Grass-Fed Meat Online: Butcherbox vs. Thrive | Life and DIY (2023)

My Butcherbox Experience

I’ve recently spent some money ordering grass-fed meat online. The most popular one which is promoted quite a lot on youtube is Butcherbox and I ordered from them recently. I will share a brief overview of my experience ordering from them, in addition to ordering from Thrive Market.

If interested in Butcherbox you can check them out here. The experiences were quite different and I want to share it all with you guys. Before I get into it, I want to share a little about why I’m doing this. I’m currently living in a really remote area and I don’t have a lot of options for real 100% grass-fed meat. Some stores sell grass-fed ground beef. But, in case you didn’t know this – if it does not say 100% grass-fed and grass-finished, it’s likely a waste of money. They can give it one corn husk and say their cows are “grass-fed” based on that alone (not grass-finished but fed). That is ridiculous as a corn husk isn’t even grass! I don’t think it is! Come on! Personally, I can totally taste the difference between something that has been fully grass-fed versus the regular store meat that eats grains. There are many reasons I am trying to eat higher quality meat. I try to avoid things that have been fed monsanto-corn because the feed they have not only impacts their health & hormones but our own. I also do not like factory farming and the mistreatment of the animals and it becomes really difficult because it’s hard to feed a larger (or even small) family with all organic or pure grass-fed meat. It is hard because it’s both pricey and complicated because at times you don’t know what you’re truly getting. So, I’ve been on a mission the past six months to cook with higher-quality meat for my son and myself. My son is a big meat eater too. At the very least, I am trying to improve the quality of the majority of the meat we eat. We are not perfect and still have store meat as well. I just want to have the majority of our food coming from better sources. The interesting thing is that I do have a local processing center where I can buy meat that is humanely treated, free-range and is grass-fed (though not 100% – depends on the animal) but I’ve had some issues with their products being extremely over-priced (sometimes more expensive than the online stuff) and having some issues with some of it being spoiled. Also, the selection they offer is minuscule compared to the online options. So, my plan is to buy certain items locally and the other items from online. I’ll explain that later!

People who I follow online have recommended Butcherbox to their followers and that is how I first learned of it.

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So, here is the quick run-down on my experience with Butcherbox. I chose a custom-style box. When trying to order online, I had a lot of issues with their website not functioning smoothly. I received all these emails that told me I would get free bacon for life or some other free meat item but when I signed up it really didn’t work. It seemed to choose an item for me, though I was trying to pick bacon. Then, I placed an order but it then kicked me off the site and said I didn’t have an account though I did. I had to go back and forth with customer service to fix things. It was really weird. Even now if I were to log back in, it would reactivate my account if I want to look at my past order so I can’t do that. One thing I do not like about Butcherbox is that when you are signing up, you are basically agreeing to buy meat monthly from them. You can always deactivate and cancel your account after your order (as long as you do it within a certain time frame before you get charged again). But, after I placed my first order and was excited to get the items, I then did some more research on the company (after the fact). I ended up reading just endless negative reviews about people having their accounts re-activated and re-charged without their consent and without them doing so. I got pretty concerned with that because I really just wanted to place a one-time order and see how things were before getting involved in any monthly payment plan. So, I got a little paranoid after reading such rough reviews. I placed my order like I said, but then I deactivated my account (and took a screenshot of it) and contacted customer service to be sure they really deactivated it. Anyway, above is my a receipt of sorts from my purchase – there are always coupon codes out there & be sure to use one if you purchase from them. With the custom box, you get six cuts of meat of varying weights and sizes. With a non-custom box, the total cost will be a bit cheaper. I also got free Italian Sausage (2 packages) and some free ground beef (2 pounds) – which both are greatly appreciated. When the order arrives, it is packaged in an insulated medium-sized box and it contains dry ice. When mine arrived, the dry ice was mostly gone or melted but the food was still frozen thankfully.

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So, the main issue I had was with some of the meat I received, as well as this being a bit too pricey based on the amounts you get. I will share the positives first. When ordering, you can order multiples of items and I did that with the whole chickens. I did that because the local processing center charges absurd amounts for chicken and it would save me money to buy it this way. I could break the chicken down if I wanted to (though I’m not too good at doing that) or just cook the whole thing up while making chicken broth and chicken noodle soup – which is what I normally use it for. So, here is the positive – the whole chicken that I purchased two of, was incredible. It had such a depth of flavor and was just delicious. There is no comparison between regular yucky store chicken and wild organic chicken. Very impressed with their chicken and other chicken I’ve purchased that was organic. The Italian sausage was something I initially didn’t care for so much – it was very plain. But, I cooked it in a different way on a separate occasion where I boiled and baked them like we do with brats in Wisconsin and they were quite good. They were so fresh tasting compared to the store brats or sausages because this had pure ingredients, less salt and no MSG or nitrates. The ground beef from them (to me, in my humble opinion) did not taste like 100% grass-fed meat. It does say it is 100% grass-fed and grass-finished, so I hope it is. It normally has a sweet type of taste (which I honestly am not a fan of) and this did not – it tasted like store meat. But, who knows. My issue was with a roast I got from them. I put the roast in the slow cooker on low for many hours and it was inedible. For the high cost, I expect better meat. It was just globs and globs of fat and we got a few tablespoons of edible meat out of it. I ended up putting it in the fridge overnight as I didn’t know what to do with it at the time and holy moly. You know how you can put a homemade soup of sorts in the fridge overnight and the fat settles to the top? It’s fine, normal and expected. With the roast meat, there were 2-3 full inches of fat, no liquid hardly at all. Just 2-3 inches of white saturated fat. I could not comprehend how there could be so much fat. That was unskimmable and inedible – it could not be salvaged unless I wanted to use it as beef tallow or lard of some kind! So that was a total waste. I should have probably contacted the company about it at the time but I forgot to and that is my fault. The other pieces of meat I got from them are not very memorable to me but I do recall getting grass fed steak tips (2 lbs) and also two strip loin steaks which were 10 ounces each and two NY strip steaks. I’m sorry I don’t have an image of all the items I ordered. The other items I mentioned were ok, a bit small, a bit fatty and not outstanding in my opinion. The whole thing was extremely expensive, and after having so many concerns about the account, to me it just hasn’t been worth it to use their services. I did get a lot of advertisements in the actual mail from them urging me to re-sign up and reactivate my account. They offered a lot of freebies if I were to sign back up. So, I logged back in just so I could take a look at the offer and immediately my account said I was going to be charged the next day (I did not reactivate my services – just logged in). And, that was about it for me. I was annoyed and had to contact customer service again to be sure I was not going to be charged. I think if the website didn’t have so many technical issues, I would feel a lot better about the company. If I had never read so many endless negative reviews, I also might have been feeling less apprehensive with the whole situation. But, with all of this said, I hope I don’t offend people who have had very positive and worthwhile experiences with Butcherbox. Personally, there is something better out there in my opinion.

My Thrive Market Experience

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For those who do not know what Thrive Market is, it is basically an online marketplace where you can buy high-quality food as well nutritional supplements and some home items at discounted prices. If you sign up with Thrive Market, you get 25% off your first order – or if you prefer this deal here, you can get $20 off your first Thrive order. <- This link is an affiliate link. As of now I am not an affiliate with many companies but I signed up to be one with Thrive because I love their company and products. I really appreciate the care they put into the entire sales process, their products and customer service. For people with special dietary needs like myself (I am gluten and dairy free due to health issues) they have a great variety of products, many of which are lower in cost than at local stores. Also, they sell items to accommodate others with different food allergies or needs as well as vegan items and tons of organic items. The one thing that is important to mention here (please do not run away when I say this) but Thrive Market is a membership-based store. There are over 600,000+ members and you can try the service for free for 30 days (I highly recommend it) and after that it is $5 a month or $59.95 a year. I would pay for this any day and any time. It is totally worth it. But, there is one other thing to note as this may apply to some of you reading. For every account that is paid for, money is set aside to pay for someone else to get an account at no cost to them.

The company wants to give back to others in the community and help those who want to eat healthy but may not be able to afford the membership cost. For low-income families, current students, teachers, veterans and first responders – the membership fee will be waived. Just look up the Thrive Gives membership and you will be able to sign up.

I am a veteran and I was planning on doing the free 30 days and then paying the membership cost and I noticed this program so I clicked the button. It had me signed up and logged in within a matter of minutes. I greatly, greatly appreciate that they would offer this Thrive Gives membership to me and others who serve in the community or who have served. Sorry for that long-winded piece of information, but it’s important to understand how Thrive Market works if you are thinking of ordering. I just want to share a quick note about my experience in ordering regular items from Thrive Market (items other than meat). I wanted to point out that they are very different in the way they care for the items that are being shipped to you. They take great care to use extremely high-quality packing materials and pack things so beautifully that you will take notice of it. It sounds so weird but you can tell that they care about quality. If you ever have any issue at all whatsoever – from the smallest question to an order issue, they have extremely great customer service and will accommodate whatever you need. Also, one last thing I like about the company is that whenever you buy a product, (for many, not all the items) they will pay you to review it honestly after your purchase. They pay $1 per review for these items and that in itself has saved me a lot of money on orders. Also take note that you can use coupon codes when ordering with Thrive Market and it really helps you to save more money too. If signed up for their e-mails, they will send you deals almost daily. They often give away free full-sized items (sometimes several in one order) with orders and I’ve also received some incredible items this way and saved money – just check your email for the deals or click on the deals link from the homepage to see them for that day.

So, from what I’ve read, Thrive Market began offering a selection of meat & seafood for sale as of 2018. They are extremely transparent and open with what kind of meat it is and exactly where it’s coming from, farming practices and the location of origin. I really appreciate having these important details because I want high-quality meat and seafood. So, one thing Thrive Market has that Butcherbox does not, is that it also sells ethically sourced seafood (update – Dec. 2019 – Butcherbox began selling salmon).

This is something that I don’t really trust buying locally from my tiny store near here. So, to have the option to get high quality seafood is a wonderful thing. I ordered from Thrive Market just a couple of weeks ago so I took photos of the items (sorry I did not do the same with Butcherbox). This is my receipt from my order with Thrive Market. Overall, the cost for these items was a bit cheaper. And, although you need a membership to shop on Thrive Market, I like that I don’t need some meat-related membership to order this (like Butcherbox).

I really love how they offer a huge variety of options from curated to custom-created meat boxes. I decided to go with this one called: Build Your Own Meat & Seafood Box. It allowed me to choose from a variety of items and this is what I chose. It arrived in a really nice box, fully insulated with a lot of dry ice that was not melted. The packaging was wonderful. So far, my son and I ate half of the cod and it was just delicious. The package of cod included 4 large, long pieces. The package of salmon also came with 4 large, long pieces as well. The cod was simply baked and it was so full of flavor – it actually tasted buttery to me. It was amazing considering I can’t have butter and there was none of that on it. We have not eaten the salmon yet.

We have eaten the baby back racks. And, this is the main item I would not recommend adding to the meat box. This is just my personal opinion but the racks of ribs were extremely small and there were two of them. Though the meat really was tasty, it wasn’t enough meat for me or my son. I wish I had chosen something else. Besides that, I absolutely love their whole 8-piece cut-up chicken and I think it’s one of the best and most economical choices. You can make many multiple meals by using parts of the chicken and they make it really easy for you by having already cut it up (I know I am not good at breaking down chickens). Though I could have made many things with it, I just a few days ago threw it all in the stock pot and made chicken soup (broth and later gluten free noodles were added). This was another one of those insanely incredibly life-alteringly delicious things. It was so amazing. And, many are into anti-aging and taking collagen supplements. Well, I refrained from my normal collagen powder while eating this. I left my soup in the fridge overnight and the next day it was extremely gelled – so much gelatin in it. Don’t let that freak you out if you’ve never seen it before. When heated up, it just melts away pretty much. I think it’s incredibly healthy and I wish I had another whole cut up chicken right now as I would make it again today. I also got such a massive amount of meat off of this – so much so that I froze some of it. If I had to choose which one was better (Thrive vs. Butcherbox whole chicken) I would choose Thrive’s because it was pre-cut up for me, which made my life easier. Also, I would choose it because it was just a bit tastier – just absolutely incredible with the depth of flavor and the extreme amount of collagen. It made the whole purchase worth it as it was so good.

A couple of days ago I made the pork chops. They were extremely thick pork chops at over an 1 1/2- 2 inches thick, but were also quite small in size lengthwise. I ended up making them both for my son (he ate them on separate days) and he loved them. But, they could have been more generous with the pork chops and size. This was barely enough for two people, to be honest. I think there are certain items where they really give you a whole lot for the purchase price and others that you might find aren’t large enough to be worth adding to your box. The fish was 100% worth it as I can have multiple meals from them as my son and I eat one per meal. The chicken, like I mentioned, was more worth it than anything as I know how costly it is to buy locally and they really help you out by precutting up the whole chicken. Options are endless with that one.

Overall, I prefer my Thrive purchase and I absolutely love the variety. If you just have two people at home, then this could be a great option. If you have more than two people and can fit this into your financial situation to purchase meat from here, I really recommend it. For my son and I, it really is great that we can pull a couple pieces of fish out and eat that. Then, save the rest in the freezer for when we are craving it again. Overall, I would avoid the ribs (though they were delicious – just small) but I would definitely buy more whole cut-up chickens. Like I said, there are so many ways you can make multiple meals from it. I will be purchasing more probably monthly as needed. I’ve been trying to have a good monthly food budget and I just make adjustments to it after including the purchase of meat from Thrive. Though I prefer Thrive, I think both companies, if possible, should lower their prices as much as they can. From what I’ve seen, Thrive has lower prices now for the most part but it depends on exactly what you purchase. It seems, when looking over my photos, I can see that the amount of meat I got based on what I spent, is just not that much. It really is pricey no matter how you cut it. On a positive note, there are a lot of cuts of meat and types of meat that they sell online that are not available in most stores. So, I really appreciate everything that is offered online. If you can get organic or 100% grass-fed and grass-finished meat from a local store, and it’s cheaper and you trust it – I would definitely do that. Then, if you are just seeking safe and ethically sourced seafood for example, I once again recommend Thrive. I recommend Thrive for anyone who wants high-quality, ethically sourced meat that is organic or 100% grass-fed and grass-finished. I really trust the company and I really like what I purchased. I would recommend more specific cuts of meat that are economical, from Thrive, but I need to order more first in order to do so. For example, buying boneless chicken breasts is always going to be pricier than with the bone-in or pricier than a whole cut-up chicken. So, one other purchase I should not have really made was adding the boneless chicken breasts to this order. It provided me with two chicken breasts. It would have been way smarter for me to just add another whole cut-up chicken.

Besides that, in the near future if this post gets a decent number of views, I will be sure to take images and inventory of everything purchased – so you can see every item listed out (and images before and after cooking it) and if it’s worth the purchase or not (in my opinion). I will be making another purchase very soon. I will keep you guys posted on all of it.

Grass-Fed Meat Online: Butcherbox vs. Thrive | Life and DIY (8)


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