Where to Buy Meat Online
Some of us are blessed to live in areas where we have lots of options for buying the perfect cut of meat at the local butcher and it can be hard to remember that not everyone has that benefit. If you've ever watched our videos or read our blogs and thought, "Wow, that looks great. If only I could buy that cut...", you might want to take a look at ordering meat online. These days, there are a ton of companies online that will deliver your favorite cuts of meat right to your door. We thought it would be a good idea to answer some of the questions we hear about ordering meat online.
Is it Safe to Buy Meat Online?
The biggest concern you probably have about ordering meat online is whether your order will arrive at your home in safe condition. Years ago, this was one of the biggest problems with studies by Rutgers and the University of Tennessee finding that about half of meat ordered online in 2014 was delivered above the safe temperature for storage. Things have improved today as online sellers have come to understand their risk in selling meat that isn't properly stored during shipping.
One thing you should do before even looking at what types of meat a company sells online is to examine their shipping policies. A reputable online meat seller will clearly explain how their products are packaged and shipped, and they'll also make it easy for you to give feedback on products that don't arrive in good condition. Less reputable companies will not be forthcoming with this information.
How Meat Should be Shipped
When you order meat online, the seller should package the meat in accordance with guidelines set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to USDA, mail-order meat should be kept below 40 degrees F at all times. This is to prevent the growth of bacteria that can cause serious illnesses.
A good seller will package their products in a reusable cooler packed with dry ice or gel packs to keep the meat below the threshold temperature. Overnight shipping should be the standard, as anything longer significantly increases the risk of temperature increases. Look for sellers that ship in refrigerated trucks and guarantee a delivery date.
How to Know Your Meat is Safe
The first thing you should do when you get your online order is to open the packaging and inspect the meat. Everything should be cold to the touch, but for true safety, you'll want to use a thermometer. Make sure the surface temp of your meat is at or below 40 degrees. While this doesn't guarantee that the order was maintained at the correct temp while shipping, it is a sign that your meat should be safe.
Next, open anything that is questionable and use your senses. Meat that is shipped in vacuum sealed packaging may have a funky smell at first – often called bag funk. This is a result of oxygen-deprivation and should dissipate in a few minutes. If the meat smells sour or feels slimy, don't eat it. Contact the seller immediately to report an issue.
A good online seller understands that sometimes things go awry. They would rather you have a good meal than get sick, so they will do whatever it takes to make sure you order is safe to eat. But if you're buying from a company that doesn't back it's products, you should plan on having some sick-leave available.
The Best Places to Order Meat Online
There are more than 500 companies that sell meat online these days. It can be a challenge to sort through to find who has the best quality and prices. There are some giants in the industry that you probably have heard of, but some of our favorites include , Sakura Farms, and Greensbury. These are companies we have worked with that make a serious dedication to food safety and high-quality meat, poultry, and seafood. They offer fast shipping, excellent options, and will do whatever is necessary to ensure you have the best experience. E3 offers some of the best wet-aged beef you'll find anywhere. Sakura is the go-to for American Wagyu beef. Greensbury is one of our favorite places to get fresh bison online.
What to Look For When Ordering Online
One of the tough things about ordering meat online is that you don't get an opportunity to inspect the cut before purchase. Since you won't be able to see how the meat was cut, the percentage of fat and marbling, or any other aspects, you should look for some signs the company is selling high-quality meat. The best beef is going to be from cows that are pasture-raised and are antibiotic and hormone free. This helps to ensure high quality. Look for USDA-certification labels – this process helps make sure you get high quality products.
What Kinds of Meat are Available
Different sellers have unique offerings. Most of the companies you'll find sell grass fed beef, pasture raised beef and pork, free range chicken, and sustainably raised or harvested seafood. Adventurous eaters will also find a wide selection of wild boar, lamb, and other top notch but rare proteins. Online ordering is the best way to try something new that you can't buy in your local grocery store.
Get the High-Quality Meat You Really Want
Whether you are in New York or Los Angeles or any point in between, you have an unprecedented ability to get high-quality meat these days. You can save money through many companies by setting up a subscription box package to have regular deliveries right to your door. This is an excellent way to get good deals on great cuts of beef. This is a great way to get all the non-GMO strip steaks, pork chops, filet mignon, and humanely raised, antibiotic free chicken you want without relying on your local grocery store.
The most important thing to keep in mind when you shop for meat delivery services online is to make sure the company backs up it's packaging and shipping policies. Nothing is worse than ordering a box of meat only to find it is rancid and the seller doesn't care. A company that cares about how the products arrive will also care about the quality of the products they sell and you'll have a much better online ordering experience.
The Bearded Butchers are dedicated to providing as much information as we possibly can to help you understand how to best process and prepare meats of all kinds. To help you, we maintain a blog and Youtube channel with lots of free, high-quality information. The Bearded Butchers and Beardedbutchers.com are also a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products we love. This means that The Bearded Butchers may receive a commission if you click on a link above and make a purchase using one of our codes.