork 
  • 2-pound top sirloin cap

Food & Wine/Katie Tuttle


One thing I appreciated about this service is that ButcherBox keeps you from guessing as to when your meat will arrive (long-held fears of spoiled meat are hard to shake). The company emails you when your order is about to ship, and it arrives about five days later. 

ButcherBox is serious about its packaging being both practical and as environmentally friendly as possible. The box is sturdy cardboard insulated by an additional layer of paper insulation, with no foam packaging to be seen. Inside were two plastic bags filled with dry ice (mostly dissolved by the time I unpacked my delivery); all the meat was still frozen solid. Besides the sealed plastic that covered the meat, the bulk of the materials could go straight into my curbside recycling bin, while the plastic bags containing the dry ice were thrown in the garbage.

The Cooking Process

All ButcherBox meats arrive fully frozen, which is excellent for storage but not as convenient if you’re looking to fire up the grill immediately. I received a good mix of pork, chicken, and beef, individually wrapped in vacuum-sealed plastic. ButcherBox does not include thawing instructions with its packaging, but it’s a pretty basic premise; you’ll want to either thaw the cut you’re going to cook in the refrigerator, or you can use your microwave to speed things up.

If you want to add on items, you have the option to do so before your order processes. You can easily add on a pound of bacon or chicken sausages, but be warned; these will automatically renew with your monthly order, so you’ll either have to remember to remove this from your next order or be sure you’re adding on a staple.


Food & Wine/Katie Tuttle


I could tell the difference in the flavor and texture of my meat from ButcherBox versus what I’d buy in my local market, especially in the steaks and pork cuts. Grass-fed beef has a slightly different flavor and tends to have a somewhat gamier taste than grain-fed, which we personally did not find off-putting. The steaks themselves were very tender and cooked up well. The pork stood out for its rich flavor and color; my husband commented that it actually had more in common with steak than the grocery store pork we’d typically buy. 

Who Should Use ButcherBox?

The fact is, eating meat has a significant impact on the environment. Anyone concerned with where their meat comes from could add ButcherBox to their list of suppliers to consider. With the huge range of customization options, cuts of meat, and box sizes, you could comfortably supply either a single person or a decently sized family. And while ButcherBox may be more expensive than your local grocery store, for my household, the difference worked out to about $30 per month; it seems a small price to pay for knowing the animals that feed you are raised humanely. 

Final Thoughts

I initially ordered ButcherBox because I wanted humanely raised and processed meats, but I also found convenience to be a big factor. ButcherBox offers an impressive selection and a reasonably straightforward ordering process that I found very appealing. If you want a service that delivers sides, seasonings, or a full meal, this service isn’t for you. But if you want to skip the line at the meat counter and have high-quality proteins sent to your doorstep, ButcherBox is an excellent choice. In fact, I ended up becoming a monthly subscriber!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Does ButcherBox Meat Come From?

ButcherBox’s beef is mainly from Australia, where the cattle are assured to be pasture-raised and are both grass-fed and grass-finished (most beef in the U.S. is grain-finished); the company is currently developing more partnerships within the U.S. Hogs are raised in a crate-free environment, and the chickens are free-range; both are sourced from farms within the U.S. and Canada. ButcherBox also features wild-caught seafood that is sustainably harvested from waters that range from the North Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico.

Can You Cancel ButcherBox at Any Time?

In a word, yes, as long as your order has not already been processed. If you’re not ready to cancel altogether (for example, if you’ll be going on vacation), ButcherBox also lets you pause your order as needed.

Is ButcherBox Organic?

“Organic” can be a confusing term and is often used interchangeably with “pasture-raised” and “grass-fed.” However, these things are not the same. For the USDA to consider meat organic, the animal must be raised on certified organic land. The animal must be allowed to graze and be fed organic feed; added hormones or antibiotics are forbidden. Once processed, the meat from the animal must be packaged without artificial additives. So, while ButcherBox’s meat is humanely raised and satisfies many of the animal welfare standards set by the USDA, its meat is not organic.

Can You Send ButcherBox as a Gift?

Yes, ButcherBox allows you to order a one-time box for someone else. The company has a selection dedicated to gift boxes, from a ButcherBox Favorites box that allows them to try a sampling of what the company offers to a Family Favorite box that features items ideal for less adventurous eaters (like chicken nuggets).

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  1. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2011/12/16/organic-101-what-organic-farming-and-processing-doesnt-allow

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