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CrateChef Subscription Box Review + Coupon – April/May 2017

CrateChef April May 2017 Box

CrateChef is a bi-monthly subscription box curated by top-name chefs and sends artisan foods, recipes, and kitchen supplies.

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

CrateChef April May 2017 Box

The Subscription Box: CrateChef

The Cost: $45 a box (plus $6 shipping per box) or you may purchase a one-time gift box for $49 a box (plus $6 shipping)

LIMITED TIME OFFER: BOGO! Now through April 30th, use coupon code SPRINGFEVER to get a FREE bonus CrateChef box when you sign up for a subscription! (Regularly $45 per box)The Products: food products and cooking items from a top-name chef (different chefs curate each box)


COUPON: Use code ADDICTION10 to save 10% off your first box!

Ships to: U.S.

Good to know: As of 4/27, this box is still available! (When you sign up, you can choose which box you want to receive first.)

Check out all of our CrateChef reviews lots of food-related boxes in the Food Subscription Box Directory!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Review

Each CrateChef box comes with a letter from the chef & curator. This month is curated by Chef Jim Smith, the Executive Chef of the state of Alabama!

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Chef

The letter also outlines all of the products included and where they’re sourced from, with tips and more.

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Items

CrateChef also includes some handy recipe cards. This month’s recipes are a little more complex, so there aren’t as many as last month:

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Recipe

I really need to try this recipe – brown sugar shortbread with curry? My brain cannot imagine that flavor so I’m very intrigued!

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Recipe

The back of that card has some helpful tips for brewing tea, in case you’d like to enjoy some with your shortbread. I usually associate the south with sweet iced tea, but in his letter, Chef Jim talks about afternoon tea as a southern tradition too.

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Recipe

This spicy pepper jelly and shrimp appetizer also sounds incredible, but it’s something I’m not likely to make unless I am planning on having company.

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Recipe

Finally, I wouldn’t expect any southern-themed food box to be complete without a recipe for barbecue:

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Recipe CrateChef April May 2017 Box Recipe

I can’t wait to dig in! I’m really curious about the items that Chef Jim included this month since the recipes seem to cover a lot of various styles and tastes.

CrateChef April May 2017 Box White BBQ Sauce

Big Bob Gibson White Bar-B-Q Sauce, 16 oz. – Available on Amazon for $8.99

As a Pennsylvanian, there’s not a huge barbecue culture here, so I’ve never heard of a white BBQ sauce before! I spent a lot of time looking at this bottle before I looked at the ingredient list. Would it taste like ranch dressing? Was it like sausage gravy, warm and peppery and spicy?

CrateChef April May 2017 Box White BBQ Sauce

I opened it up and took a little taste – it was tart and a little peppery, and not at all what I expected! White sauce is a vinegar-based sauce. I’ve never tried anything like this before, so I’m excited to test this one out, especially since it was the first place winner at the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce Contest in Kansas City! The included recipe card suggests lightly coating your chicken after cooking.

We used the included recipe card to cook up some chicken thighs!


I plated them with some grits from last month’s box, and a simple green salad. I followed the marinade instructions but ended up with boneless/skinless thighs because that’s all my grocery store had. I also cooked these in a cast iron pan because we don’t have a grill.


I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but this was really great. I rarely buy chicken thighs, but they’re so juicy and are honestly a pretty forgiving cut of meat. The spicy buttermilk marinade was excellent and the vinegar based sauce was definitely different – I think pairing it with the creamy grits worked well to help balance things out.

Even though this recipe required a little bit of prep work (to marinade the chicken for 4-6 hours first), it was definitely worth it, and the actual meal came together really quickly.

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Hot Pepper Jelly

Arabelle Pepper Jelly with Miso and Spices, 8 oz – Value $8.50

Hot pepper jelly! Here’s another item I’ve never tried before, even though I love spicy food. I have seen pepper jelly at Amish markets but (just like those curried shortbread cookies) I couldn’t imagine how it would taste.

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Hot Pepper Jelly

This is made with jalapeno as well as sriracha sauce, so you know it’s going to have some heat. Miso seems like such an interesting addition here.

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Hot Pepper Jelly

I tasted this plain, just a little at first because I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. It’s definitely sweet and, as I thought, packs a decent amount of heat! I’m not sure if I tasted the miso right away, but I thought it deepened the overall flavor a bit.

Again, this was better than expected. I did go back for more and tried to imagine other ways to use it – honestly, it would be good plain on toast, and I think it would be delicious paired with a ham and cheese sandwich. I plan on trying it with cream cheese soon, which it seems is a bit of a southern tradition (and sounds like a great quick party snack).

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Peanuts

Peanut Depot Dry Roasted Salted Peanuts, 8 oz – Value $4?

CrateChef seems to be great at including these kinds of products from small, local producers that are hard to buy online. Peanut Depot has been producing salted roasted peanuts in Birmingham, Alabama since 1907! That’s a lot of peanuts!

Dry-roasted peanuts in the shell are really fun – my husband loves to take them to baseball games and make a big mess snacking on them throughout the game. I haven’t had any since last summer.

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Peanuts

When I first pulled these out of the box, I was a little skeptical. Peanuts are definitely not a high-value item and I usually expect items that I can cook with, in CrateChef. But as I shared this bag with my husband, he reminded me that A) the in-shell peanuts can sometimes be tough for us to find locally, and B) these ones, in particular, were really, really good. This old-timey snack definitely got me in the mood for baseball season and left me wanting more.

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Tea

Front Porch Special Tea, Sample Size – Value $4?

This black tea sample is made with bergamot, jasmine, and spearmint. I like tea, and I’ve definitely never had those flavors together, so I couldn’t wait to try this. This tea also won an Award from Southern Living in 2015: “Piper & Leaf’s Front Porch Special Produces the Perfect Pitcher of Iced Tea”

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Tea

I love the pretty purple flowers! This bag came with enough for about 4 or 5 cups, more if you rebrew your tea leaves.

This was absolutely delicious – my favorite item to sample from this month’s box. It’s so hard to explain the flavors! The spearmint, jasmine, and bergamot are all there, but subtly enough that they don’t overtake each other. I drank this hot but I can definitely see why it won an award for Best Iced Tea – it has a classic Southern sweet tea flavor. I am definitely picking up some of this so we can keep a pitcher in the fridge this summer!

To ensure you’d be able to brew the tea for a proper southern tea experience, CrateChef included a couple of items for your kitchen:

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Tea Brewer

Stainless Steel Tea Strainer – Value $9? (I couldn’t find this exact one online, but it looks similar to this one on Amazon)

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Tea Brewer

I have a variety of metal mesh tea brewing devices, most of them made with woven wire. This little guy is really nicely made for such a small thing! The holes are tiny, so when I tested it out, no tea leaves escaped into my cup. Plus it was super easy to clean.

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Tea Brewer

It includes a rest, too, so you can pull your strainer out and leave it here for re-brewing.

And – the gem of this month’s box:


Teacup and saucer from Earthborn Pottery – Value $32?

(I couldn’t find this exact piece online, but small mugs from Earthborn without a saucer are $32. Since this doesn’t have a handle but does include a saucer I’m guessing it’s similar in overall value, maybe a little more.)

The colors in this little cup and matching saucer are beautiful, I couldn’t stop turning it over in my hands! I love that Chef Jim selected this local company to produce hand thrown pottery for this box. He notes that Earthborn has produced dishes for many restaurants he’s worked in, which is a great personal touch.


There’s a little spiral design emphasized by the glaze and echoed again in the saucer.

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Tea Cup

Can I say how much I love that it’s a teacup with a saucer? I own a lot of mugs, but I don’t own any cups with saucers. I’ve been using this every morning for tea or coffee and it makes my trip upstairs to my office SO much easier – any drips land on the saucer instead of on my pants or my stairs.

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Tea Cup

This mug fits perfectly in my hands, too. It’s a small size perfect for cupping tea and soaking up a little bit of warmth.

CrateChef April May 2017 Box Tea Cup

Even though I’ve come to expect cooking gadgets in this box, I was really thrilled with this selection. It made me feel like I was actually having a little afternoon tea all to myself and definitely had me feeling the whole spirit of the box.

Verdict: This is my second month reviewing CrateChef and I was again happy with this box! Even though the food items this month were scattered across a lot of different themes, my overall experience was a good one. Value-wise my estimates bring us to around $66 at retail prices total, which is very comfortably over the $45 price of this box.

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Written by Lacey Volk

Lacey Volk

Lacey’s introduction to the world of subscription boxes was Julep Maven, but she quickly moved on once she discovered there were subscriptions for cooking, coffee, and art supplies. Current favorites include Crate Chef and Ecocentric Mom, and she’s looking forward to trying more.

Posted in CrateChef Reviews, Food & Drink Subscription Boxes, Subscription Box Reviews| Tags: cratechef | 8 comments

Comments (8)

  1. Hi Lacey!

    That White BBQ sauce does seem interesting! As a complete side note, off on a tangent…. I bought a fancy(ish) Food Saver a couple years back, and it has a hose attachment for multiple uses, but one of them is for a quick marinate. I had to buy the right container separately, but I can marinate meat (or anything) in about 5-7 minutes that literally tastes likes its been marinating all day. Just putting it out there in case you’re in the market for that type of thing (or anyone else.) I usually need things like that around the house for when I forget to do things in the morning (like a pressure cooker for when I forget to put something in the crock pot that I meant too) lol Thanks for the review! That dinner looks soooo good. Makes me crave chicken thighs!

    • Interesting, I’ll have to check that out! And yes, I love my pressure cooker… the Instant Pot kind of changed my life! I haven’t used the crock pot since we got it!

  2. I’ve never heard of white bbq sauce either and I live in Kansas City. It doesn’t get too great of reviews on Amazon, I’m surprised it won at the American Royal, but you also have to pay to be a judge at the American Royal and spectators cannot eat the bbq. It’s a very odd thing to go to, smelling all the great food and then not being able to eat any of it.

    • Big Bob’s BBQ is pretty well known here in Memphis…they have won the Memphis in May BBQ Championship, and are well known for their white sauce.

      I am wondering if you use the code for the free box, does it have the same products as the box you buy….or completely different products??

      • Victoria, if you go on their website and click on the chefs tab at the top you will see previous boxes. I chose the one I liked the most and emailed them to request that and they were very accommodating. The TN box rocks.

      • The free box should be a different box, not a duplicate!

    • No thanks on looking but not eating!!! I like the BBQ competitions where they give you samples without you having to ask lol! We have a pretty popular one here at a local brewery- Harpoon- but you have to buy your own BBQ. Which isn’t that bad, but that means you usually only try 2-3 things.

    • Alabama is famous for white BBQ sauce, particularly here in North Alabama. NOT saying it’s not in other states–I’ve lived in several, including California–but it’s the first place I’ve lived where it’s practically a staple when serving BBQ. In fact, the local catfish/bbq restaurant we had dinner the other night had only white sauce on the table. Go a bit further south (Birmingham) and they typically have a few more selections for those who don’t care for it. It’s not my favorite but I’ll eat it!

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