With the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic and its associated stay-at-home orders now a few years in the past, several popular pandemic-era culinary practices have begun to fade. Few Americans are cooking meals at home, for example, and baking sourdough is not the widespread hobby it briefly was.
However, there are some pandemic-era practices which have remained popular. Mail-order meat services are one of these; a survey by Ziffity reported that 30% of all meat eaters purchased most of their meat online during 2023. What was rare in pre-pandemic times is now commonplace.
Steak is one of America's favorite dishes, and many individuals love the opportunity to have brilliant cuts of meat delivered right to their door. But, as with any form of shopping, the quality of mail-order steaks varies from supplier to supplier.
'The customer knows best' is how the old adage goes, and we have taken this to heart. We've ranked 13 different mail-order steaks based on customer reviews and feedback to find the best of the best. After all, if a company's steak has impressed or disappointed hundreds of other Americans, chances are it'll do the same for you.
Omaha Steaks: Butcher's Cut Filet Mignons
A high-quality filet mignon should be extremely tender while remaining relatively lean. The best versions of this cut are known to almost melt in the mouth and definitely do not contain any gristle. Unfortunately, many customers have found the opposite to be true of Omaha Steaks' Butcher's Cut Filet Mignons as one customer highlighted on the Omaha Steaks website: "For the past year I have been very disappointed in the filets. They have had pockets of gristle and very little beefy flavor. I have not ordered any more and [don't] ever intend to."
Several other reviewers have complained about gristles being prevalent in the filets. This comes as a surprise, given that Omaha Steaks claims all steaks are twice trimmed by master butchers. To make matters even worse, customers must buy at least four filet mignons per order. When customers select the 12-ounce steak option, this order costs over $200. That's a lot of steak to be disappointed by.
Many customers also complain that Omaha Steaks does not honor its guarantee regarding product replacement or refunds. Several reviewers have stated that their requests for a refund after receiving unsatisfactory steaks were repeatedly ignored. For this reason, many customers advise against ordering filet mignons or any other meat from Omaha Steaks.
Butcher Box: Ribeye
Another mail-order steak that has received less than stellar reviews is Butcher Box's Ribeye. As with all other Butcher Box beef, this ribeye is only available as part of the brand's subscription service. Butcher Box does not allow one-off purchases; all customers must subscribe to a monthly meat delivery program, which starts at $146 per month.
The beef is butchered from grass-fed cows that have not been treated with hormones or antibiotics. Unfortunately, this does not always translate into high-quality steaks. The quality of Butcher Box's meat has been questioned, with the ribeye in particular coming under fire. One customer aired their opinion on Reddit: "I tried the ribeye and it was grainy and gross. I've burnt ribeye to a crisp from [Whole Foods] and it wasn't as bad as what I got from Butcher Box. I'm assuming they are swapping cuts."
Poor butchery practices have also been reported across another Reddit thread. One individual shared a picture of a steak they'd received, which, despite being erroneously sliced in half and "clearly dropped on asphalt," had still been delivered. This customer, and many others, advise against buying Butcher Box's ribeye, and we'd be inclined to listen to them.
Harry & David: Bourbon-Peppercorn Marinated Steaks
Harry & David is a mail-order gift company that originally specialized in pears. Over the decades, a greater selection of products has been added to the site, including steaks like the Bourbon-Peppercorn Marinated Steaks. Unlike many other steaks featured on this list, this one is marinated and seasoned before it is delivered to the customer. In practice, this should save the customer time and stress; all they have to do is cook the meat on the grill and serve.
However, several customers have not enjoyed the flavor of the marinade, claiming it is too peppery and artificial tasting as the following review, left on the Harry & David website, highlights: "These are pretty small and they taste bad, almost like metallic artificial flavoring nothing close to bourbon peppercorn. Very disappointed and tossed mine out." Others have claimed the marinade made the steaks so salty as to be unenjoyable.
The meat used to make Bourbon-Peppercorn Marinated Steaks is USDA Choice. Several customers have complained that the meat itself is not of great quality and is overly tough, suggesting that the steak lacks marbling. Overall, this makes for a disappointing eating experience.
The Kansas City Steak Company: USDA Prime T-Bone Steaks
T-bone steaks are known as the best of both worlds because they are made up of two cuts: the tenderloin and the strip. Divided by the instantly recognizable T-shaped bone, these steaks are the centerpiece of any meal, given they are of good quality.
The T-bones sold by The Kansas City Steak Company are USDA Prime. Steaks that have been graded as Prime are among the top 2% of beef graded in the United States and should be abundantly marbled. Unfortunately, being graded as Prime does not always ensure that the steak you're receiving is high quality.
Many people who bought The Kansas City Steak Company's T-bone steaks have found this to be true. The following review taken from the Kansas City Steaks website summarizes their frustrations: "Being USDA "Prime" rated I am shocked by the overall lack of quality with all 4 of these steaks [...] If I had wanted this type of experience, I would have purchased from a local grocery store like Kroger at less than quarter of the cost."
The Kansas City Steak Company's butchery and sourcing has also been questioned, with customers frequently complaining about the size of the tenderloin portion of the T-bone. By these accounts, this part of the steak only amounts to one or two mouthfuls, not what you'd expect from a piece of meat that costs around $50.
Fossil Farms: Bison Ribeye Steak
Buying meat online isn't just a convenient way to source your average steak but an opportunity to try less common cuts and meats. Fossil Farms has built itself upon this precedent by selling meat from common game and other, less frequently encountered animals like kangaroos and bison.
One of the brand's most sought-after steaks is the Bison Ribeye. This 10-ounce steak is harvested from pasture-grazed bison that are never treated with antibiotics, steroids, or hormones. In general, bison meat is lean, which can result in steaks becoming tough and dry during cooking.
This is not the case for Fossil Farm's Bison Ribeye. A buyer stated in a review posted on the company's website: "Super tender and lean, not chewy like most times I've tried bison, perfect medium rare dinner. Got 3 and cooked them medium rare, medium, and medium well, and everyone enjoyed theirs."
Some customers have stated that the steaks are on the small side. A few have also noted the higher cost of the meat; one 10-ounce ribeye costs about $21. However, the former is a minor gripe, and the latter is to be expected when ordering a specialty meat like bison.
Pat LaFrieda: Engraved Prime Tomahawk Steak 40oz
Pat LaFreida is one of the biggest names in America's steak industry, having built his empire by focusing on customization. Initially, this was limited to creating unique burger blends for restaurants, including Shake Shack, but LaFrieda has since taken his ethos of customization further, as exemplified by the 40-ounce Engraved Prime Tomahawk Steak.
Tomahawk steaks are often among the most eye-catching steaks around, thanks to the huge curving bone that protrudes from the meat. But Pat LaFrieda's goes one further by allowing customers to have 15 characters of their choice engraved directly onto the bone. This transforms the steak from a potential centerpiece to a unique gift, as one customer stated via a review on the Pat LaFrieda website: "If you know your audience, then these remarkable ribeyes are a fun and tasty way to celebrate employee milestones, demonstrate gratitude to key clients, and share successes with important partners. I wish I could share the reactions we get."
Vitally, the steak does not sacrifice substance for style. The meat comes from Prime Black Angus cattle, and the steak itself is expertly selected. Pat LaFrieda takes care when selecting steaks to avoid unappetizing fatty deposits. Retailing at around $164, the steak does not come cheap. But then again, who expects an engraved, 40-ounce tomahawk to be anything but expensive?
Mr. Steak: USDA Prime New York Strip
Mr. Steak is a family-run business that specializes in classic cuts of beef. These come from cattle that have been raised on some of the best ranches in the United States. One such product is Mr. Steak's USDA Prime New York Strip. As a well-loved cut, the New York strip will always be under scrutiny, but this product passes the test with flying colors. A review posted on the Mr. Steak website highlights: "His NY Strip steak was ridiculously good, best I've had. It seared up perfectly and the inside was tender and succulent."
The steak's flavor is thanks to a 28-day wet-aging process and the beef's USDA Prime pedigree. Customers report that this well-developed flavor enables the Prime New York Strip to stand up to a variety of seasoning rubs, resulting in an eating experience that is similar to those found in many of the country's best steakhouses. Mr. Steak's Prime New York Strip is so enjoyable that almost no customers have complained about the price, which usually stands at about $54 for one 14-ounce New York strip.
Porter Road: Bone-In Ribeye
Buying steaks online gives customers the luxury to shop around until they find a supplier with an ethos that matches their own. Porter Road is a clear choice for those who care about the welfare of the animals they eat; the cattle are raised on pasture and are not treated with antibiotics or hormones.
This alone does not guarantee a high-quality steak. However, Porter Road has built a reputation as a supplier of the finest beef that is not only ethically raised but also expertly processed, trimmed, and delivered.
The ribeye is a widely enjoyed cut, but Porter Road still manages to catch diners off guard with the flavor and intensity of its Bone-in Ribeye. This is largely down to the meat's generous marbling, as one customer explained on the Porter Road website: "So very tasty...just the right amount of marbling to make a great steak, but not too much fat. Better raised animals means better tasting meat. Worth the price!"
All beef steaks at Porter Road are dry-aged. This tenderizes the meat and concentrates its flavors -- another reason why this ribeye stands head and shoulders above many other mail-order steaks.
Allen Brothers: USDA Prime Porterhouse
Allen Brothers was founded in 1893 and has developed a reputation as one of the finest meat suppliers in the entire country. As a heritage brand, many customers turn to Allen Brothers when they are looking to splash out on a centerpiece for a special occasion. In these instances, many customers turn to the company's USDA Prime Porterhouse.
Supplying meats designed for special occasions is always difficult as expectations are high. Thankfully, Allen Brothers' porterhouse rarely falls short, as highlighted in a review left on the Allen Brothers website: "Whenever we are in the mood for an outstanding steak dinner, my wife and I know where to turn. The Allen Brothers Porterhouse and Ribeye steaks are always tender, flavorful, and of the highest quality. Never disappointed!"
Great flavor and texture are the hallmarks of Allen Brothers' USDA Prime Porterhouse, as attested to by a plethora of five-star reviews. The development of both is due to the company's diligently followed wet-aging process.
There is one drawback of Allen Brothers' porterhouse, however, its price. At this size and quality, it is unsurprising that Allen Brothers USDA Prime Porterhouse is expensive; two 24-ounce steaks cost around $149. But, as one happy customer highlighted, you get what you pay for.
Chicago Steak Company: Premium Angus Beef Filet Mignon
Chicago is a city known for its steakhouses. What fewer people know is that it's also home to one of the best meat suppliers in the country, Chicago Steak Company. This supplier carries excellent iterations of classic cuts, including a Premium Angus Beef Filet Mignon.
Thanks to sourcing beef from premium Angus cattle, Chicago Steak Company delivers on the cut's iconic flavor and tender texture. This was highlighted by a review on the Chicago Steak Company website: "The Premium Angus Beef Filets were so tender you could cut them with a spoon. Very flavorful. The Chicago Steak Company always has a wonderful selection."
Next to no fat is visible on the Filet Mignon thanks to highly trained individuals who trim each steak by hand. These specialists handle the product with care, as is expected, given that all the meat they interact with is graded as the upper third of USDA Choice or USDA Prime.
Two 6-ounce Chicago Steak Company filet mignons will usually set customers back about $114. If the reviews are anything to go by, it's money well spent.
Vermont Wagyu: Ribeye
Wagyu is a type of heavily marbled beef that originated from cows in Japan. Vermont Wagyu is one of the top breeders of 100% Japanese Wagyu in the United States. The company takes an incredibly thoughtful approach to raising this rare cattle, adopting low-stress handling practices and allowing each calf-cow coupling to have at least one acre of pasture space to themselves.
Such care results in beef that is of exceptional quality, as exemplified by Vermont Wagyu's excellent ribeye. This steak is extremely tender and flavorful due to the meat's high-fat content.
Some customers — including one who left a review on the Vermont Wagyu website — even contend that this Wagyu is as good as any produced in Japan: "Lived in Japan for [three] years and have been looking for a steak as good as in Japan. Well I have found it at Vermont wagyu. These steaks were amazing and will be buying more in the future."
All but one of the reviews left on the website gave Vermont Wagyu's Ribeye a five-star rating. If that's not a ringing endorsement, we don't know what is.
DeBragga: Japanese Miyazaki Wagyu 12oz Ribeye Steak
Much like American beef, Wagyu is graded on a scale with A5 being the highest. The beef that is graded as A5 is among the most desirable in the world, and DeBragga takes great pride in being able to supply it to Americans. DeBragga even manages to source the meat for its 12-ounce Ribeye Steak from the Miyazaki Prefecture, which is one of the most prestigious Wagyu production areas in Japan.
Unsurprisingly, this steak is routinely celebrated by customers as being among the best they have ever eaten. This is true for both those who have never tasted Wagyu before and those who have eaten it on several occasions. The following review from the DeBragga website highlights this: "I tried A5 wagyu in Kyoto, Tokyo and Osaka before. This one was as perfect as my previous experiences. It is not possible to explain the taste and smell of a A5 wagyu. Unbelievably tender and flavorful. You should try this ribeye and see what I mean."
DeBragga's Japanese Miyazaki Wagyu 12-ounce Ribeye Steak is incredibly expensive, retailing at around $145. However, the product has been rated 48 times, and every single one is a five-star score.
Snake River Farms: Wagyu Filet Mignon Steak
Snake River Farms is a supplier that's leading the trend in American Wagyu. This is beef made by interbreeding Japanese Wagyu cattle with traditional American cattle. The result is a heavily marbled, hybrid meat. Many people claim it boasts a unique flavor profile that balances the flavors of traditional American cattle breeds with the decadent fat content of Japanese Wagyu. In other words, it's the best of both.
The company's foremost example of American Wagyu is the Snake River Farms Gold Label Wagyu Filet Mignon Steak. This steak carries an almost unprecedented level of marbling, scoring between nine and 12 on the Beef Marbling Score. For comparison, USDA Prime usually receives a score of five.
The flavor and texture imparted by this fat are not wasted on customers. Over 1,600 people have given this steak a five-star rating. While specifics vary, the views of many customers were summarized in one review posted to the Snake River Farms website: "The wagyu gold filet mignon was the best steak I've ever had! Better than steaks I've had in a number of steakhouses. Tender and great flavor."
Read the original article on Daily Meal.