Grilling with Martha & Marley Spoon Review
Martha & Marley Spoon is a meal kit box that offers fresh, seasonal recipes delivered weekly to your home, featuring Martha Stewart’s recipes and techniques. All ingredients are pre-portioned so there is no food waste, and the recipes are all distilled down into 6 steps and are meant for “easy weeknight cooking.”
This summer, Martha & Marley Spoon has two grilling options on their menu each week. These recipes are designed to work outdoors on a grill or entirely in your kitchen with a grill pan. I jumped at the chance to give a grilled meal box a shot, so we hope you enjoy my first review al fresco style! 🌞
Giveaway Alert! Martha & Marley Spoon are running a summer grilling giveaway through July 17th, 2017: You can enter to win a Big Green Egg large grill, one month of Martha & Marley Spoon boxes, a voucher to Martha Stewart wines, plus a year of Martha Stewart Living magazine!
We received this box for review purposes. Marley Spoon also sent two of Martha’s wines to pair with our meals, and supplied the Big Green Egg for us to cook on. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
This review is of the 4 servings per meal, 2 meals per week box, priced at $9.50 per serving / $76 per week. Each recipe is designed to feed 4 adults, or 2 adults plus children.
The Subscription Box: Martha & Marley Spoon
The Cost: Two Person Box: 2 dinners ($48 a week) 3 dinners ($61.50 a week) 4 dinners ($76 a week) Family Box: 2 dinners ($76 a week) 3 dinners ($106.80 a week) 4 dinners ($139.20 a week)
The Products: Pre-portioned seasonal ingredients and delicious recipes directly to your door.
Ships to: Most of the contiguous US states; please see website for current details.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
As a relatively eco-conscious person, I wanted to note that the packaging for this box was nice and simple, and 100% recyclable. The box was free of styrofoam and instead used a thick plastic insulator (much like cotton batting for quilting), with brown paper and plastic bags for the ingredients, plus some reusable ice packs at the bottom to keep the meat cold. It worked brilliantly and was super simple to break down for recycling.
When you open the box, the recipe cards and some other ephemera are tucked neatly into the top flap.
I still appreciate a handwritten note for new subscribers, and I can’t get over this beautiful handwriting!
The welcome booklet in the box includes more information about the brand, the small farms, and food producers they work with, and tips for the types of items you’ll need on hand.
Our grilling companion today is the Big Green Egg MiniMax. These ‘kamodo style’ charcoal grills are really cool if you’ve never seen one in person! They have a thick ceramic wall designed to retain heat and can be used for grilling, smoking, and even making pizza. (Plus, don’t they look like giant green avocados?)
Just in case you want to compare this setup to your own, the MiniMax grilling surface is 13″ across and can fit about 4 burgers at a time.
Our first recipe is for Portobello Mushroom Burgers with Grilled Potato Salad! Our estimated time to cook this meal is 40 minutes. The instructions were simple and clear overall, with photos and clearly bolded ingredients. For folks who are cooking outdoors, I only wish they’d have talked about how to adapt the recipe so you can prep inside first – more on that below.
All of the ingredients for this recipe came packaged in a simple, labeled brown bag.
All of the ingredients were fresh and definitely of good quality. I always look over meal kit box veggies for any bruising and potential issues before I start cooking, and everything in this box was in perfect condition. (Everything was perfectly portioned, too, so there was literally zero waste when we were all said and done, except for the usual things like onion ends/skins.)
From there, we set about getting the grill ready! It’s been awhile since I’ve cooked on a charcoal grill, so it took us a little time and a little smoke to get things going successfully:
This is me re-watching a video on Big Green Egg’s website about how to start your grill with some tips for first timers. Their info was seriously really helpful and I referenced multiple times throughout the day as the grill and I were getting acquainted.
There was definitely a learning curve with this grill at first, but I’ve cooked with it several times since and we’re good friends now. 😉 It comes to temperature really quickly, and you can use it to grill, smoke, and even make pizza!
While I waited for the grill to heat up, fellow reviewer Marne helped me out by prepping the potato salad ingredients, boiling the potatoes, and assembling the dressing in the kitchen.
If you’re grilling this recipe on your own, I highly recommend prepping ahead of time or having a helper – there’s no way I would have been able to step away from the grill long enough to boil potatoes without spending over an hour on this recipe myself, just because of the added time of getting your grill ready to go.
Before long, we got those mushroom caps and onions on the grill.
Once they came off, you’ll put your boiled potatoes on the grill cut side down for a few minutes, to add some char and flavor.
I still had a couple cool spots on the grill so I had to move them around a bit and took a bit longer than the recipe indicated, but it was totally worth it in the end! Once off the grill, it was so simple to stir them into the prepped bowl of cucumber slices in a tangy mustard, onion, parsley, and vinegar dressing.
Finally, we just toasted the pre-sliced buns ever so briefly:
And we were ready to eat!
If you’re good at multitasking (or have a helper!) and don’t count the prep time for the grill itself, 40 minutes is definitely doable for this meal.
This meal was simple but absolutely delicious. The portobellos are served with the grilled onions, and a quick dressing made from mayonnaise plus some of the same dressing in the potato salad. The dressing had a bit of a zing and I loved how it helped tie the flavors in the burger back to the salad.
Putting the fully cooked potatoes on the grill is also downright magical. Since we used hardwood charcoal, they got infused with a delicious smokiness and just a bit of charred crunch. Serving them warm against the cool cucumbers was also perfect for the beautiful spring afternoon we were having. (I replicated this recipe at home just a few days later, and my husband raved about it! It’s a keeper for sure.)
And I hate to give props to something I didn’t even really cook, but the included buns were incredible! The black and white sesame seeds added a great texture and I loved the nutty flavor.
Martha & Marley Spoon also sent along a few bottles from Martha Stewart Wine Co to pair with our meals. At first, I was surprised to see red wine for the summertime, but they really did pair well! In this case, they suggested pairing with their 2016 Cuvée Joëlle Malbec et Merlot, which features a flavor profile including “Red plum, raspberry, blackberry, brambleberry, vanilla, and Herb de Provence.”
This wine was on the dry side, but like many red blends, I found it to be overall very well rounded– it definitely didn’t leave my mouth puckered like some dry wines can. I thought the faint “herb de provence” notes were a nice complement to the earthy flavors in this dish, too.
(PS: Martha Stewart Wine has a subscription, too!)
Our next recipe was Grilled Berkshire Pork with Peanut Sauce and Cucumber Salad. The description says this is a take on a traditional satay (hence the peanut sauce), but without skewers (hence the tortillas). It definitely looked like a beautiful and casual summer meal with some familiar flavors in a new-to-me combination!
I have to admit – I was nervous about this one. I’ve overcooked pork many, many times to inedible dryness. Would putting it on the grill over high heat help or hurt my track record?
Once again, everything is perfectly portioned, even the tiny single-serving peanut butter and coconut milk containers.
With grilling, I find most of the work in almost any recipe is in the prep. We did everything we could before heading outside, including step 5 (making the peanut sauce). That way everything would be ready to plate and eat as soon as it came off the grill!
Thankfully our grill was still nice and hot from the first recipe, so as soon as prep was done, we got to work on the pork and the grilled onions:
Our grill was definitely hotter than with the first recipe, so we got some great grill lines and flavor pretty quickly!
I didn’t have a meat thermometer on hand, so I cooked this for the longer end of the range given in the instructions. The pork is only seasoned with salt, pepper, and chili powder, but it looked and smelled amazing when we pulled it off the grill!
Finally, what might be my favorite thing of the day: grilling the tortillas!
Is there anything better in life than a puffy and charred tortilla? I think not. It always surprises me how much depth a little heat can add to the simplest of foods.
After letting the meat rest for a few minutes, we got to work chopping the grilled onions and slicing the pork. We decided to go all-in on the ‘deconstructed’ look, rather than assemble the meal like tacos:
The timing in the directions turned out to be flawless – the pork was perfectly done! The meat is definitely the star of this dish, but the ginger/coconut/peanut sauce was a delicious accompaniment (and would definitely help with moisture if your pork did end up on the dry side). Lime and cucumber definitely help lighten things up for warmer weather, too.
This dish was definitely a little outside of my comfort zone, but the results were great, thanks to the detailed instructions and quality ingredients. I haven’t had a chance to try this one again at home, but I did take some leftovers home to hubby and he said it’s among the best pork he’s ever had.
We didn’t time ourselves on this one, but I think it would be tough to hit the 30-minute target if you’re cooking alone – I’d guess this one is also closer to 40. The grilling itself was super fast, but having to step away from the grill to do the sauce would have added time if I didn’t have some help.
This meal was paired with the 2015 Cala Montepulciano from Martha Stewart Wines. Although it’s listed as “Dry”, this wine was sweet in comparison to the previous bottle, and it was the perfect complement the grilled pork. This Italian wine has tasting notes including “Black fruit, black cherries, spice, tobacco, and leather,” but the fruit/cherry was definitely the most upfront, and I found this to be very drinkable.
Verdict: All in all, my first Martha & Marley Spoon experience was a big hit! Quality was exceptional and everything was so delicious, plus I got some great ideas to take back into the kitchen to shake up my normal routine a bit. (I’m looking at you, grilled potato salad!) The instructions were really great, too, the only exception being that I think beginner cooks could use a note about changing the order of the prep work if they plan to grill outside.
It can be hard to break down the difference between various meal boxes and what they specialize in, so I took some time to look at Martha & Marley Spoon’s current menu vs others. I still can’t really pin it down, but to me, these recipes are what you’d expect from Martha: a sort of elevated American fusion? It’s not exactly comfort food but still has a broad appeal, with some adventurous recipes mixed in as well.
I found Martha & Marley Spoon to be fairly priced overall as well. For the $9.50/serving price of the 4-person 2-meals box, they’re right in the middle of other meal kits. The 2-person box varies from $9.50 to $12 per serving, which is a little more than Blue Apron but still comparable to Plated.
Finally – I love the 100% recyclable packaging, and the fact that there are no restrictions or limitations when you choose your recipes from the 10 available each week. Those two things can really make or break a meal kit service for me.
What do you think of Martha & Marley Spoon? Do you plan to try some meal kit grilling recipes this summer?