Kitchen & Cooking

This farm will deliver premium meat to your door—but is it worth the price?

We tried the American Wagyu beef for ourselves

If you're a meat connoisseur, you need to know about Snake River Farms. Credit: Snake River Farms

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If you’re anything like me, chances are you’re consistently unimpressed by the meat selection at your local grocery store (which has been even more sparse during the pandemic). The prices are low but so is the quality, and my boyfriend and I will actually drive quite far out of our way to patronize a store with better cuts of protein when we’re craving a delicious steak dinner.

For this reason, my interest was piqued when I heard about the latest craze of getting premium meat delivered from companies like Snake River Farms. Not only does this company promise flavorful, high-quality meat from family-owned farms, but having meat delivered to my doorstep would also save me time (and gas) when grocery shopping. That’s a win-win in my book, so I happily offered to take Snake River Farms for a trial run.

What is Snake River Farms?

What Is It
Credit: Snake River Farms

Snake River Farms specializes in American Wagyu beef.

Snake River Farms is a livestock farm that’s part of the larger company Agri Beef, which produces beef and pork products in the U.S. Snake River Farms is based in eastern Idaho, and it's well-known for its American Wagyu beef, which has earned a grade of USDA Prime, the highest level available. The company also notes that its beef is featured in a number of Michelin starred restaurants. In addition to producing the highest grade meat available, the company prioritizes sustainability in its business practices, as well as animal well-being and overall food quality and safety.

When you go to the Snake River Farms website, you’ll see it also sells meat from Double R Ranch, another Agri Beef farm based in Washington State.

How does Snake River Farms work?

How does it work?
Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

Your meat is shipped frozen in a reusable thermal bag.

With subscription meat services such as Crowd Cow or ButcherBox, you receive a box of frozen meat on a monthly recurring basis, and you often don’t have total control over what’s in your shipment. With Snake River Farms, on the other hand, you get to pick exactly what meat you want, and boy, do they have a lot to choose from!

As you browse the site, you’ll see that they split their offerings into a few categories. First, there’s Snake River Farms Wagyu beef products, including everything from roasts, briskets, and ribs to ground beef and hot dogs. Next, they offer an impressive selection of Kurobuta pork products, including pork chops, ribs, bacon, and more. Finally, in a separate section, you can shop beef from Double R Ranch, which is generally less expensive.

Just like with any other online store, you can pick and choose the meat you want and have it shipped to your home. The frozen meat is packed in a reusable thermal bag and surrounded with dry ice, and it will arrive in one to three days with standard shipping.

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How much does Snake River Farms cost?

What does it cost?
Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

Snake River Farm meat is significantly more expensive than your average grocery store protein.

At this point, you might be thinking to yourself, “It sounds great—what’s the catch?” Given the quality and care that goes into producing this high quality of meat, it probably won’t come as too much of a surprise that the prices are significantly higher than the “two-buck chuck” from your local grocer.

For instance, a pound of American Wagyu ground beef costs $14, and a bone-in New York strip steak will run you $80. (As mentioned above, the meats from Double R Ranch are somewhat less expensive, but we didn’t test them this time around.)

You also have to pay for shipping, and there are three options to choose from:

  • $9.99 for Standard Shipping (Ground)
  • $39.99 for Express Shipping (2-Day Air)
  • $79.99 for Overnight Shipping (1-Day Air)

Standard shipping is available within the contiguous U.S., while shipments to Alaska and Hawaii must use Express. You can also have packages delivered on Saturdays for an additional $15 fee.

Here’s what we thought of the meat

With premium prices like those, you’re probably wondering if the meat lived up to the hype. We tried out several products, and here’s what we thought of each one.

American Wagyu Ground Beef

Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

I did a blind taste test to see if I could identify the expensive meat.

On one particular rainy summer day, my boyfriend and I came up with the idea to do a blind taste test of the American Wagyu Ground Beef (which costs $14) against regular ground beef from the grocery store, which cost about $6.

My boyfriend got to play chef for the night, and I tasted the two hamburgers to see if I could tell which one was made with the Wagyu beef. Frankly? I couldn’t tell the difference at all. If anything, the cheap meat actually made a juicer burger, likely because it had a higher fat content.

Later in the week, we used the rest of the Wagyu beef to make Sloppy Joes, and again, it didn’t elevate the dish at all. When the meat was gone, we both agreed we wouldn’t pay $14 for more of it.

Verdict: Pass

American Wagyu Gourmet Hot Dogs

Hot Dog
Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

I loved the flavor and delicious "snap" of the Snake River Farms hot dog.

On the other hand, the American Wagyu Gourmet Hot Dogs, which cost $12 for five, definitely stood out from store-bought versions. The hot dogs are significantly larger than average, and they have a thick casing that gives them a delicious snap! Plus, the meat is incredibly flavorful, especially if you can get a good char on it. I would definitely buy these again, especially if we were hosting a cookout.

Verdict: Buy

Kurobuta Frenched Pork Chop

Pork Chop
Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

The Kurobuta pork chop was unbelievably flavorful and moist.

We also got a Kurobuta Frenched Pork Chop, which costs $17 for a 5-ounce cut. (The price drops if you order four or more.) My boyfriend doesn’t like pork chops, so I cooked it up one night when he wasn’t home. I brined it for around an hour, then pan seared the meat with a maple-cider glaze and served it alongside roasted brussels sprouts.

Let me tell you: That was the best dang pork chop I’ve ever eaten. It was moist and flavorful, and I could have eaten two of them! I even picked up the bone to scrape the last bits of meat off with my teeth—something I never do. While the price initially gave me sticker shock, I am a total convert, and I’d definitely buy several of these pork chops to serve on a special occasion.

Verdict: Buy

Is meat from Snake River Farms worth it?

Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

The Snake River Farm pork chops would make a great special occasion meal.

If you’re tired of eating flavorless, gristle-laden meat from your local grocery store or are just a meat connoisseur looking for the crème de la crème of beef and pork, you can't go wrong giving Snake River Farms a try. While we wouldn’t necessarily buy certain items again, we were impressed overall with the quality of the meat, which was flavorful and delicious, as well as the easy and quick ordering and delivery process. Plus, you can feel good buying from them thanks to their sustainable and humane business practices.

However, if you’re not a total meat enthusiast, the high prices might deter you—I know I’d have a hard time justifying spending $17 on a single pork chop. Personally, I don’t think I’ll use Snake River Farms meat for everyday cooking in the future. Instead, I’d rather save it for special dinners or events when I really wanted to wow people.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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