Meat Subscription Boxes: Our Review Of Popular Steaks, Chicken, Shrimp, Lobster + More For Delivery

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grilled lobster tails and steak photos side by side
Photo credit: Rachael Ray Show

Grilling season is upon us—and meat subscription boxes are becoming super popular, meaning there are more companies than ever to choose from. Getting meat and seafood delivered is not only convenient (and means less time spent at the grocery store or butcher during the pandemic), but the companies claim to bring you higher quality, fresh-to-frozen options directly from farms. We tried a bunch of different meat subscription boxes, and we're breaking down our favorites. (FYI, we received sample boxes for free to test.) 

Here's what we thought of each one's shipping and packaging, quality for the price (some of the companies offer fancier kinds of meat and seafood, so we factored that in and included a price range using a dollar sign meter), flavor and freshness, plus info on how we prepared them, in case it helps inspire you. 

1. Crowd Cow

Reviewer: We had Julian Jones—our Managing Editor's brother, who is a meat and grilling aficionado by night and whiskey distiller by day—test out a few meat subscription boxes, and this was one of his favorites.

Price Range: $$-$$$

In addition to a wide variety of wild-caught seafood, pasture-raised steaks, chicken and pork, Crowd Cow also offers higher-end Japanese Wagyu options, although we didn't try them this time around.

What Did We Try?

We were sent The Care Package ($109), and the Wild Maine Lobster Surf & Turf ($65). Everything was prepared over royal oak charcoal unless otherwise noted. 

Here's what's included in The Care Package:

  • 1 New York Strip Steak
  • 1 Bone-in Ribeye Steak
  • 1 Filet Mignon
  • 1 Grass-Finished Ground Beef
  • 1 Pasture-Raised Chicken Drumsticks
  • 1 Heritage Thick-Cut Bacon
  • 1 Jumbo Wild Blue Mexican Shrimp

*Note that The Care Package is currently sold out online in many zip codes (although you can join the waitlist), so we've included links and prices for the individually sold cuts of meat and seafood options below. Crowd Cow offers other, similar bundles that are currently in stock for many zip codes, like the Grill Master ($137), The Everyday Flex ($70), and the Lean Protein Pack ($110). Because Crowd Cow uses customers' zip codes to find the closest farms to you, product availability may vary depending on where you live.

Here's what's included in the Wild Maine Lobster Surf & Turf:

  • 2 Filet Mignon
  • 1 Wild Maine Lobster Tail Pair

What Did We Think?

"The highlight of the pack" was the Mexican shrimp, but all of the meat was "great quality," according to our reviewer.

Shipping & Packaging

Crowd Cow Packaging
Rachael Ray Show

"Solid packaging. Everything came frozen hard without issue."

Quality For The Price

New York Strip Steak ($16 for 8oz) and Bone-In Ribeye Steak ($28 for 16oz): "Great quality. Think local craft butcher. Tender and juicy. Great umami flavor."

Wild Maine Lobster Tail Pair ($26 for 8oz): "These were delicious. Prepared over charcoal. About as good as any frozen seafood I've had. As good as us unfortunately landlocked cooks can access." (He lives in Indiana, where access to higher-end options can sometimes be limited.)

Lobster Tails
Rachael Ray Show

Bone-In Pork Chops ($13 for 1 lb): "Thick, great consistency and tenderness. Definitely recommend smoking these to get the best flavor."

Fair Trade Jumbo Wild Blue Mexican Shrimp ($15 for 1 lb): "Incredible. Prepared over open charcoal, they were tender, delicious and tasted super-fresh even though they came frozen. The highlight of the pack."

Shrimp on grill
Rachael Ray Show

Pasture Raised Premium Ground Beef ($8 for 1 lb pack): "Great ground beef. Same quality as a craft butcher."

Heritage Thick-Cut Bacon ($9 for 8oz): "Delicious. Hard to mess up bacon. High quality stuff."

2. Holy Grail

Reviewer: This one was tested by Julian (see above) and this was another of his favorites.

Price Range: $$$$

Holy Grail is all about the fancy stuff, like Japanese, American and Australian Wagyu steaks and Kurobuta pork, so their prices are understandably higher.

What Did We Try?

We were sent a selection of their best-sellers: Wagyu New York strip steak, Wagyu ribeye, burgers, filet mignon and Kurobuta pork chops to try. Everything was prepared over Royal Oak charcoal unless otherwise noted.

What Did We Think?

All of the meat was "next level," but the Wagyu ribeye was "the best steak [our reviewer has] ever had." 

Shipping & Packaging

Holy Grail Packaging
Rachael Ray Show
Holy Grail Individual Packaging
Rachael Ray Show

"Well packed and over-insulated. Everything came very, very, very cold."

Quality For The Price

Akaushi American Wagyu New York Strip Steak ($59 for ~16oz): "Wow. This steak was one of the best I’ve ever had. The marbling, cut, and flavor were next level. It was insanely tender—a true indulgence which I'd splurge on again and again. This is certainly a steak I'd recommend with just a small amount of salt and pepper. The meat will do all the talking and then some."
*Prepared oven to propane grill

Wagyu Strip Steak
Rachael Ray Show
Wagyu Strip Steak
Rachael Ray Show

Akaushi American Wagyu Ribeye ($59 for ~16oz): "The best steak I've ever had and that's not hyperbole. Wow. The marbling and umami flavor you get from this cut is something to behold. I never wanted it to end. I won't hesitate to order this steak in the future—you should do the same, and then send us and the fine people at Holy Grail a thank you note. Again just a little salt and pepper rest will do you. This is a steak you want to taste, not the rub."
*Prepared oven to propane grill 

Packaged Wagyu Ribeye
Rachael Ray Show

Wagyu Burgers ($18 for 2 x 8oz patties): "These were fantastic. Some of the best frozen burgers I've had in my life and it's not close."

Upper Prime Black Angus Filet Mignon ($59 for ~8oz): "This happens to be my fiancé’s favorite cut and my oh my was she impressed. Melt in your mouth tenderness and that amazing lean beef flavor you can only get from a filet. Do yourself a favor and order one. Or many."

Kurobuta Pork Bone-In Loin Chop ($17 for ~12oz): "Great chops. Tender, juicy and amazing pork flavor. Choose your favorite chop recipe and let the meat speak for itself—a cut above all (pun intended)."

3. Rastelli's

Reviewer: Our Managing Editor, Nicole, was the tester for this brand.

Price Range: $$

What Did We Try?

We wanted to give some of their holiday options a try so we asked them to send their Oven-Ready Beef Tenderloin Roast and Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp, as well as their Faroe Island Salmon Filets, which are sustainably raised in free-flowing pens in the North Atlantic Ocean.

What Did We Think?

"Overall, I was very impressed with the quality - it definitely rivaled meat and seafood I've purchased at higher-end grocery stores like Whole Foods."

Shipping & Packaging

Rastelli's
Rachael Ray Show

"Everything was packed well and was still solidly frozen when we opened the box, despite the unpacked box sitting in our kitchen for almost a full day. Oops - we have a toddler and are really busy! Real life…"

Quality For The Price

Oven-Ready Beef Tenderloin Roast ($65 for 1 x 2 lbs. roast): "I like my beef cooked rare to medium rare so was frustrated with myself when I accidentally overcooked it roasting in the oven - I mentioned toddler, right?! I was honestly shocked when it was still tender and delicious even though it was well done. My husband enjoyed it so much! The price per pound is comparable to pre-seasoned beef tenderloin roasts I have purchased from NYC-based direct-to-consumer grocery company FreshDirect and the quality was also on par."

Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp ($52 for 3 x 16oz packs): "These shrimp were huge!! Wow. They baked up really tender, like an appetizer you'd get in a nice restaurant - I would absolutely purchase for holidays I want to impress but don't have much time to prep. There were also a lot of them included in the package."

Faroe Island Salmon Filets ($30 for 4 x 6oz filets): "Bright orange, beautiful color. Really nice, mild flavor and silky, flakey texture after roasting in the oven. Again, comparable in price and quality with salmon I've purchased from higher-end grocers in the past."

4. Butcher Box

Butcher Box Classic Curated Box

Butcher Box Classic Curated Box

STARTS AT $129

Reviewer: Our senior social media producer, Matthew, was the tester for this brand.

Price Range: $$

What Did We Try?

Our senior social media producer, Matthew, tried the Classic Curated Mixed Box (with a free turkey!). You can read his full review here, and we've included the highlights below as well.

What Did We Think?

"The sirloin cap steak seemed well cut and left a nice fat cap on, which I appreciated. The coloring of the meat all looks great — even though it's frozen. The ground beef in particular looks really good," Matthew notes.

Shipping & Packaging

butcherbox turkey
Rachael Ray Show

"Everything came in this cool insulated cardboard box. It's all recyclable. No styrofoam coolers here. Easy to break down. All the meat comes frozen and pre-packed in useful sizes. Chicken breasts in 1-2 breasts a package. Ground beef in 1-lb packages. Same for steaks and pork chops."

Quality For The Price

butcherbox
Rachael Ray Show

"Quality seems good! I've made steak fajitas and grilled the chicken breast and I think the sizes were perfectly average (I mean that in a good way) and I have received quite a few compliments on each."

"I'd say that it seemed like a good amount for a small family. It's a lot for me just cooking for myself, but I got three steak cuts, four large pork chops, four chicken breasts and two one-pound packages of grass-fed ground beef."

"Having all this just delivered and not having to go to the grocery store or specialty meat market for it was really nice, especially during the pandemic." Not to mention he lives in NYC and everything in the Classic box fit nicely into his (TINY) freezer!

"I wouldn't say that I've noticed it being better than other higher-quality meats I've purchased," Matthew says, "but certainly not any less."

"It's tough for me to gauge [freshness] because it's all frozen," he continues. "I always feel like you lose some of the 'freshness' no matter how good the quality is when you freeze/thaw something. But I will say that the sirloin cap steak seemed well cut and left a nice fat cap on, which I appreciated. The coloring of the meat all looks great — even though it's frozen. The ground beef in particular looks really good." The steak was less marbleized than some supermarket steaks, Matthew notes, but that is probably because grass-fed meat tends to be leaner.

Prices & deals listed are subject to change by retailers and may be subject to availability + restrictions. Please review each site's shipping policies carefully before placing your order, as we cannot guarantee delivery by Valentine's Day.

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