Thursday, September 22, 2016

Plaid Cow Society Grass Fed Beef Subscription Review plus 20% Off Pre Order Promotion!

Plaid Cow Society is determined to turn back time by sending glorious, hand-cut, freshly butchered grassfed beef right to your door. When I was a kid, that's how we ate our beef. The butcher came to grandma's and took care of business then and there. The gigantic freezer in the garage was then packed with paper-wrapped packages of beefy, porky and goaty goodness.

Life doesn't really work that way anymore. At least not for me or anyone I know. I've been buying grocery store meat without regard for it's previously frozen state for a long time. It's not easy to find truly grassfed beef without hormones or antibiotics. But that's where Plaid Cow Society comes in.
Plaid Cow deals directly with ranchers, packers and butchers to send fresh, never frozen cuts of grassfed (and finished) beef right to your door. The beef comes from family farms located primarily on the West Coast. You can see the full list here. My packages say these were packed on the 16th and my meat showed up on the 18th. That's pretty fresh.

The Cost: $129/month per shipment

What You Get: You'll receive 16 meals in 12 cuts for a total of 6-7 pounds of fresh, never frozen, grassfed and finished, free-range, hormone free beef. It's what's for dinner.
Plaid Cow Society is committed to providing only the safest meat with the most transparent information. Their website is, as they mention, not very polite but it gets the job done if you want to order tasty meats.

Here's the important bits:

-Grassfed and Finished
-No Antibiotics
-No Hormones
-Humanely Raised
-Raised and Butchered in State

For those who are curious about the organic state of the beef, it hasn't been certified. That doesn't mean it isn't, it means that this is a small company without resources currently to fund official certification. I expect it will happen sooner or later.
Every week or two weeks, depending on your subscription choice, you'll get twelve individually packaged, vacuum sealed cuts of meat. This week in my box, I got Skirt Steak, Tri-tip, ground beef, top sirloin, new york strip and flat iron. There were two of each cut and the ground beef packages were each one pound.

Based on the website, the cuts can even include ribeye and filet mignon on occasion. Now THAT makes it really worth it. It seems like this is about $10 per cut. Their website advertises it as low as $8.75 per meal which is probably true because the ground beef serves four and some of the cuts are big enough to share. My guess is that it probably all evens out in the end and you'll be getting a better price average for what you're eating than you would at Whole Foods. You just have to be willing to be surprised with every box. :)
Each cut has guaranteed weight range written on the package. When I weighed all mine out, they were all on the high end and one was an ounce over. So there's no skimping. The other thing I have to note is that everything is trimmed to perfection. I'm the pickiest thing ever when it comes to fatty bits but I didn't even need to touch these with a knife.
Plaid Cow Society doesn't just stop at delicious cuts of meat. You'll also be provided with information about the cuts, where on the cow they come from and how to prepare each one. That's above and beyond what I was expecting, I have to admit. It's a welcome addition, though. I found the information very interesting because sometimes I *do* wonder what part of the cow the meat comes from. In this case, the chuck is highlighted. I usually get that to make stew meat with. It's not exactly steak material.
The cooking instructions were a little bare on detail but I'm imagining now that the subscription is up and running, they'll be a little more informative. The one glaring omission was the lack of mention about what temperature to cook the meat at. I cook meat all the time so it's no big deal to me but I can imagine that might cause problems for someone a little less experienced in the meat dept.
I used my own seasoning, for the most part, and prepared most everything the way I normally would. I did marinate the flat iron steaks in my favorite marinade ever (it's made of soy sauce, ginger, lime, toasted sesame oil and cilantro) and they came out very well.
I sliced up the sirloin and used it to make stirfry. The meat was so perfectly trimmed I had nothing to discard. That is one of the best bonuses. Plaid Cow prides itself on this. It is quite true that I may buy cheaper meat at the store but I do end up removing so much that I'm basically throwing away money.
It really ends up being a lot of meat. I used both sirloins for the stirfry, adding peppers, onions and garlic. The meal turned out well and we even had leftovers.

VERDICT: I will say that with just my husband and I, this was a LOT of meat and I had to freeze some. I love meat but there's a limit when it comes to eating it every single day. I think of all the meat we got the only cut we didn't care for was the tri-tip. Too tough but that's just what it is. I should have prepared it differently and that would have helped. I am very curious to see the kinds of cuts that appear most often. I would buy extra ground beef if I could. The cuts of meat depend on what's available from the individual ranchers. I'm not sure if that means even each person may get a different balance of items or what.

One thing I want to mention is that the Freeze By date on the packaging was ten days after I received the box. That's a long time and I was skeptical that it would last that long. It did. In fact, it lasted well over that date. I didn't put the extras into the freezer until day 15. Even at that point, the meat still smelled great. When unfrozen later, it was absolutely fine. So it lasts a LOT longer than anything I've ever purchased at the grocery store.

Honestly, I have to say that the biggest difference we noticed in this grassfed beef compared to what we normally eat is the leaness. This meat is very lean. I love that but my husband did not. He likes a marbled meat, especially with steaks. Otherwise, it tastes like meat. The benefits are mostly internal. Grassfed beef has higher levels of Omega 3's, vitamin E and CLA's which are good for heart health and may protect against cancer. In that respect, grassfed wins.

If you would like to sign up for Plaid Cow Society, you can do that here. If you're quick, take advantage of their 20% off pre-order promotion! Click the orange button near the top of the page, plug in your email address and zip code and you're off! UPDATE: It looks like you now can get 30% off! (10/11/16).

Currently (and sadly) they are only shipping on the West Coast. They're based in California so CA, AR, NV, OR, WA, UT, CO, ID are able to subscribe. If you are NOT on that list and you want to be, go HERE, scroll down to the bottom and tell them! I do think they are hoping to roll out nationwide by the end of October but we'll see.

What do you think of this program? Do you think this is a good way to get grassfed beef? Worth it?

*this box was sent complimentary for review purposes. all opinions are mine. i have a lot of them so I don't skimp when doling them out.

3 comments:

  1. I think the concept is OK for people who can't get grass fed, hormone- free locally sourced beef. It's not a problem here in Texas. :)

    However, and some people are not going to understand this, I have a serious problem with the name of the box, " PLAID COW".

    People in Europe and some in the USA and possibly Canada suffered and died from " Mad Cow" disease, correctly called BSE, or Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis.
    This is a fairly recent thing too,so families and friends of the infected and deceased still hurt and remember.. I have cared for one person with a variant of BSE called Crutchfield- Jakob Disease or vCJD and I KNOW how rapid and horrible the disease is, and how quickly death comes, with no treatment available beyond supportive care measures.

    The name is ill- chosen at best, which causes me to wonder about the maturity level of the whole operation.

    If you get sick from some meat from them, which I sincerely hope you don't, are they going to send dead black roses as a get well sick joke, or look into their supply and distribution chain for quality assurance?
    Just my opinion as a person with great empathy for the victims of BSE, which was almost always called " Mad Cow disease" by lay persons.

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    1. I have to admit that I did notice it rhymed with mad cow. However, I can't imagine that there was any negative forethought to their name choice.
      The meat was fresh and well-packed and I had no reservations about eating it. All of the meat is from the US (West Coast mostly) and with their focus of providing meat free of hormones and antibiotics, all the indicatons point to them taking the quality of the beef very seriously.

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    2. I didn't mean to insinuate that they would deliberately source " bad" or otherwise tainted beef.

      I think the name choice either had NO forethought, or there's someone at the company with a very warped sense of.. I can't even call it humor, sorry.

      Why not " The Denim Cow" or The Burlap Cow" if the name was meant to convey down home, country- farmed cattle?
      I have considered this before I posted my initial post, and my conclusion is that it was done on purpose.

      Mostly, I'd like to know " Why?" That's all. No condemnation on their products, but on their sensibility and respect for those who suffered the worst possible rapid progression from young, robust health to horribly gruesome deaths as can be imagined.
      After having been that close to just one person who suffered and died, I would not even consider ordering from them if they hand-delivered to my kitchen door.



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