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Back during the beginning of the Covid pandemic in the spring of 2020, our household was having a familiar sounding problem: It was hard to get food. Going to the supermarkets involved crowds, health/safety issues and being met with barren shelves. Meat was particularly difficult to come by, particularly in the grocery wasteland of our area of Brooklyn.
So we turned to mail-order meat purveyors. Over the next few months, we tried out Omaha Steaks, ButcherBox and a few other services that solved a lot of our Covid-related problems — and we stuck with a few of them, on and off, over the next few years.
The Best Places to Order Steak OnlineGet butcher-quality cuts delivered to your doorstep any time of the year
Enter 2023 — we’re in a new part of town (still with so-so food options) and prices on local delivery services have dramatically increased. But I still have a schedule that’s conducive to ordering at home, and I’ve kept my passion for home cooking that started during the first wave of Covid.
Looking for new options, I tested out Good Chop.
Admittedly, the name isn’t that memorable — I actually confused it more than once with a similar-sounding meat delivery service. But Good Chop offered up a few things I was looking for, including:
- Meat with no antibiotics or added hormones
- A wide selection that included seafood
- Prices at or slightly lower than the services we had previously tested
- A simple subscription plan that could be paused or altered with ease
The last one was important because our household seemingly is either dealing with a freezer that’s overfilled or vacant. Chop Box offers a “medium” and a “large” box of meat for $149-$269, delivered every four weeks (unless you pause or cancel it). We opted for a medium box, which featured 36 “portions” of meat, which the company suggests works out to about $4.14 per meal. That’s certainly within my budget and slightly lower than what I was paying for a more well-known competitor.
Once you select the size, you select your cuts: Boneless pork chops, ground beef, chicken wings, Italian sausage, 8 oz steaks, gulf shrimp, etc. If you want to get a little experimental, the company also offers bison, rockfish, chorizo and a few other non-traditional staples (at least in my house), plus plenty of additional steak and fish options. Everything will arrive, most likely on a weekday, in a recyclable box filled with dry ice.
Now here’s where you may have an issue: The descriptions of each meat/seafood selection are pretty bare bones, no pun intended. Ranch steaks? All I know is that they’re grass-fed and responsibly raised (and lacking antibiotics or added hormones) — if you dig around the site more, you can find some additional details, which are helpful! It’s here I found out all the Good Chop chicken is air-chilled (which apparently improves the flavor) and the company only partners with fisheries that carry the blue Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label.
There were also no recipes or cooking instructions on the website. All the meat is also from the U.S., which is great if you love local family farms and independent ranchers … but not so good if you were hankering for, say, some delicious lamb from New Zealand or Japanese Wagyu.
What you’re really left with is kind of nice: A minimalist butcher shop that has to live or die on the quality of its meat. From our first samplings, it’s been a hit. Some nicely marbled ribeyes, flavorful New York strip steaks, Alaskan sockeye salmon and even the boneless chicken breasts have all surpassed in flavor what I can get locally (for a similar price), and they taste like, well, real meat. It actually took a bit of an adjustment period to deal with cuts of meat that didn’t appear unusually large/mutated or lacked a distinct flavor.
Admittedly, my first impressions have all involved cooking indoors, usually with a cast iron grill pan — it’s been too cold to pull out the grill. I’ve also kept the recipes to a bare minimum (salt, pepper, a rub) to purposely highlight the meat. For dishes like stir fry or chili, we’d probably stick to cheaper (and admittedly less memorable) meats we can buy locally.
Otherwise, Good Chop offers a delicious, affordable and healthier option for meat and seafood lovers who don’t have access to a good local butcher (or even a reliable grocery store). Lacking some bells and whistles of other meat purveyors — no sides, only one sauce option, and nothing too exotic outside of the expected meat staples — the biggest selling point is literally their product: All-American steaks, chicken, pork and salmon that taste great and arrive every month. How you prepare ‘em is up to you.
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