Cooks Venture vs Butcher Box Compared

I’m kind of done with grocery store meat. By grocery store meat, I mean meat that’s been mass-produced (usually with the help of injected saline and antibiotics) and shipped across the country or world to end up in your fridge at a somewhat low price per pound and even lower quality. I’m sick of meat that has no real flavor (I’m looking at you, giant grocery store chicken breasts), and the fact of the matter is, factory farms make me really, really sad.

Recently, I’ve been getting my meat through various delivery and subscription services that specialize in high-quality, responsibly raised meats. I’ve tried several that I liked, but they all have their slight differences, so I decided to compare Cooks Venture vs. Butcher Box to see how they stacked up to one another.

Find the best meal delivery service with our guide: How to Find the Best Meal Delivery Service

Bottom Line Up Front

I like both Butcher Box and Cooks Venture, but I prefer Butcher Box for their selection and sustainable seafood options. If you prefer the flexibility of not signing up for a subscription, you should definitely check out Cooks Venture. They also get bonus points from me for how transparent they are about their mission, sources, and commitment to sustainability.

Cooks Venture vs. Butcher Box Compared: Main Differences

  • Butcher Box is a subscription service, whereas Cooks Venture is not.
  • Butcher Box has eight boxes to choose from, whereas Cooks Venture only has two.
  • Butcher Box carries more than 50 products at any given time, whereas Cooks Venture carries closer to 20.
  • Butcher Box sells seafood, whereas Cooks Venture does not.
  • Cooks Venture sells lamb, whereas Butcher Box does not.

What Is Cooks Venture?

cooks venture unboxing and review
Image by Lauren Vigdor

Cooks Venture is a pasture-raised, sustainable meat delivery service. They’re not a subscription service. Instead, you’ll have to place an order with them whenever you want a box delivered, but they will deliver high-quality frozen meat straight to your door.

Mission and Focus

Cooks Venture’s mission is to create a more sustainable and ethical food system. They focus on animal welfare, sustainable farming practices, and regenerative agriculture, which means that they prioritize the health of their animals and the pastures they live in. The animals they and their partner farms raise are given access to spacious, natural outdoor environments where native vegetation is planted, and the soil’s health is regularly tested.

Selection

Cooks Venture’s cornerstone has always been their chicken. Unlike their other meat, which is sourced from outside farmers, their chickens are raised on an 800-acre farm in Arkansas that the company owns. They’re Cooks Venture’s proprietary heirloom chicken breed, known as the pioneer, and were bred from heritage chickens to be healthy, flavorful, and hearty enough for pasture living.

Beyond that, Cooks Venture sources their pork from a farm in Missouri and their beef from New Zealand and California.

The meats available through Cooks Venture include the following:

  • Pasture-raised heirloom chicken in cuts like breasts, wings, thighs, sausages, and whole or spatchcocked chickens.
  • Heritage slow-growth kurobuta pork in cuts like pork shoulder, chops, ground pork, and bacon.
  • 100% Grass-fed, grass-finished beef in cuts like ribeyes, brisket, ground beef, NY strip, and sliced beef.
  • 100% Grass-fed, grass-finished lamb in cuts like chops, roasts, and ground lamb (though no lamb was available when I ordered).

One thing worth mentioning is that items tend to sell out, and you can’t see what’s sold out—it just isn’t available. For example, when I placed my order, they had sirloin steaks and chicken broth available, but now neither is listed on the website.

Cooks Venture is GONE!

Unfortunately, Cooks Venture made the difficult decision to close their doors as of November 2023. A good alternative for regenerate chicken and meat is REP Provisions (one of my favorite new meat delivery companies).

Try REP Provisions Instead
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Read our complete review and guide here: Cooks Venture Review and Unboxing

Boxes and Prices

You can order from Cooks Venture by choosing one of their box sizes (either six items or 12 items) and then selecting the individual items that go in the box. You can’t order individual items separately; they don’t sell curated boxes like Butcher Box does (see below).

The baseline cost of a box from Cooks Venture is as follows (shipping is free to the 48 contiguous states but is subject to an additional fee for Alaska and Hawaii):

BoxPricePrice per Pound
Regular (6 items)$169.99Approx $9.50-$14
Large (12 items)$299.99Approx $8.50-$12.50

Note that some items carry an additional cost that will be added to that baseline box price. For example, adding the applewood smoked bacon (which is actually two 1.5lb packs of bacon) will add $3 to the total cost of your box, and adding the ribeyes (a pack of two) adds $10. My “price per pound” numbers above were calculated based on the average price and weight of items that don’t come with an upcharge. If you fill your box exclusively with ribeyes, you could end up paying closer to $30 per pound.

It’s also worth mentioning that, as I said above, with the bacon and ribeyes, many of Cooks Venture’s “items” are actually multiple items in one—don’t worry; you’re not paying close to $170 for six chicken breasts! When you add one order of chicken breasts to your box, you’ll get two 1-1.5lb packs of chicken, but it will only count as one of the six or twelve items needed to fill your box.

Website, Ordering, and Delivery

Ordering from Cooks Venture is very straightforward. All you have to do is click “shop now,” and select your box size, then select the items you want. My only real complaint about the ordering process was that it took about a week before my order was processed, then a few days more before I received my delivery.

The meat is vacuum packed and placed in an insulated reusable tote with gel ice packs and dry ice, then shipped in an insulated cardboard box. The box and insulation are both recyclable.

What Makes Cooks Venture Special?

The quality of their meat and their commitment to sustainable, environmentally friendly practices are what really stand out to me. They’re particularly known for their pasture-raised heirloom chicken, which they raise to sell not just through their website but through other quality meat retailers as well. Of the things I tried from them, I think my favorite was the pork shoulder, but everything was high-quality, fresh, and very flavorful.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Some of their items, like their heirloom chickens, are things you most likely won’t see at your local grocery store.
  • They’re committed to sustainability, animal welfare, and responsible practices.
  • They deliver to all 50 states.
  • You get to choose which cuts go into your order.
  • I felt like I got good value for my money with the amount of products that came in my order.
  • Their meat is leaner and more flavorful than much of the stuff you’ll find in regular grocery stores.

Cons

  • One or more items are often out of stock, and it’s hard to tell what might be coming back since they don’t list sold-out items on their website.
  • They don’t currently carry seafood (though they state that it’s coming soon) or game meat.
  • It took them more than a week to process and deliver my order.
  • Shipping to Alaska and Hawaii costs extra.

What Is Butcher Box?

butcher box

Butcher Box is a meat subscription box specializing in high-quality organic, pasture-raised, and grass-fed meat. They offer a curated selection of meats and several different subscription boxes. All of their meat is raised without added hormones or antibiotics.

Mission and Focus

Butcher Box’s mission is to make high-quality meat more accessible to everyone. The company focuses on animal welfare, supporting farmers, sustainable agriculture, and community. They source their meat from small-scale farms that follow ethical and environmentally-conscious farming practices.

Selection

Butcher Box offers a curated selection of meats, but they carry a wider variety of cuts than Cooks Venture does. At any given time, they carry about twice the number of items that Cooks Venture does, including items not available from Cooks Venture, like seafood and convenience items like breaded chicken tenders and veggie burgers.

The selection available from Butcher Box includes the following:

  • 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef in cuts like NY strip, ribeyes, roasts, steak tips, brisket, burgers, and ground beef.
  • Free-range, organic chicken in cuts like breasts, wings, thighs, drumsticks, tenders, ground chicken, and whole chickens.
  • Humanely raised pork in cuts like bacon, pork butt, chops, tenderloin, ribs, roasts, and several types of sausage.
  • Wild-caught seafood like Alaskan sockeye salmon, gulf shrimp, scallops, cod, smoked salmon, and salmon burgers.
  • Other options like ground bison, chicken tenders and nuggets, veggie burgers, and hot dogs.

Subscriptions and Prices

Butcher Box has two different plans, the Custom Plan and the Curated Plan. Each plan is available in two different box sizes and will ship every four, six, or eight weeks.

  • The Custom Plan is a fully customizable box. You pick the type and specific cuts of meat you’ll receive. With the custom plan, you’ll get 20% more meat than with a curated plan, and you’ll be able to choose from any of Butcher Box’s available meat and seafood.
  • With the Curated Plan, you’ll choose the types of meat you want to receive, and Butcher Box will pick the cuts. You can choose from either “beef, pork, and chicken,” “beef and pork,” or “beef and chicken.” Seafood is not available as part of the curated plan.

The cost of a Butcher Box subscription is as follows (all Butcher Box subscriptions come with free shipping.):

PlanSizePricePrice per Pound
CustomClassic (6 items, 9-14 lbs)$169$12.07-$18.78
CustomBig Box (12 items, 18-26lbs)$306$11.77-$17
Curated (3 boxes available)Classic (8-11 lbs)$146$13.27-$18.25
Curated (3 boxes available)Big Box (16-22lbs)$269$12.23-$16.81

Just like with Cooks Venture, some of the “items” in your Butcher Box subscription will actually be multiple items. For example, if you add one “chicken breast” item to your box, you’ll actually get about three one-pound packs.

In addition, they pretty much always seem to have a deal going for a free product (or several months’ worth of free products) when you sign up for a subscription. Their limited-time offers are usually listed right on their homepage.

Website, Ordering, and Delivery

butcher box pork

To sign up for a Butcher Box subscription, select either “get started” or “choose your plan” from the company’s website. You can then select your box size/type, and if you choose a custom box, you’ll select the cuts that you want in your order.

After you choose your curated box or select the items you want in your custom box, the website will prompt you to select your “deals.” Honestly, these are just add-ons. Most of the ones offered to me were available to choose as items in my custom box, save a few things like organic lunch meat and egg bites.

It’s hard to determine a set price per item when it comes to the subscription boxes since you pay by the box, but it seems to average out to around $22 to $25 per item. Since the “deals” items I was offered were around $10 to $16 each, some for multiple packages, I think it’s safe to say they are good deals—provided you want any of them.

You can receive deliveries every two, four, or six weeks. If you want to change the day that your order is normally delivered, Butcher Box suggests switching the billing date on your account. Your order will be delivered two to five days after your selected billing date.

Your Butcher Box order will be packed in an insulated cardboard box with dry ice. Butcher Box’s packaging is 100% recyclable and made from recycled materials. Their shipping is also carbon-neutral.

What Makes Butcher Box Special?

Like Cooks Venture, Butcher Box’s quality helps them stand apart from many of their competitors. Their curated selection contains enough variety to allow for picky eaters and keep meals exciting without overwhelming their customers with too many options.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • They carry a larger selection than Cooks Venture.
  • They have eight different boxes to choose from.
  • They’re committed to animal welfare and sustainable, eco-friendly farming practices.
  • All of their meat is high-quality and free of added hormones and antibiotics.
  • They have organic options available.

Cons

  • They don’t currently carry lamb or game meat other than ground bison.
  • They don’t deliver to Alaska or Hawaii.
  • Pound for pound, it’s slightly more expensive than Cooks Venture.

Alternatives to Consider

If you don’t think that Cooks Venture and Butcher Box are right for you, consider one of these alternatives instead.

  • Meat N Bone: Meat N Bone is an online butcher shop and subscription service. They carry a vast selection of products, including poultry, beef, pork, lamb, seafood, and game meats. Their subscription boxes are similar to Butcher Box’s curated boxes—you select which proteins you want, and they choose the cuts for you. I prefer shopping from their a la carte butcher shop, where I can access their full range of products. You can read my Meat N Bone review here.

Elevate Your Eating | Meat N’ Bone

Meat N' Bone offers over 400 different cuts of meat along with a wide selection of sides, spirits, and cooking hardware. The company's marketplace offers premium seafood, game, beef, poultry, pork, and lamb. Some of Meat N' Bone's most popular items include dry-aged and alcohol-infused steaks.

Check Price
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  • Good Chop: Good Chop specializes in high-quality meat and seafood sourced in the United States. All of their meat and seafood are responsibly raised and sustainably sourced. They offer two different subscription sizes, both of which are shipped once a month. Like Cooks Venture or Butcher Box’s custom boxes, you’ll choose which cuts go into your order. You can read our full Good Chop review here.
good chop meal
  • Crowd Cow: Crowd Cow is another subscription that sells sustainable meats and seafood, including grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, and wild-caught salmon. They’re one of our favorite sources for Wagyu beef. They offer both a curated and a custom box, and they don’t have a set number of items needed to fill their custom box—as long as you hit their minimum of $99, you can select as many or as few items as you’d like for your subscription. You can read our full Crowd Cow review here.
crowd cow box

FAQs

Question: Once I choose my custom Butcher Box subscription, can I change it?

Answer: Yes, you can change the selection in your custom box any time before your billing date (you can also change your box type and size).

Question: Is grass-fed or grass-finished better?

Answer: Grass-fed cows are fed grass for most of their lives but are often “finished” on a grain diet to bulk them up in the last few months before slaughter. Grass-finished cows live exclusively off grass once they’re weaned from their mothers. Grass-finished beef is leaner and often more flavorful than grass-fed beef.

Question: Does Butcher Box carry Wagyu beef?

Answer: Butcher Box doesn’t carry Wagyu beef, and Cooks Venture only has it occasionally. If you’re looking for Wagyu, I recommend Holy Grail Steak. You can read my review of them here.

Final Thoughts

While I like both Cooks Venture and Butcher Box, Butcher Box’s slightly more extensive selection and their wild-caught seafood make them the better choice for my needs. However, they are somewhat more expensive than Cooks Venture.

I liked everything I tried from Cooks Venture and would consider shopping with them again, but I wasn’t thrilled about how often they seem to sell out of certain things. (I really would have liked to get my hands on some grass-fed lamb or one of their spatchcocked chickens!) That being said, I love how committed they are to animal welfare and regenerative agriculture. I think they’re a great option if you’re primarily a chicken-eater or don’t want to commit to a subscription service.

Continue reading:

ButcherBox vs Wild Pastures Compared

Butcherbox vs Good Chop

Best Paleo Meal Delivery Services: The Paleolithic Diet at Its Best in the Modern Era of Delivery!

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