Are Mail Order Steaks Better Than Grocery Store Steaks?

Lots of people love steaks. But let’s face it, not all steak is created equal. 

People ask all the time why it’s better to purchase mail order steaks rather than running to the supermarket down the street. Think of it this way: steak is one of the greatest pleasures of life. It’s hard to top a mouthwatering steak that has been sizzled to perfection on the grill. Yet, sadly, when purchasing your meat at a supermarket, this culinary moment can be spoiled as you bite into a chewy, flavorless piece of meat as opposed to the butter-soft, savory experience you were hoping for. The reality is that supermarkets simply do not follow the same principles of quality as most mail order steak purveyors. That’s why countless Americans are electing to purchase meat online.

There are many important reasons why you should consider ordering meat online. But before we look into those reasons, let’s look at some facts to keep in mind the next time you decide (after reading this you might reconsider) to saunter up to the meat section of a supermarket.

Do You Know Where Your Beef Comes From?

In 2016, industrial beef companies who control over 80% of the beef market in the U.S. successfully lobbied to remove the ‘country of origin’ labelling requirements from packaging.

In simple English this means beef and pork sellers in the U.S. aren’t required to tell you which country the beef and pork you’re buying came from.

The gist of the problem is this: many companies selling meat use stock art photos of small farms and say things like “thoughtfully sourced, farm fresh, we work with family farms in the U.S.” However, in many cases, the vast majority of the meat they sell is, in fact, raised in factory-like conditions, in climates where natural grasses do not grow, utilizing inferior breeds which eat low-quality grass pellets before being shipped to the U.S.

Rubbing salt in the wound, it is infuriating to discover that, in fact, beef raised and slaughtered overseas can legally be labeled as a “product of the USA” as long as the final step of butchering into steaks and packaging is done in the U.S.

Such cattle are trucked from cow/calf operations to massive concentrated feedlots where all traceability back to a ranch is lost. By the time it’s being processed at scale, packaged, sorted and distributed through meat brokers, nobody has an idea where it came from in the first place.

The person behind the meat counter at your supermarket typically can’t tell you the country where the meat came from let alone the farm. The added complexity and cost of traceability is exactly why the industry lobbied to remove country of origin labelling requirements in the first place. Prior to this change, a pound of Costco’s organic beef listed 5 countries. Imagine! Five countries on a pound of ground beef, think about that.

This is crazy. Consumers deserve to know the true source of their food. For better beef and pork, deal directly with a company that sources its meat.

Supermarket Meat

Let’s look at a few more reasons why buying your beef at a supermarket is not such a good idea.

Supermarkets Can Legally Thaw and Refreeze Meat Multiple Times

Everytime meat is thawed and refrozen, it affects the cellular structure, which can comprise flavor and texture when finally cooked. Legally, supermarkets can thaw and refreeze meat up to 14 times, and there is no way of knowing how many times the meat you purchase has been through this process. There’s also no way of knowing how long the meat has been frozen, since supermarkets and places like Costco often buy bulk from overseas suppliers.

“Fresh” Beef May Contain Carbon Monoxide

If you’ve ever wondered why supermarket beef maintains that bright red color so well, the answer is, unfortunately, tied to a common practice of treating the beef with carbon monoxide to slow oxidation. In fact, as much as 70 percent of meat sold in stores is treated with carbon monoxide to keep the meat a deceptively red color.

The industrialized meat industry insists that treatment with carbon monoxide is necessary due to the difficulty of keeping the meat at proper temperature while in supermarket coolers.

Carbon monoxide can be fatal if inhaled and ingestion is at a much lower risk, but the practice is unsettling to say the least.

Ann Boeckman, a lawyer with a legal firm for the meat industry says consumers needn’t worry about fake red supermarket meat. “When a product reaches the point of spoilage, there will be other signs that will be evidenced – for example odor, slime formation, and a bulge in the package – so the product will not smell or look right.” Do you feel better after reading that statement?

 

Expiration Dates Are Not Regulated

If you’re someone who plans your meals around expiration dates this may be a hard pill to swallow. In fact, at least 30 states don’t even regulate labelling and most supermarket meat departments are left up to their own labelling.

Coupled with use of carbon monoxide to give the impression that the meat is fresh, this allows the store to change the expiration date on a package as many times as they need to until it sells (or until it gives off an odor). So when you look at a package of meat in your supermarket or big box store and think it’s safe to eat, remember that expiration dates are nothing more than a figment of some meat manager’s imagination.

The Meat Is Likely Contaminated

Factory farms are infamous for tight grounds and even closer quarters. The animals were generally used to roaming free or, at the very least, giving each other the space they needed to grow well and strong. These days, they are forced into smaller areas than humanely acceptable. Most animals can’t actually survive in these conditions, not without the help of their caretakers. To try and maintain some semblance of health among their stock, factory farm caretakers inject their animals with any number of steroids and antibiotics. The food they feed their stock isn’t pesticide free (or even grass most of the time) and that’s just while they’re alive.

Once processing has begun, the conditions are poorly organized and regulated. When an animal is processed in an unclean environment, feces are likely to contaminate the meat. That contaminated meat is then ground, packaged, and sold in your local supermarket. And it’s not just ground beef. Any meat from a factory farm or factory processing center could be contaminated with antibiotics, pesticides, or fecal matter.

You’ll Never Know What You’re Getting in Ground Beef

Have you ever taken a bite from a “perfectly cooked burger” only to grimace at the taste and texture? The reason could be that the ground beef from supermarkets and big box chains (and even ground beef at some fast food restaurants) contains meat from potentially hundreds of cows. This is usually from older, retired dairy cows so the meat isn’t nearly as tender as that from a healthy humanely raised animal. It can often be the most random assortment of cuts from hundreds of different cattle packaged together even more tightly than they were even in their living conditions. This process is what makes you look at your burger and think “something isn’t right.”

Your Supermarket or Big Box Chain Has No Idea Where Your Meat Came from

We touched on this subject earlier but it is important enough to reexamine it. Unless you're shopping with a mail order steak company or at a local farmers’ market, your store likely has no idea where the meat comes from, other than the general direction from which the truck arrived. Even at the processing factory, they have no idea. Often looking for the cheapest buy, supermarkets source their meat from all over the world. Not only is their meat usually from a factory farm anywhere in the world, but it could have been frozen multiple times on its journey to the processing plant and then to the store.

Hard to warm up to supermarket meat after reading all the negatives. But what can a consumer do? As we said in our introduction: consider mail-order steaks. Reasons? Here they are:

Mail-Order Meat

Better Selection

You never know what you’re going to get when you walk into a supermarket in search of meat. Some days, you may be lucky enough to find the cuts you are searching for. However, more often than not you’ll have to settle for what is currently on offer. The difference when it comes to buying meat online is that you will always have the power to select the cuts you want, when you want them. Most online meat companies selections are varied and extensive.

For example, here at Hagan Cattle Company, we offer a variety of beef cuts such as:

  • Porterhouse Steaks
  • Skirt Steaks
  • Rib-Eye Steaks
  • NY Strip Steaks
  • T-Bone Steaks
  • Delmonico Steaks (chuck eye)
  • Tri-Tip Steaks
  • Blade Steaks
  • Flank Steaks
  • Short Ribs
  • Beef Brisket
  • Ground Beef

Better Quality

The beef you find in the grocery store simply does not come within a shouting distance of the quality that you will be able to take advantage of when you buy meat online.

Mail order steaks cover all the bases ensuring taste, quality, and freshness. Most stores can’t offer this type of quality (nor in many cases do they care to). If you want the best of the best, look to Hagan Cattle Company to fit the bill. Our premium-grade meats will not only leave you amazed, but they’ll bring you back to the order page time and time again.

Know Where Your Beef Comes from and How It Is Raised

Mail order steak companies always know and disclose the source of their beef and freely share their methods of production. At Hagan Cattle Company all our animals are raised on our farm located in the heart of Virginia. We also process all our meat. You’ll never get meat from who-knows-where and you can be rest assured our cattle are raised humanely. Our beef is never out of our sight. We are an antidote to fatty, sloppy, casual cuts that the supermarket or big box chains offer.

Maximum Convenience

Online shopping has skyrocketed over the past decade, and the number one reason is that of convenience (second to safety during the pandemic). Why drive all the way to the grocery store, trudge through the aisles, and stand in long lines at the checkout counter when you can get everything on your shopping list online from the comfort of your sofa?

There is no denying that the process of shopping for meat at a supermarket is particularly long winded and tiresome. You have to browse the various cuts and often make tough decisions if and when the cut you were originally looking for is not available. The meat section of a store is most often the busiest and can be frustrating and more time consuming.

On the other side of the coin, you do not have to stress about any of this when you buy meat online. Look over your options, add your favorites to your cart, and checkout in minutes when you’re finished – simple, stress-free, and convenient.

Special Packages and Gift Certificates

When you buy meat online, and at Hagan Cattle Company in particular, you will have the option to save by purchasing special sample or variety packs. These packs have been created to provide you with a flavorsome experience as you explore some unique taste profiles of our most popular cuts of beef. Peruse the “store section” of our website to see our offerings. We also offer gift certificates for your loved ones so that they can purchase their own favorites.

Flexibility

When you order meat online you will be able to choose from a wide range of payment methods –  we accept all major credit cards and offer other options. Here at Hagan Cattle Company, you can also order and pick up if you live nearby from our store in Uptown Christiansburg Mall.

Final Thoughts

There is an ugly side to the meat industry that is just as industrialized as the name suggests. But at Hagan Cattle Company we want to make a difference.

As a family run farm, we take pride in how attentive we are to our entire process. We care about our customers. We recognize that you aren’t just a source of money in our pockets, you’re real people, families trying to eat in a healthy way just like we are. To us, you and your family matter, and we spend every day making sure we provide you with a healthy, quality product you can trust.

There’s no more wondering how to find quality steaks: higher quality meats are found online, not in your supermarket. Try Hagan Cattle Company. Countless cuts to choose from and quality beyond compare, you simply cannot go wrong with our selection of beef. So why not go for it? Order meat online today or contact us for further information. You are only a few clicks away from serving up the most incredible steak you have ever tasted!


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