I tried Omaha Steaks' new personal butcher service, and it was kind of a game-changer.
I love to cook and eat steak, yet I can rarely find the time to swing by my favorite Very Brooklyn butcher shop, pick a cut, and prepare the steak at home with the care, attention, and devotion it deserves. Even though it's one of the easiest foods to cook, making steak can feel like a big production, one that would be easier to postpone and replace with underwhelming takeout. And yet, when I do take the time to cook high-quality steak, I'm always glad I did. Much like going to the gym or taking a bath as a child, the most rewarding activities can feel excruciating at first and then triumphant once you've done them.
This is all just to say that, last week, I decided to treat myself and a friend to steaks; I wanted to test out Omaha Steaks' new personal butcher service, which lets you call a butcher expert, receive a personal consultation on cut, size, and preparation, and have the meat (and any sides or desserts) delivered to your door on the day of your choosing. The service eliminates one of the worst stages of the steak-making process, which is lugging yourself to your local meat provider and then freezing in front of the billions of cuts, sizes, shapes, and formats inside the glass display—wanting to ask questions, but not wanting to appear stupid or hold up the hip dads behind you.
So, last Tuesday, I called Omaha Steaks' Butcher Services and spoke with J.C. Blomstedt, an Omaha Steaks Account Manager who was easily the nicest person I've spoken to all year. He asked me what I was looking for in a steak, and I said flavorful, tender, and small—one piece for me, and one piece for my friend. How small, he asked, Maybe 6 ounces? he suggested. That sounds perfect, I said. Great choice, he said. We developed a soothing back-and-forth. Do you like rib-eye? he asked. Do I ever, I said.
You probably get the idea. He asked me if I wanted any side dishes with my steaks, and I said, Absolutely. We ended up deciding on the crispy steak-house fries and the Brussels sprouts topped with bacon and onion; both of which arrived at my house frozen and were easily prepared in a pan (though would have been lovely in the oven, too.) J.C. also insisted that I had to try the pumpkin pie. Who was I to say no? At that point J.C. had become my best friend and only true ally.
Everything arrived at my house Friday morning, frozen and neatly packed in a cooler inside a box. Each item came with wildly straight-forward instructions, with different cooking options depending on which appliances you have available, but no item taking more than a few minutes. The pumpkin pie didn't even require an appliance—I just took it out of the box and let it thaw on the counter.
The pie, by the way, was one of the best pre-packaged pies I've had in recent memory (and worth considering for Thanksgiving, as it's one of the cheapest mail-order options at $14.99) And the steaks, as tender as promised, were exactly perfect; I rubbed them liberally in Omaha's chunky, flavorful steak rub (per J.C.'s suggestion) and seared them on super-high heat on my cast-iron pan. I had splurged on the Private Reserve Ribeyes, which start at $22.50 a piece, but could have easily gone for a cheaper cut, like the Private Reserve Ribeye Crown Steaks, which start at $14.38. Of course, you can also find filet mignons, strip steaks, top sirloins, T-bones, flank steaks, tri-tip steaks, prime rib, and skewers—really any genre of beef you're looking for. The $5.99 rub, which features garlic, chili pepper, and onion as its most prominent flavors, is one that I anticipate using several more times in the future.
At the end of the night, I was happy, my friend was happy, and there were zero leftovers. Seriously, the two of us finished an entire pie.
To experience the service, you can call 1-800-984-7455 or fill out an online form and "have a steak expert contact you."