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The best meat delivery and subscription boxes tried and tested

Published: May 6, 2022 at 10:04 am
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On the hunt for good quality meat that gets delivered straight to your door? Look no further. We have rounded up some of the best meat delivery and subscription boxes available nationwide.

We are living in the age of convenience, so we're always on the lookout for ways to make food shopping easier. How much simpler can shopping for high-quality meat get than a delivery box straight to your door? Cut out the middleman and add freshness – by buying your meat directly from a supplier you not only get the cuts you want with the quality you desire, but you can also save time and keep the meat from lingering around from supplier to shop to home.

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We have selected a variety of meat boxes to choose from – from those designed to fill the freezer for when BBQ season comes, to ones perfect for feeding a family. We have tested meat boxes from the likes of organic farms such as Abel & Cole to high-end suppliers including HG Walter, with all meat boxes coming straight from farm to table.

We have plenty of recipes for some inspiration of how to use up the selection in your meat boxes. Browse our meat recipe collection, or beef recipes like feijoada (black bean & meat stew) or our rich braised beef for slow cooker meals. We also have plenty of sausage recipes the whole family will love, and chicken recipes such as our diced chicken recipes. Some meat boxes also come with unusual cuts of meat, so check out our guide on the 6 new cuts of meat to try and how to cook them.

For more on subscriptions, visit our reviews section to find 400+ review round-ups, including the best recipe boxesginbeercheese and coffee deliveries.

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Best meat boxes at a glance

  • Best meat box for classic cuts: Riverford, from £19.85
  • Best healthy meat box: MuscleFood, from £30
  • Best meat box for a small family: Abel & Cole, from £16
  • Best meat box for freezing: Farmison & Co, from £20
  • Best sustainable meat box : The Ethical Butcher, from £55
  • Best meat box for interesting cuts: HG Walter, from £27
  • Best meat box for a barbecue: The Ginger Pig, from £47

Best meat boxes to buy in 2022

Riverford essentials meat box

Best for classic cuts

mince, sausages and chicken on parchment paper with sprigs of rosemary

Riverford may be best known for its organic fruit and veg, all grown on its own farms, but this organic principle extends to meat, too. Meat comes from its organic butchery in Devon, sourced from West Country farmers and chosen from traditional breeds for the best flavour.

Our small essentials box included just three items: a two-pack of chicken breast fillets, 450g of beef mince and 6 pork sausages (400g). You can’t customise the box, but there’s a wide range of individual meat items to choose from on the Riverford website that you could add to your order. For £1 more, you could choose the Butcher's Choice box instead, which contains a 500g beef roasting joint, 300g of beef mince and two-pack of chicken legs.

The three items are familiar staples, but we still appreciated the cooking suggestions on each one with ideas on how to use them (such as meatballs, burgers, ragus, chillies or pies for the beef mince) which would be useful if you subscribed to this box regularly and were beginning to run out of inspiration. We chose to freeze the meat and the packaging has clear freezing instructions. Everything froze and defrosted well: after defrosting overnight in the fridge, our sausages cooked perfectly in the oven without bursting, were golden and crisp on the outside and juicy inside. A simple banger perfect for sausages and mash, and nicely herby to work well in a full English breakfast. The chicken breasts were a much more generous size than supermarket basics and were great for for a chicken pie, while the beef mince was tender and flavourful.

You can choose to get the box just as a one-off, or once every week, two, three or four weeks. Riverford delivers on specific days based on postcode in order to keep food miles down and follow the most efficient delivery route – our day was a Wednesday and this could not be changed. You can leave delivery instructions if you will be out. If you are going to be away, you can pause and cancel selected deliveries without cancelling the full subscription.

Compared to buying meat in a supermarket, this is a more expensive way to purchase three staple items. However, the quality of the meat is high and reflects the premium cost of organic produce, and encourages you to think of meat as more of a treat. Meat boxes can often be large quantities, so this compact version is great for couples.

Available from Riverford, from £19.85

MuscleFood build your own box

Best healthy meat box

  • Available from MuscleFood (£30)
cuts of meat on a plain white background

MuscleFood is a delivery service which aims to bring convenient, high-quality, lean protein right to your door. Along with its range of fresh ingredients, it also offers lunch pots and tailored meal plans to make it easy for you to prep healthy meals and meet your nutritional goals.

MuscleFood offers a range of boxes, starting at £30 to feed two people for a week and going up to £100 to feed a family or stock up the freezer. The frequency of delivery is up to you, and you can choose what you get depending on the meals you’re planning to make. So, whether you’ve been craving healthy burgers, homemade bolognese or spicy jerk chicken, it has got you covered.

We tried the £50 box and were surprised to find so much inside. It was filled with lunch pots (whole meals in one, such as Thai chicken and rice or a sausage, beans and potato pot), lean steaks, burgers, beef mince, chicken, tuna and sausages – more than enough for two. At first we were overwhelmed by the amount of protein, especially as some had short use-by dates. However, we planned every meal for the week (and stuck anything freezable in the freezer) and eating it all soon became a manageable task.

Our favourites? The chicken was juicy and flavoursome, the lunch pot healthy yet filling and the peri peri steak hache was a delicious surprise. When served with salad, all provided a nutritious meal. However, we did feel the tuna, sausages and beef steaks were simply supermarket quality and lacked flavour. And we couldn’t help but notice how much plastic had been used for packaging.

Overall, the biggest pro of MuscleFood is how easy it makes eating a healthy, high-protein diet. For anyone looking to do so, this box could be for them.

Available from MuscleFood, from £30

Abel & Cole Marvellous meat box

Best meat box for a small family

  • Available from Abel and Cole (£17.50)
sausages, bacon and mince with a wood background

Abel & Cole offers organic British meat boxes as part of its growing range of extras that can be delivered with its weekly organic fruit and vegetable boxes. Organic farming has always been front and centre for Abel & Cole, so when it comes to its meat boxes, it is championing free-range, 100% organic, high-welfare or sustainably wild food. We tried the Marvellous meat box but there is also a Seasonal meat box, Quick ’n’ Simple meat box, and several meat options paired with sustainable fish.

The Marvellous meat box we received included three items: 400g of diced chicken leg from a farm in Devon, 400g of minced beef from Daylesford, and two Abel & Cole farmed pork escalopes, together weighing 320g. Although the meat didn’t come with recipe suggestions, the Abel & Cole website has some brilliant recipes, which are promoted from the purchase page. Using the chicken leg we made sticky lemon and sesame chicken with steamed pak choi and rice; with the beef, a bolognese sauce with a cup of split red lentils for the freezer; and breadcrumbed the pork to make schnitzels. Both the chicken and beef cooked well, not releasing too much water, and tasting flavourful. The pork had more fat than expected but, cooked another way, it could have melted.

You can’t choose the delivery day as your box will be delivered when the vans are in the area (in order to be minimise the environmental impact of deliveries), which will be the same day every week. Apart from that, subscribing is flexible – you can buy boxes as a one-off or at intervals of up to eight weeks. Leave out the cardboard box and any other packaging the night before and it will be collected when the next box is delivered. There’s a flat-rate delivery charge of £1.99.

The meat products arrived in a cardboard box, with ice packs surrounding the meat, which itself was wrapped with Woolcool – insulation packaging made from British sheep wool. The unconventional packaging worked well as the meat was still cold when we unpacked the box. We returned the cardboard box, defrosted ice packs and Woolcool to the driver the following week.

The price for the Marvellous meat box was £17.50, which is fairly priced when the high quality farming methods are factored in.

Available from Abel & Cole, from £17.50

Farmison & Co Eat Better Meat™ Essentials Box

Best meatbox for freezing

  • Available from Farmison & Co (£36.50)
whole chicken and different cuts of meat on white marble background

This award-winning online butcher is based in the Yorkshire Dales, working with smallholding farmers that rear heritage breeds to create meat with more marbling and flavour. Cuts in the Essentials box change every four weeks, but include the likes of heritage breed minced lamb, bavette steak and pork belly steak, as well as smoked back bacon, sausage and a half chicken. All meat is freezable and each box comes with a couple of recipes, plus there are links provided in the confirmation email with step-by-step cooking instructions tailored to each cut.

There are various subscription options depending on household size and needs. The Essentials box includes enough meat for 10 meals for two, while the Large Essentials feeds two for 15 meals, and the family box contains enough meat for 10 meals for a family of four. You can buy as a one-off, or get a subscription delivered every week, fortnight or four weeks. Packaging is recyclable and easy to box down so not too bulky in your kitchen.

The high quality of the meat and variety in cuts provide excellent value, and we also recommend exploring some of Farmison & Co’s great-value showstopping seasonal joints, including seven-day dry-aged whole leg of lamb and 32-day dry-aged rib of beef.

Available from Farmison & Co., from £36.50

The Ethical Butcher Mutton (Cull Ewe) Taster Box

Best sustainable meat box

  • Available from The Ethical Butcher (£90)
various cuts of meat on a grey background

The Ethical Butcher was founded out of a desire to create change in the meat industry. As it says: ‘It's not just about eating good food. It's about knowing where it comes from and how your choices impact both people and planet.’ It provides the farmers it works with with holistic management training, with an emphasis on terroir and regenerative agricultural practices. In a nutshell, says EB: ‘Our farmers honour natural systems and farm in ways that increase biodiversity and regenerate the land, having a positive impact on the British countryside.’ 

The contents of the box were an eye-opener. While it’s widely eaten all over the world, mutton – known as cull ewe – isn’t on many people’s radars in the UK for its reputation of being tough to eat. But it can be cooked just like lamb. Cull ewe are retired breeding ewes, aged from between three and six years old, that will no longer lamb for various reasons. They are retired and given weeks, or months on pasture, to rejuvenate after their final lambing and regain body fat. These additional years of grazing add layers of fat, which equals flavour and very juicy meat. The Cull Ewe taster box comes from the Balcaskie Estate in Scotland and contains a combination of cuts from across the carcass, adding up to the equivalent of a quarter of an animal.

The box included half a shoulder roast. This was robust and rich, and this mutton shoulder really packs a flavour punch. Much stronger than lamb, it’s a real connoisseur’s cut. Cook it long and slow until the meat falls off the bone – follow this three-hour shoulder lamb recipe for more in depth tips. The half a leg roast was a great centrepiece for a Sunday roast. Plus the mini sirloin roast was a neat and elegant joint that great’s for a quick roast, cooked to pink perfection. Try this lamb, wilted spinach and roast potatoes recipe for an impressive dinner. Also included are four loin chops. Don’t be put off by the thick layer of fat on these chops: that’s where all the flavour is. For our test, we bashed them out with a meat hammer and marinated them with yogurt and spices before cooking under a very hot grill. There are also pre-skewered sausage-shaped mutton koftas, which are ready to put straight onto the BBQ. Pile them onto flatbreads with minty yogurt and tomato salad.

Meat arrived in a simple recyclable cardboard insulated with Woolcool and chilled with frozen pure water packs. Minimum order is £50. Orders from £50 to £85 have a £5.99 delivery charge. Orders over £85 have free delivery. Orders are delivered two working days after being placed. There are no deliveries on Mondays.

This was a revelatory introduction to a meat we should be eating more of. Be warned, it is much in demand by chefs and sells out quickly. Worth buying to stock your freezer and then defrosting for special weekend roasts and barbecues.

Available from The Ethical Butcher, from £90

HG Walter Butchers' Cuts Box

Best meat box for interesting cuts

meat lined up on grey background

Supplying some of the best chefs and restaurants in London, HG Walter sources its meat predominantly from small farms rearing free-range native breeds, such as Hereford and Aberdeen Angus cattle. Sustainability is a priority for the farmers from whom HG Walter sources, with livestock contributing to a biodiverse landscape.

We all know that prime cuts – fillet, sirloin and rump steaks, for example – are much in demand, but the Butchers’ Cuts box aims to encourage customers to try ‘lesser cuts’ as they adapt to a more sustainable way of eating. Products arrived fresh and individually vacuum-packed and were suitable for freezing.

These were two onglet steaks (200g each). Also known as hanger steaks, because they hang beneath the diaphragm, these lesser known steaks are best flash-fried and served rare. Check out our guide on cooking with onglet for more tips. We also recieved two pork chump steaks (250g each). The equivalent of a beef rump steak, they have a nice marbling of fat running through them so are good for marinating and cooking slowly, but they also make good schnitzel: tenderise them with a meat hammer, then dip them in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and fry for a few minutes on each side. Use them instead of escalopes in this recipe for pork schnitzels. The four chicken drumsticks included (380g) were so versatile. Roast, slow cook or dry rub with herbs and spices, and gently cook on the BBQ or soak in buttermilk, coat in seasoned flour and deep fry as seen in these chicken drumstick recipes.

There was also one beef tri tip (400g), a triangular steak bursting with beefiness from the bottom of the rump. Finally, we had four lamb neck chops (500g) which are wonderful in a stew or a curry. Marinate in ginger, garlic and spices, and cook them low and slow for 1-2 hours.

Products arrived in a simple, neat cardboard box with no freezer bags or padding. There is nationwide delivery to postcodes throughout the UK (except Highlands and Islands) four days a week, from Tuesday to Friday; next-day delivery on orders placed before 12pm. Minimum basket value is £40 and orders under £60 are charged £8.50 delivery fee. Orders over £60 qualify for free delivery, after discount codes or discounts are applied.

We created five meals for a family of four with the meat in the Butchers' Cuts box. Not only was it great value for money, but also introduced us to some cuts we were unfamiliar with. Unfortunately, there were no cooking instructions or recipe cards, which would have been helpful, but there are plenty of recipes on the HG Walter website.

Available from HG Walter, from £36.50

The Ginger Pig BBQ box

Best meat box for a barbecue

  • Available from The Ginger Pig (£70)
sausages, burgers and pork chops in parchment paper with dark slate background

Founder Tim Wilson reared rare-breed cattle, sheep and pigs on his farm in North Yorkshire and now works with like-minded farmers to supply his Ginger Pig shops. All its beef is dry-aged for a minimum of 28 days. Sausages and burgers are made by hand, whilst bacon and gammon are cured either by hand-salting or using a traditional brine.

The BBQ box is designed for six to eight people, with a selection of Ginger Pig’s favourite cuts. The meat arrived vacuum packed so it could be popped into the fridge or freezer. Inside were a 660g T-bone, which is a glorious special occasion steak to impress and share, with a sirloin on one side and a substantial fillet on the other. Try our All-American T-bone with crispy onion rings and blue cheese-dressed iceberg lettuce wedges. There were two 350g rump steaks – for many meat lovers, the rump is their favourite cut because of its intense beefiness. Two 370g pork chops are great for a midweek meal for two, and the four chuck steak burgers were a weekend treat. Hand-pressed from dry-aged, minced chuck steak and mixed aged rib cap fat, they had great flavour and were very juicy – a perfect burger for your BBQ. Ginger Pig is famous for its sausages. and this box includes 12 Lincolnshire sausages. What started as a means to reduce waste and be more sustainable, quickly became its signature product. They are handmade every week using a blend of pork shoulder and belly for juiciness. Great on the BBQ, but also for a midweek supper. Try them in a toad-in-the-hole.

Meat is vacuum packed to avoid leakages and help to prolong shelf life. It arrived in a branded fully recyclable cardboard box with eco-friendly Woolcool insulated lining and ice packs. Delivery to UK mainland addresses is between Tuesday-Saturday. You can place your order before 10am for next-day delivery or choose a delivery date up to one month in advance. Deliveries are usually made between the hours of 8am and 6pm. All nationwide orders include a £10 delivery charge. All local orders (within the M25) are a minimum order of £40, plus £7 delivery charge.

Having family or friends around for a weekend of fun in the sunshine? This is the box for you. The T-bone steak is a real crowdpleaser and the other cuts are of exceptional quality. Even if you’re not barbecuing, there’s plenty to please throughout the week.

Available from The Ginger Pig, from £70

How we tested the meat boxes

We tried and tested a variety of meat boxes from different brands to get a good idea of the overall quality and value of the meat. We also noted the lack of halal subscription boxes on the market. One thing we strongly considered was the value for money, this is based on not only the quality of meat but the amount or range of meats in the box for the price. We focused on where the meat came from, how fresh it was and if the box came with any cooking suggestions or extra features. We also understand that flexibility is a great consideration when it comes to subscription boxes so we researched the subscription and delivery options as well as the overall sustainability of the boxes, from the efforts of the farm to the packaging.

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