While apple pie gets all the good press as being the patron food of the United States, the truth is that steak is what comes to mind when you think of a really pleasurable piece of Americana. Steak is one of the greatest pleasures, but with the demand for beef growing all the time, getting a good steak is more and more difficult. If you don’t live near a premium butcher, you’re stuck taking whatever fatty, sloppy castoff cuts the grocery store feels like putting out. Unless you go the mail order route.
Ordering meat through the mail means you’re going to pay for it sight unseen. You could easily lose money this way and get an inferior piece of beef that is tainted with disease. To save your dollars and cents, as well as rescue your palette from horrific cuts of gristle and fat, we did the gustatory research to find the 16 best companies for mail order steaks of any size and shape.
Heisenberg: DeBragga isn’t the steak dealer where you get your basic gamy New York Strip. They’re the top dog of the organization. Formerly a supplier strictly for steak-houses, they now will send out the same meat you’d get from a 5-star restaurant right to your home. Just choose and be satisfied. [Image courtesy of TheStandardBlog]
Old Hat: Lobel’s caters to the most refined tastes, offering only USDA high prime cuts, veal, Wagyu beef, lamb, and pork. Each steak is dry aged for 4-6 weeks to allow flavors to truly explode. This is a can’t miss company that stands behind everything they send out.
American West Beef
Sizable Donation: Not only can you find several steaks through American West that you won’t find anywhere else, they tend to be a little more generous with their sizes. You’ll be able to get a unique cut that’s marinated for ages that is also built for a bull-sized appetite.
Pick & Choose: A wonderful, full-service meat supplier, Omaha has more than just incredible grain-fed steaks. Lobster, bison, even wine and dessert are all offered via the postman. They’ll even help you choose which wine will pair with your filet mignon. Short of wiping your chin, they do it all.
Sustainable Food: D’Artagnan respects free range meat grown on sustainable farms; which is why it is all they use. For as good as their beef selection is – and it’s nothing shy of legendary – the quail, duck, and the truffles are what really caught our eye (and tongue). The Kobe beef is just this side of a religious experience.
TV Stars: The Food Network Show Meat Men is about the LaFrieda family. The steaks are a mixture of traditional cuts and a rotation of newer pieces sure to entice your palette. Even if you don’t dig the steak, try their custom burger blends; they’re incredible and allow you to choose what goes into the grinder.
Simple Pleasures: Flannery is a small San Francisco operation that’s been operating since 1968. They don’t do much more than Wagyu and Prime beef along with some lamb, but they do those things with such professionalism – using only their favorite slabs – that it’s worth going back again and again.
Start to Finish: Niman Ranch prepares their steaks while it’s still on the hoof. With a hands-on approach to raising their cattle, they only choose cuts that they would put on their own plates, giving you steaks that show the care that went into raising and breeding the cows as much as butchering and caring for the meat.
Snake River Farms
Clearing the Bar: While others brag about having Prime Wagyu beef, Snake River Farms carries Gold level, which is a step above prime. All their items come from cattle raised in the Pacific Northwest and each steak is marbled like a Greek column standing in the nation’s capital.
Total Transparency: Creekstone doesn’t specialize in steaks, but you’d never know it to bite into any of their offerings. They don’t have specialties, since at any given time their inventory changes, but through their Beef 101 information, in which they explain more than you ever wanted to know about meat quality, you can always find something worthy of your grill.
Eco-Warriors: The Market itself works hand in glove with local farms to bring you completely organic, naturally-grown, sustainable food whether it’s grass-fed prime rib or thick, organic salmon. They’ll tell you where everything came from, and what went into your dinner (hint: It’s usually nothing.)
Strange Tastes: The standard Fossile Farms steak comes from grass-fed cows and is more than enough to put a smile on your face, but the real story is the variety. Kangaroo steak, alligator, and just about anything that’s legal to kill is on their menu. If you like exotic, Fossil is for you.
Heritage Foods USA
The Whole Package: Even if you have a butcher shop you like, Heritage stocks something that will beat them; whether it’s their lamb, their turkey, or their glorious bison. Where they really shine is with an unusual meat: goat. Using kids birthed to make their mothers produce milk, Heritage has found a flavor that’s well worth smoking up for a vacation from the ordinary.
Professional Grade: Even through mail, you’re still going to be getting consumer grade steak with most companies, which is slightly less than most restaurants. With the Allen Brothers of Chicago, you’re going to get true gourmet cuts of prime rib, Wagyu, and tenderloin, among others; dry aged and delectable.
Rookie: Relatively new on the scene, Butcher Box has nonetheless made a name for itself as one of the heavy hitters in the mail order meat industry. It’s a subscription service that has won awards for not only the provided flesh, but also for easy navigation and ordering. Their system is simple and elegant, dropping a set of beautiful items on your doorstep each month, no re-ordering required.
Underdog: Socially and environmentally conscious, KutBox works with small, family-owned farms around the United States to come up with some of the most remarkable meats we’ve ever tasted. Before being bought and slaughtered, each animal passes a real veterinary inspection that must state the animal was healthy for its whole life. If not, KutBox doesn’t touch it.