PHOTO: Rastellis
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Lately, many of us have had to find creative solutions to new problems. Even a simple task like going to the grocery store can pose a threat, and we’ve had no choice but to adapt.

If you want to avoid crowds at the supermarket, for example, opting into some grocery delivery services is a great alternative so you can keep up your social-distancing. Meat delivery services in particular provide an easy way for you to get your proteins dropped off right at your door.

We decided to test one of the most popular meat services, Rastelli’s, to see for ourselves what it’s all about. What we found was an easy, convenient and, most importantly, delicious solution that leaves little to complain about.

How it works

Rastelli’s meat delivery offers a wide variety of proteins for home delivery (including plant-based faux meat). You can select from all sorts of boxes, with options from ground beef and pork chops to plant-based chicken and wild-caught tuna. Rastelli’s even offers whole chickens and turkey roasts for those special occasions. You can order any of these once, or set up a recurring delivery in periods of every two, three, four or six weeks.

We opted for the chicken thighs, New York strip steaks, salmon and precooked pork ribs. All this meat made quite a big haul, and in a household of two we’re expecting it to last a little over a month.

Our Rastelli’s package came sealed in a styrofoam box, and inside was a glorious assortment of frozen meat and seafood. Rastelli’s is experiencing some slower shipping times at the moment due to the pandemic, and on its website the company notes expected delivery times as approximately seven to 12 business days. Despite the extended time in transit, the meats arrived completely frozen, thanks to small bags of dry ice packed into the box.

Frozen meats from Rastelli
Frozen meats from Rastelli's

Each of the meats came in its own plastic packaging. The salmon was incredibly convenient, with individually packaged filets; we could just rip off two pieces to thaw while we kept the rest in the freezer. The other items we received weren’t wrapped individually, so when we wanted to cook two steaks, for instance, we had to thaw the entire pack of five. This was a little bit of an inconvenience, as you either have to refreeze the meat and risk losing some of its fantastic flavor, or you have to eat three more steaks before they go bad (not the end of the world, by any means). So when you’re putting in your order, just make sure to note how everything is packaged and adjust to your family size.

Clean, superior taste

For the most part, the meats we received from Rastelli’s tasted great. All the products are flash-frozen, so you can be sure that their original flavor and texture have been preserved as much as possible. The only one that we didn’t love was the precooked ribs. We feverishly cooked throughout the week to sample each item we received. It takes a little planning, since you have to factor in thaw times, but we would just throw whatever we wanted in the refrigerator the night before, and it worked out perfectly.

We kicked it off with Rastelli’s Faroe Island salmon filets ($59; rastellis.com), which set the bar incredibly high. Once thawed, the salmon was a gorgeous orange-pink, and the flesh was nice and sturdy. We made a roasted salmon with salsa verde, which was super easy to cook and tasted out of this world.

Faroe Island Salmon Filets
Faroe Island Salmon Filets

The fish was pillowy soft and perfectly flaky — just what you want from a piece of salmon. It tasted clean and wasn’t overly oily, which is one of my biggest gripes with a lot of the salmon from the supermarket. In all honesty, it was one of the best pieces of salmon I’ve ever tasted, let alone cooked. The end product is a testament to Rastelli’s painstaking sourcing; its salmon is sustainably raised in free-flowing pens in the North Atlantic Ocean. With a little loving preparation, Rastelli’s salmon is definitely a top-notch product that tastes like something I’d expect from a fancy restaurant.

Up next were the boneless skinless chicken thighs ($35; rastellis.com), which we put into this one-pot gingery chicken and rice recipe.

Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

We’re big fans of chicken thighs in general, because they’re pretty easy to keep tender and they’re packed with flavor. The chicken from Rastelli’s met that standard, although it was pricier than normal. The recipe we used called for the chicken to slowly cook in the same pot as the rice, so the final product was mouthwateringly tender. It definitely tasted a step above the chicken you’d normally get at the grocery store, although our package had one thigh that was cut up into weirdly sized pieces. Ideally we’d want them all to be whole, but as it was only one out of the four thighs we used, it wasn’t too big of a deal.

The next meal we cooked was the New York strip steaks ($59; rastellis.com) in this simple recipe with blistered tomatoes and green beans.

NY Strip Steak
NY Strip Steak

We were really looking forward to the steaks, given how good the salmon and the chicken thighs were. The cuts from Rastelli’s tasted fantastic. Generously seasoned and quickly cooked in a cast iron pan, the steaks had a deep, delicious flavor. They were soft and juicy, much better than what we normally get from the market. There were bits of tough fat, which is pretty standard for a New York strip, so we didn’t mind it much.

Lastly, we followed the directions on the packaging to cook up Bubba Q’s precooked ribs.

Bubba Q
Bubba Q's Precooked Bone-In Pork Ribs

All it needed was a quick stint in the oven, making it the easiest to cook out of the four, but the taste didn’t live up to the prior meals. The meat itself was definitely tender, but the texture was almost too soft. It was also drenched in a thick, Carolina BBQ sauce that tasted bland. We’d much rather have gotten the ribs raw and experimented with it ourselves.

We thoroughly enjoyed most of the meals we cooked with Rastelli’s meats, especially the raw meats. The salmon definitely stood out the most, and while the ribs weren’t amazing, everything else tasted well above grocery store quality. But this quality doesn’t come out of nowhere — Rastelli’s goes to great lengths to ensure all its products are outstanding.

The delivery service takes responsible sourcing seriously. Rastelli’s works closely with farms that have a long history of high standards, plus it requires affidavits from every farmer guaranteeing that their products don’t use any steroids, antibiotics or hormones. All this ensures you can trust the meat that you get is clean and delicious.

Rastelli’s owns and operates its own facility, so it can uphold high standards such as meticulous cleaning and high-quality butchering. These practices are in place to produce the best product possible; however, if you aren’t happy with your meats, Rastelli’s will refund all or a portion of your purchase price.

The bottom line

All the meats we tasted were convenient, easy to work with and, in most instances, delicious. Out of all the products we tried, the salmon by far outshone the rest. But no matter what you choose to order, getting meat from Rastelli’s is impressively simple.

So if you’ve been curious about meat delivery services, you won’t go wrong with Rastelli’s. The prices are fair, considering the portions and how fresh it tastes. The abundance of high-quality, delicious meats makes Rastelli’s a great, convenient source for your proteins — even after it’s safe to go back to your local grocery store.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.