I’ve been searching for different brands of steak, from different areas of the U.S. and abroad, so naturally, I took my search online. Today I’m going to talk about where I’ve had the best experiences buying steak online for home delivery, as well as share any hacks and coupon codes I’ve aggregated along the way. I’ll keep an ever-running blog here as I order from more establishments and have more stuff to talk about.
Note: I left out the chain stores and common steaks everyone knows about. Sure, I like Omaha Steaks, and love Whole Foods, but I’m talking about stuff you can order online. Add some variety to your life!
First off, you should educate yourself (if you need to, I’m not assuming anything here) on the different cuts of steak, as well as other terminology you should know if you are in the market for some good beef.
Buying Steak Online and Where to Shop
No matter what your favorite cut of beef is, (mine is always a bone in ribeye) you should always look for the best beef available if you are trying to impress your peers or just have a tasty meal for yourself. As far as how steak is graded, there are many confusing labels given to beef that can throw people off.
Explaining the Grades of USDA Beef
This was something I was always confused with as I entered college and started really using my BBQ grill. As I became more comfortable cooking, I soon started to seek out information so I could know just what the hell I was talking about and what exactly I was buying and eating. Lucky for me, a great friend of mine grew up on a cattle farm and he’s been a wealth of information when it comes to eating any meat – yes – even horse tenderloin, which I had in Iceland!
USDA Prime: this is made from young, well fed beef cattle. You’ll find significant marbling in this grade of beef and you’ll see it sold in many hotels & restaurants. These can be broiled, roasted, or grilled.
(Also referred to as “Prime Beef.”)
USDA Choice: while this is a quality grade of beef, you’ll find less marbling when compared to prime. These will be from the loin and rib and will be typically very tender and juicy. You’ll notice a lot of flavor, and like prime beef, you can broil, roast, or grill this grade of beef. If it’s less tender you can always broil it or simmer it on the stove with liquid.
(Also referred to as “Choice Beef.”)
USDA Select: you’ll find less marbling when compared to choice and prime beef, and it’s normally more tender. You may not see as much flavor or juiciness, which makes this a good cut for braising or marinating.
(Also referred to as “Select Beef.”)
Next time you are shopping, take note of the grade of beef you buy, and you can be a more informed host and chef.
There are actually a full eight levels of quality when it comes to beef. You’ll only know which grade you are purchasing in stores by looking at the sticker (shaped like a shield) that’s on the package. There are basically three parameters that make up the grades:
Falling below the grade levels I spoke about above, you won’t typically find these grades of beef at the stores I’m going to recommend below, but just for your own knowledge, here are the remaining grade levels:
Standard Grade: normally sold as ungraded and as your local “store brand” beef.
Commercial Grade: this is pretty much the same as above.
Utility Grade: this is almost never sold in retail. It’s used for ground beef and processed food products.
Cutter Grade: same as utility grade.
Canner Grade: same as the above two.
Anyone want to venture a guess as to the quality grade of the beef in your local fast food hamburger?
When you are at your local super market, try to remember at least the top three grades (Prime, Choice, Select) when you purchase beef.
Best Online Steakhouses
Now only if these mail order steak companies would send a chef and smoking hot bartender, we’d be all set! Below are my go-to picks when I want some variety in my grilling adventures and choose to order a steak online.
#1: Chicago Steak Company
With one of the better websites in the business, Chicago Steak Company stands above the rest due to their numerous accolades, delicious cuts of meat, and educational website. When you visit their site, you aren’t just sold beef, you are given an experience like no other. Each different cut of meat has it’s own info-rich box that outlines nutrition facts, shows the latest consumer reviews, and even offers up recipes. Additionally, they outline the shipping process and charges, and lastly, perhaps most impressively, they offer a full explanation video. This isn’t done just one time on this website, it’s literally done for each item you can buy at Chicago Steak Company!
Beef Options at Chicago Steak Company
The most prominent item is the Premium Angus Beef Signature Steak.
This line of steaks are in the top third selection of the USDA Choice Grade. Just below the Prime grade, they are aged 4-6 weeks and hand cut to give you a juicy experience rich with flavor. You can buy the following cuts:
- Filet Mignon (and a bone in edition)
- Ribeye (and a bone in edition)
- Tomahawk Ribeye
- Boneless Strip steaks
- Top Sirloin Baseball cut sirloins
- Flat Iron
- T Bone
Moving up in class, they also offer the USDA Prime Wet Aged, which only 2% of the beef in the U.S. qualifies as this grade.
This is the best of the best, and being aged for 6 weeks the fibers in the beef are broken down, offering a very juicy, tender steak packed with flavor. These hand-selected, hand-cut steaks are so perfect that they are sold to five star restaurants. Bring the five star experience to your home grill with the USDA Prime by Chicago Steak Company. They offer the following cuts:
- Filet Mignon (and a bone in edition)
- Ribeye (and a bone in edition)
- Boneless Strip steak (and a bone in edition)
- Top Sirloin
- Flat Iron
If you are looking for an old school approach, you may enjoy the USDA Dry Aged steaks.
With the same “top 2%” qualification that the above wet aged enjoys, this method is the old Artisan way of aging beef that gives off a nutty flavor profile. They offer all of the same cuts as the Wet Aged, minus the Top Sirloin, Flat Iron, and Porterhouse.
If you are really looking for the best steak experience offered, there is nothing better than American Wagyu. This is American raised Kobe Beef.
Meaning “Japanese Cattle,” Wagyu are well known across the world for their insane marbling, tenderness, and juicy flavor profile. “Kobe” is the exclusive name for a Wagyu cattle that was brought up in Kobe, Japan, while any US-raised cattle has to be called Wagyu or Kobe-Style. This grade is above even the prized USDA Prime, and anyone who has been to a five star restaurant offering such beef knows the price tag is often very hefty. Even the most uppity steak guru will be impressed by this amazing beef with purely incredible marbling.
Read More: Chicago Steaks Review.
#2: Western Grassfed Beef
Whether you are shopping for chuck, brisket, Korean style short ribs, New York Striploins, or ribeyes, know that you are getting 100% grass fed beef. They have a long history of not using antibiotics or added hormones, and their beef is always raised on open pasture. I also love the fact that I can buy bone broth from them as well. It’s much better than the stuff I find in super markets, even Whole Foods can’t touch their bone broth!
Recently I made some Western Grassfed Beef filets, added some red peppers, greens, and I had a perfect salad.
For me, those two places have always delivered and been absolutely on point. If you want a good quality cut that doesn’t taste like something you can get at your local butcher shop or grocery store, give them a try next time you want to try something different. I’m a creature of habit and like routines as much as the next guy, but when I’m throwing an important BBQ I like to make sure I’m a little bit different than the guy next door!
Now, if you are into exotic meats, (I try everything – sometimes even twice) you should read about Fossil farms. They will ship you the most exotic meat you can possibly think of. Alligator, which is very common in Florida, is for sale, but for you who really wan to eat something exotic, try the Bone In Rattlesnake, (pictured below) python, and more. I kid you not! Since this is a piece about where I like to buy steaks I can’t possibly rank this site in the top three, but if you want to get the sheer “wow factor” go ahead and click on that review and read all about it.