My Crowd Cow Review
High-Quality Meat Sourced from Independent Farms
When it comes to sourcing ingredients, I sometimes think I was born in the wrong generation. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the convenience offered by modern grocery stores, but I'm often wistful for the days when shopping wasn't all done in one place. Butchers, bakers, and fishmongers bring an expertise to their craft that you simply won't often find at the mega-mart, but these types of specialty stores are increasingly hard to find.
I don't buy a ton of meat, and that's largely because I'm fed up with the disappointing selection and mediocre quality available in my local supermarket. I've been on the hunt for high-quality products from independent farmers and ranchers, but I've been coming up short. There just aren't any specialty butcher shops in my neck of the woods anymore, and the farmers market doesn't have the selection I'm looking for. Enter Crowd Cow, an online meat delivery service that sources beef, pork, chicken, and more from smaller, independent ranches and family farms. I came across Crowd Cow when I was looking for better meat, and since receiving my first box, I haven't looked back. Crowd Cow sends high-end products that taste great, and they ship directly to my front door!
Pros & Cons
- Crowd Cow offers a wide selection of cuts of meat and proteins including ribeye steak, pork chops, sirloin steaks, short ribs, boneless chicken, sustainable seafood, lamb, and pork tenderloin. (Just to name a few!)
- Customers are welcome to place a one-time order or sign up for an ongoing subscription.
- You can customize shipments to feature your choice of protein(s). Want all chicken? Or a mix of steak and seafood? No problem!
- Crowd Cow works with you to fit your needs. It's easy to update your order or change your delivery date or shipment frequency online.
- All Crowd Cow meat contains no unnecessary antibiotics and is 100% free from artificial growth hormones.
- Meat is sourced from local independent farms, co-ops, and local suppliers. Everything arrives vacuum-sealed.
- Crowd Cow is great for steak lovers, but offers lots of other types of meat, too.
- Both 100% grass-fed beef and pasture-raised beef are available. All beef is dry-aged for a minimum of 14 days (unless otherwise stated).
- Choose your chicken: free-range, free-range organic, and truly-pasture raised chicken are available.
- Some seafood is wild-caught and some is farmed, but it is all sourced from sustainable fisheries.
- If you're the type of person who enjoys indulging in the best of the best, look no further. A wide selection of Japanese wagyu beef is available. Kobe (also from Japan) is coming soon.
- If you decide to set up recurring shipments, you can cancel your subscription from your online account.
- If you want to receive different products each week, you'll need to remember to log into your account before each shipment to make changes.
- There's an order minimum of $50.
- You'll need to spend $99 per shipment to earn free shipping.
- You get what you pay for. The meat is delicious and high-quality, but it's not cheap.
About Crowd Cow
There are a few different purchasing options within Crowd Cow's online meat store. You can buy items a la carte, build your own subscription box, or select from a handful of curated boxes. If you choose to sign up for a membership, you'll build your own box with cuts you love, set up a delivery schedule that works for you, and receive 5% off and free shipping on orders over $99. Here are a few different products with member pricing to give you an idea about cost:
- $19 for a 12 oz. New York Strip Steak
- $77.90 for a 5 oz. Japanese A5 Wagyu Filet Mignon
- $8.54 for a pound of ground turkey
- $7.11 for 12 oz. pack of chicken breasts
- $30.40 for a 10 oz. pair of Maine lobster tails
What You'll Get
Crowd Cow is a "choose your own adventure" type of subscription, so it's completely up to you what goes in the box.
Meat is shipped frozen, and it's kept cold with dry ice packets. The box is insulated and the packaging is 100% compostable and recyclable. Crowd Cow has also recently doubled down on its commitment to environmental sustainability. As of 2020, all orders are carbon neutral.
Crowd Cow ships to all U.S. states except for Alaska and Hawaii.
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.)
My Review of a Crowd Cow Variety Pack
We've reviewed Crowd Cow on MSA before, but it felt like time for an update, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to show you why I'm such a fan.
First of all, let's talk about the box. Crowd Cow ships their orders in a big brown box that's kept cool with dry ice. Even in the southern summer heat, the meat is usually frozen solid when it arrives.
For this box, I received a selection of different products. Let's take a look at them all:
(2) 12 oz. New York Strip Steak - $19.00 each ($20.00 for non-members)
One delectable New York Strip Steak. The New York Strip is known by other names (Ambassador Steak, Kansas City strip, etc.), but its marbling and tenderness deliver one result: fantastic taste.
16 oz. Rib Steak - Painted Hills Natural Beef Farm- $29.45 ($31.00 for non-members)
Gloriously beefy, the ribeye’s inherently rich marbling results in a buttery round finish like none other. Look forward to carving into this meaty masterpiece with gusto.
1 lb Ground Beef - True Grit Cattle Co Fullblood Wagyu Farm- $11.87 ($12.50 for non-members)
Ground Beef is the versatile king of meats, and customers tell us all the time that ours is the best. That's probably because like all of our other cuts, it's made from 100% dry aged beef.
1.25 lb Chicken Breast - Pasturebird Farm- $11.86 ($12.49 for non-members)
Tender, nutrient-rich Chicken Breasts from truly pasture-raised chickens are a versatile cut great for roasting, grilling or barbecuing and a quick way to elevate your dinner.
Each package comes with 3-5 Chicken Breasts, tender attached.
(2) 6 oz. Wild Alaskan Halibut - Sena Sea - $14.25 each ($15.00 for non-members)
It’s mild, sweet, and has a firm texture so you can throw it on the grill and sear it off without it falling apart. Other ideas: Fish tacos, tempura battered (which will bring the house down), or pan-fried simply with an aioli or salsa topping — the possibilities are endless.
The price point for the meat from Crowd Cow is higher than what's available at my local grocery store; however, the selection and quality is so much better. Wild Alaskan halibut? Wagyu ground beef? I think it's super cool that I get to stock my freezer with these delicacies.
Cooking my way through this Crowd Cow box has been a joy, and I thought it might be helpful to show off some of the meals I've created with the proteins I received. I cooked the halibut first, and it's such a beautiful fish that I wanted to keep things simple. I pan-seared the fillets and topped them with a Mediterranean-style mix of tomatoes, capers, basil, and lemon. The fish was fresh fresh fresh, and the flavor mild and clean. Texturally, the fish was firm but tender. In a word, perfect.
Next up, I decided to go a little bananas and make a fancy steak and egg breakfast. I seared the rib steak in a hot pan with butter, and cooked it for 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. I served the steak with a fried egg and a small green salad dressed with vinaigrette. Again, wow. The flavor of this steak brought back some of my favorite steak house memories, and this might be one of the best pieces of meat to come out of my kitchen. I don't often splurge on $30 steaks, but after this incredible breakfast, I'm tempted to start!
The strip steaks are still in my cooking queue, but I've also used the chicken and ground beef. The ground beef was excellent, and I found it to be far more flavorful than what I normally find at the grocery store. I made burgers, and they were juicy and delicious. Sometimes when I make burgers I find the flavor of the meat is overwhelmed by the toppings, but that wasn't the case here. The beefy flavor held its own. As for the chicken, it was fresh and moist, but-- for me-- quality chicken is often more about ethics than taste. I like to avoid factory farms and buy organic chicken when I can, and I really appreciate that Crowd Cow offers several options that I can feel good about purchasing. The chicken in my box was "truly pasture-raised," which goes a step beyond organic and free-range. It's slightly more expensive than organic chicken, but I personally think it's worth it. (If you don't agree, Crowd Cow has less expensive chicken options you can opt for instead.)
Megan's Review Crowd Cow's Ground Beef
Back when the pandemic started, MSA reviewer Megan received a box of Crowd Cow's ground beef. (Her review is actually what put Crowd Cow on my own personal radar!) Here's Megan with a description of what she received in her first order and her thoughts on the quality of the meat:
My box arrived within 5 days of ordering, which was great! Inside, the beef packets were carefully packed, with a giant dry ice chunk that kept everything frozen solid. I was thrilled to see that the packaging was mostly biodegradable. The foam inside dissolved in water (I tried it myself!) and while the plastic bags will still need to be recycled, I thought it was really great that they included more green packaging. My packets arrived in cute little squares, all carefully frozen and wrapped.
On each pack was an info label with the contents and the farm it came from. My craft beef came from Timbercreek Farm in Charlottesville, VA.
I really like this model of knowing where my meat came from. I browsed the farm's site and found a really lovely about page with more info on the people behind Timbercreek Farm.
“WE WANTED A WAY TO SHARE THE LAND WE LOVE WITH OUR COMMUNITY AND WE DO IT THROUGH OUR BEEF”
I can get behind that.
I wanted to get cooking with this right away! My box arrived around 1 pm and I was planning for dinner around 6:30. I left one of the packs on the countertop to thaw and it was ready to go by dinner prep time.
I ended up making one of Will's fave meals: stuffed peppers with mashed potatoes. I used green peppers from my recent Misfits Market box. This is a great dinner for us because the leftovers get eaten up with much enthusiasm. While this dish does have other flavors going on, it was still easy to taste the beef itself and we absolutely loved it. Will (ever the skeptic) didn't expect there to be much difference between this and our normal store-bought ground beef, but he was really impressed with the taste. It is hard to explain, but there was just more beefy flavor here. It makes me really want to try out the steaks offered and even some of that premium Wagyu beef!
So, what else have I made with my beef?
- Tacos for Taco Night!
- A really incredible tomato sauce for homemade pasta
- Shepherd's Pie
- Meatloaf with olive oil & caramelized onions
- Meatball subs
And I still have loads of beef to cook with. We have used about a pound per meal that requires beef, so I could easily stretch the 12 pounds for 12 meals and have leftovers for the next day's lunch.
What are readers saying about Crowd Cow?
So far? Not much! If you've tried Crowd Cow and would like to leave a review for the community, we'd love to hear your feedback.
Are there alternatives to Crowd Cow?
If you like the idea of meat delivery, but you're not sure Crowd Cow is the right subscription for you, there are a few competitors that might be a better fit.
Butcher Box is probably Crowd Cow's #1 competitor in the subscription meat space, and they also specialize in sending high-quality meats to your doorstep. One important distinction is that while Butcher Box offers a great selection of butcher staples, they don't have the same range of high-end products you'll find with Crowd Cow. Customers have also noted that there are sometimes issues with ripped packaging. Learn more about Butcher Box by visiting our brand page.
Another meat subscription service is Porter Road. Interesting to note is that in addition to cuts of beef, chicken, and pork, Porter Road also specializes in sausages, broth, and breakfast meat. They do not currently sell seafood. Have you tried Porter Road? You can leave a review on our brand page here.
Snake River Farms
Like Crowd Cow, Snake River Farms specializes in quality beef and meat. (Think American Wagyu, Kurobuta Pork, and more.) The selection isn't as wide, and they don't sell seafood; however, their laser focus has won them a loyal fanbase. We haven't published a review of Snake River Farms on MSA before. Would you like to see one? Let us know in the comments section below.
For even more alternatives to Crowd Cow, be sure to check out our list of the 18 Best Meat Subscription Boxes and Delivery Services!
I seriously can't get over how much I enjoy Crowd Cow. The quality is fantastic, and I love that I can stock up on standard offerings like chicken breasts or go all out with lobster tails and wagyu. I feel great knowing that I'm supporting local farms and independent ranchers, and-- best of all-- everything I've received has been super fresh and extremely tasty. I'm a big believer that you can taste quality, and my taste buds tell me that Crowd Cow is doing everything right.
Of course, quality does come at a price. All in, the mixed box I showed off in this review cost just under $130. Is Crowd Cow worth it? Well, if you're looking for bulk meats and you're not that bothered about where they come from, your wallet will probably be a lot happier if you shop at your local grocery store. But if you're like me, and you don't mind paying a premium for quality, I think you'll be very happy with the selection, convenience, and quality you get with Crowd Cow.
Have you tried Crowd Cow? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
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