September 25, 2022

There’s an essential question the world should ask itself about mail-order meat: Why order it?

Online meat purveyors offer more diverse, more interesting and frankly better cuts of meat than what’s found at a standard grocery store. And where does the intrepid cook whose town doesn’t have a proper butcher get their hands on heritage chickens? Or aged Osso Buco? Or internationally-renowned country ham and bacon? Or just a steady stream of meat to put on the table that’s better than whatever is available to them? Without these companies, the answer is nowhere. These are the best places to buy meat online in 2022.

What to Know Before Buying Meat Online

Ordering meat online is an entirely different experience from picking up some cuts from your local butcher or grocery store. While you’re in charge of making sure your meat makes it to your fridge or freezer in an appropriate amount of time when buying locally, your purchase is in the hands of delivery services when ordering online. And since meat is perishable, you always want to check to see how your meat is being packaged (climate-controlled packaging is a must) and that it will make it to you promptly — most companies in this guide will get you your food within a couple of days. You’ll also want to track your order to ensure that you’ll be home when your delivery arrives so it doesn’t wait outside for a lengthy period of time.

In exchange for putting up with the potential worry of shipping snafus, a major benefit of ordering meat online is the sheer variety of quality products available. Whether you’re shopping for steaks from a Michelin-starred restaurant, officially-certified Kobe beef or some other rare delicacy, you’ll have a better chance of finding it online than in the mom-and-pop shop down the block.

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Common Cuts of Steak

While you can buy all kinds of meat online (as you’ll see below), steak remains the chief motivating factor for a lot of people looking to buy beef on the internet. But with so many different cuts available, it can be a challenge to determine what kind of steak you actually want. So to make your job a little easier, here’s a brief rundown of some of the most common types of steak you’re going to come across.

Rib: Taken from the upper, middle portion of a cow’s ribs, this is where you’ll find tender, well-marbled steaks like prime rib and ribeye.

Short Loin: Moving down a steer’s back into the hindquarters, directly behind the rib region, you’ll find the short loin. This area is home to your expensive, restaurant-worthy entrée steaks like the strip steak, porterhouse and T-bone; the latter pair of which also include part of the tenderloin.

Tenderloin: The tenderest part of a beef critter, the comparatively small tenderloin sits behind the short loin and partly overlaps it. Its soft and buttery texture is best experienced through the prized filet mignon, consistently one of the priciest cuts of beef you’ll come across.

Sirloin: Also located behind the short loin and divided into the more tender top sirloin and tougher bottom sirloin, you can think of sirloin steaks as your average, middle-of-the-road steaks.

Flank: Flank steaks are thin, muscular cuts that come from the lower sides of cattle, flanking the belly. One of the healthier and more affordable types of steak, flank steaks require a bit more finesse when cooking to prevent them from becoming too tough.

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Round: Coming from the hind legs of a cow, round steaks are another affordable, leaner option. Like the sirloin, the round is divided into top and bottom portions, with both being fairly similar in their toughness and flavor and mainly differing in size (top round is larger).

The Best Online Meat Stores of 2022