With Father's Day approaching, you're probably looking for a unique gift for the special man in your life. And since summer and grill season are also on the horizon, we researched some of the most popular mail-order steak companies to find out how much moo you get for your moolah.
What you get: Omaha Steaks offers a wide selection of packages for all tastes and budgets. There are a handful of gift ideas under $50, such as four filet mignons, six filets wrapped in bacon and several combinations of cuts. Mid-range options (below $100) give you a bit more food - usually about eight to 12 steaks per order. The pricier gift packages (ranging from $100 to $200) usually offer higher-quality cuts and more quantity -- anywhere from eight to 16 pieces of meat.
Shipping costs: Shipping is not included on any orders and costs will vary by location, delivery options and the size of your order. You can find a full description of shipping costs here. Based on our research, approximate shipping costs are as follows: $17.99 on a $50 order (4 filet mignons); $19.99 on an order of $100 (8 filet mignons); and $21.99 on an order of $160 (16 steaks).
Delivery options: All orders are a one-time delivery, unless you sign up for the monthly steak plan that provides recipients with two filets mignons and two boneless strips every month for 12 months. Your order will arrive in an insulated, reusable cooler packed with dry ice.
Kansas City Steaks
What you get: Kansas City Steaks is comparable to Omaha Steaks in terms of variety and costs. You have the option to select gifts that are under $50 or $100, and over $100. However, Kansas City steaks has a better selection of monthly steak plans - there are packages that can be delivered on a three, six or 12-month basis. All orders include a seasoning packet, an exclusive cookbook and a personalized gift note free of charge.
Shipping costs: The biggest advantage of Kansas City Steaks versus Omaha Steaks is significantly lower shipping costs. Kansas City Steaks charges $4.95 per order and per address. (There is a $30 additional charge for residents of Alaska and Hawaii.) Orders are delivered in two days unless you request overnight delivery ($8).
Delivery options: You can purchase a single order or sign up for a monthly delivery plan. All orders are sealed in Cryovac packaging and placed in a company box, which is then shrink-wrapped in plastic and shipped in a Styrofoam container that's filled with dry ice.
What you get: Lobel's earned the best rating in our steak report. (Note: It has been a few years since this report has been updated.) However, you have to be willing to splurge: Lobel's steaks are substantially more expensive. Gift packages will cost you anywhere from $185 to $2,000.
Shipping costs: Rates vary by the price of your order and the zone in which you live. You can refer to this chart to determine the exact shipping cost of your order, which are higher than other steak purveyors, considering the minimum fee on an order up to $100 is $23.95.
Delivery options: Meat is shipped in vacuum-sealed packages. Your order will be hand-packed into a Styrofoam cooler and preserved with frozen gel packs. Lobel's claims that their food is able to withstand 48 hours of unrefrigerated shipping.
What you get: The Wall Street Journal recently did a roundup of the best grass-fed beef, and Alderspring Ranch was among the top-rated in taste tests. It is also rated the best grass-fed steak in our report. Alderspring Ranch allows you to purchase single steaks or larger quantities. More affordable options range from $7 to $20 per steak, while better cuts are priced from $20 to $40 per item. Please note that Alderspring Ranch has a minimum purchase amount of $75. Although they don't offer gift suggestions or monthly packages on their web site, any order can be shipped to another address. You also have the option to attach a card and add a personalized message.
Shipping costs: Prices will vary by order, location and method of shipment. A web feature allows you to calculate the exact shipping cost before you checkout. Shipping and handling fees are the most expensive we've seen: On a $75 order (the minimum purchase amount), the lowest shipping option is a steep $27).
Delivery options: Alderspring Ranch does not give specific details on their packaging or preserving techniques. However, they do say their meats are packaged to stay frozen for 3-4 days.
Recent reviews on mail-order steak companies are seemingly impossible to find. If you ordered from any of these companies or from other steak suppliers, we'd love to hear about your experience.