Years ago, when I was learning to drive, my driving instructor told me he used to be a butcher, first in a traditional butchers’ shop and then in a supermarket. As we drove along, he used to tell me all sorts of things about quality meat, from sourcing to packing.
Being a food geek, I listened avidly and learned a lot about why butchers are so often better than supermarkets. The meat is often fresher, it’s not got anything added, and usually it’s fully traceable.
Here are ten of the best online butchers who operate online in the UK, who will post your meat order to you in special cold-packed boxes for home delivery. Some specialise in different areas (such as organic or grass-fed meat) and these have been highlighted where applicable.
Online butchers are ideal if you don’t have a local high street butcher, as is sadly so often the case these days. It’s also more convenient to have meat delivered if you’re too busy to go to different places to source good meat. Meat direct from a butcher is often much better quality than you’d find elsewhere, and it’s cheaper than you might think.
1. Piper’s Farm
Best for: Wide variety of top-quality British meat
Piper’s Farm has been around since 1989 and they’re definitely one of the best online butchers in the UK. They source their meat from small family-run farms around Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Cornwall. Quality rules here, with plenty of free-range and grass-fed options, including wild game.
You can either get mixed meat boxes or choose roasts, cuts and more, as you would with a high street butcher. The variety is enough for all tastes – from sausages to a saddle of venison. It’s all top-quality meat, slow-reared by people who really care about animal welfare. This is reflected in the taste and texture.
My favourite section is what they call “weird bits” – bones, offal and cuts of fat. If you’re a keen home cook like me, you’ll want some of these to make your own stocks and gravy. There’s also REAL beef suet – try finding that in a supermarket!
Much like getting fish that is frozen soon after being caught, their meat is hung and then blast-chilled so it’s fresh-frozen for better taste and texture. All portions and cuts are individually wrapped to minimize waste.
Besides all this, they also have tasty offerings like artisan cheese and other items like pastries and marmalade, so you could almost do a complete shop.
They offer free delivery to almost everywhere in the UK with a certain order amount and their courier offers a 1-hour delivery window, so no waiting in all day for the parcel. They’ll even accept the packaging back to be recycled, which is why I consider them the best online butcher. Visit their site here.
Best for: Scottish meat and pies
If you want a friendly, customer-centric butcher online, then Rendalls are a good bet. Many people are unaware that Scotch beef and Scotch lamb both carry a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), a scheme designed to protect quality agricultural products.
It’s the same protection given to other top-notch regional foods such as Parmesan cheese or Melton Mowbray pork pies. I lived in Glasgow for a while and can vouch for Scots meat being of a very high standard.
Rendalls are based in Stirling and is run by two brothers from Orkney. Besides the usual steak, chicken, pork and other products, they also stock their award-winning pies. Instead of steak and ale, they’ve perfected steak and Buckfast – it shouldn’t work, but it does!
Rendalls also stock many exotic meats (obviously not from Scotland), such as zebra and llama if you’re feeling very adventurous. If you’re not, then their offers on popular products are very good – at the time of writing they are running a “fill the freezer for £70” deal containing many different cuts of chicken, pork and beef.
Unlike many of the best online butchers listed here, they honour their island heritage by delivering to all the Highlands and Islands – it may take a day or two longer, but if you live somewhere in the remotest part of Scotland it’s good to know that you have a native butcher who will serve your area. Visit Rendalls Butcher here.
3. Muscle Food
Best for: Cheap and bulk deals on good quality meat
Musclefood originally started out focusing on sports supplements and high-protein snacks, but then expanded into the online butcher market. For per-unit costs, they are probably the cheapest online butcher in the UK.
If you want to buy meat online in bulk then they are well-known for their multi-buy and bulk meat offers. You can buy meat by the kilo – for example, you can opt for 5kg of chicken breasts packaged into pairs for convenience and choose whether you want small, standard or large-sized chicken breasts in the order.
Musclefood also stocks other popular meat such as mince, steaks, and sausages – including grass-fed and free-range options. Those who are watching their fat intake can take advantage of their ‘super lean’ versions of almost anything, from mince to bacon.
They specialise in “hampers” where you can mix several meats in bulk at a very competitive price. They sometimes go all-out and offer a buy two, get one free on entire hampers.
They also stock fish, both fresh and frozen, and other snacks, drinks and supplements aimed at those slimming, bodybuilding, or just trying to eat a healthier diet. Every product is individually reviewed by customers so you can see how others have rated everything for taste, value and so on.
Delivery covers most of the UK, except some remote islands – check their site for details. Most products are delivered within 24 hours and you can get SMS confirmations on when to expect it, too. Visit the Musclefood site here.
Tip: If you’re short on storage and want to bulk freeze meat to save money, check out our guide to the best freezers for the garage.
Best for: Luxury Cuts and Hard to Find Meat
Fine Food Specialist is where you go when you can’t find it anywhere on the high street, even from specialist butchers, or if you just want absolute top quality.
Need a side of Kobe beef, sweetbreads, an Iberico pork chop, or a Wagyu selection box? You’ll find it here, along with other chef favourites like rabbit, guinea fowl, quail, veal, or artisan terrines, burgers and sausages.
My favourite “hard to find” item that Fine Food Specialist has are the “red label” French corn fed chickens. There are even chef videos on the site (pairing the latter with morels) for further inspiration.
Some ‘regular’ meats like lamb are also prepped in professional ways, such as lamb noisettes or duck confit legs – making it easy to stock up for a dinner party and pretend you did it all yourself.
As you might imagine, it’s a bit spendy, but good meat isn’t cheap, and cheap meat isn’t good. There’s not just meat, by the way – you can get anything from edible flours to obscure herbs and spices worthy of a MasterChef final.
Delivery varies in price, but if you order by 11am they can get it to you the next day. Food is frozen and packed with dry ice, with extra layers in hot weather – something I’ve not seen other companies do. Visit Fine Food Specialists’ Meat section of their site here.
Best for: Huge range of frozen meat (and fish) products
Known as “Scotland’s Finest Butcher”, Donald Russell holds the Royal Warrant for supplying the Queen with meat and poultry. They were one of the first butchers to sell online, and are well-established in the home delivery market. All of their beef is grass-fed, and everything is cut by hand.
Unlike some other online butchers who ship meat fresh, Donald Russell ship their items frozen in ‘chill boxes’. This means that they can offer a much wider range of products than an average online butcher such as stuffed and boned roasts, pies, casseroles and many more items made in-house alongside their traditional cuts of meat.
They use Feefo for reviews on each item available so you can check for yourself if other people have enjoyed that particular product. Their steak (aged for 28 days) is very popular.
Since they’re Scottish, it’s unsurprising that Donald Russell have a good selection of Scotch beef such as Aberdeen Angus, available in many steak cuts and as ready-made burgers. There are some free-range options, too.
If you want to buy fish at the same time, you can. They also offer a variety of seafood, including many items sourced in Scotland, such as crab claws from the Hebrides or Scallops from Shetland.
Their delivery policy offers a wider scope than many other online butchers. They cover the UK mainland, but do also cover further afield such as the Highlands, Ireland and the Channel Islands. Delivery to the UK mainland is free with a minimum spend. Visit the Donald Russell website here.
Best for: Farmers Market Style Choice and Quality, But Online!
I knew The Real Food Hub was quality when the first thing I saw in their meat section was a Belted Galloway Meat Box. The site is just like visiting a quality farmer’s market, but from home – and having it all delivered to you.
The choice here is vast, and all top quality – from Welsh Wagyu to a whole free-range goose from Essex. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for, here – it’s not cheap, but you’ll get quality food that is entirely traceable to small British suppliers who care about their products.
I ought to mention that meat isn’t the only thing on offer from the Real Food Hub – you can get almost anything, including wine, pantry and deli items – all with the same focus on (mostly independent), high-quality producers. I’d happily spend half my savings on their cheese section!
Note that delivery is handled by individual supplies, so you may receive separate parcels, with separate delivery times and prices. If it’s just meat you’re after, you can almost always get it in the same package from one trusted supplier.
Best for: Quality Organic meats
Planet Organic are famous for their “health food” reputation, but most people don’t know that they also have a specialist organic meat section.
Planet Organic works with British farmers, suppliers and butchers who all meet the requirements to be labelled “organic” – and very often their products are grass-fed and free-range as well. Organic food can sometimes cost a bit more, but it’s worth it in terms of quality.
There’s a wide range – including cooked meat like sliced chicken for sandwiches, plus some imports that meet the same standards, like proper Spanish chorizo.
I like that you can stock up on loads of other quality food items at the same time – rather than ordering lots of different bits from different websites. I usually buy bone broth from here, too. Visit their main site here (there are usually offers displayed here, too).
Delivery covers most of the UK mainland but not the Highlands and Islands, and you get free delivery over a certain amount. Fresh food is given a nominated delivery day, so you can be sure you’re in.
Best for: Huge Selection of Hard-to-find Cuts, Ethnic and Halal-friendly
Being both an avid traveller and keen cook, I’m pretty adventurous with food. I often end up trawling the local ‘international’ butchers to try to find cuts used in African, Indian, Caribbean and Asian cuisine. It’s usually hard to find, so I was really pleased to find the London Grocery, to save myself the trip and have everything I need delivered.
For example, if you’re planning to cook a Jamaican goat curry – they have goat meat. Making a Spanish rabbit stew? They have the rabbit meat. Chicken gizzards for a stock? It’s all here. The choice is pretty staggering, too – from quail and pigeon to lamb sweetbreads, up to very high quality grass-fed Scottish cuts of beef.
The best part is that they don’t just have a meat and butchery section. It’s like a gigantic ‘international food’ aisle, where you can get anything from Sri Lankan purple yams to Turkish coffee. Check out their full site here.
Prices are reasonable and special offers run all the time. Delivery is across the UK and free with a minimum spend. If you need or want specialist Halal or otherwise hard to find cuts and ingredients, I’d recommend the London Grocery.
9. Primal Meats
Best for: Ethical meat-eaters, Paleo
Primal Meats are a little different. Based in the Lake District, they offer “nutrient-dense” meats for “eco-omnivore” diets. This means that their meat is sourced from very high welfare farms, and the animals are 100% pasture-raised and grass-fed. They are a good option for anyone who wants a more ethical way of eating meat.
Every cut of meat has its own QR code where you can trace everything about the animal, right back to the farm – with pictures and details of the farm’s management practises. Most of the products stocked by Primal Meats are certified both organic and ‘Pasture for Life’ standards.
Alongside common cuts of beef, pork and chicken I was delighted to see bone broth, goose and one of my favourite meats – hogget – offered too. Those who can’t decide what to eat, or who like surprises, will appreciate their meat box deliveries as these have been well thought out and use many parts of the animal to avoid waste.
There are some for couples, some for feeding families and some that are “surprise”, allowing you to try new ideas and different cuts. Grass-fed meat is sometimes harder to find (except for online) so it’s good to get a selection.
Deliveries are roughly weekly, at a flat rate – check their site for details. They are a small business sourcing from a small number of high-quality farms, so many of their products are prepared to order, and this sometimes take a little longer.
If you don’t mind waiting for sustainable, more nutritious meat, then Primal Meats are well worth considering – you can visit them here.
Best for: High-quality meat boxes including accompaniments
Farmison & Co have won ‘Best online butchers of the year’ more than once, plus a host of other awards. Their motto is “Eat Better Meat”. All their meat is sourced from heritage breeds raised in the UK, (mostly Northern England) and is cut and butchered to order.
They’ll even do a bit of bespoke butchery if you were planning a dinner party or similar, to ensure all portions are the same size. It’s not hard to see why they’re an award-winning company.
Farmison’s meat boxes are unlike any other online butcher in that they contain more things than just the cut of meat you’ve ordered. In many cases they’ve teamed up with the high-end wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd to provide the meat, drink and accompaniment all in one, which is great for special occasions.
For example, at Easter you can buy a premium lamb rack that comes with artisan mint sauce, Himalayan black salt, and a bottle of fine claret.
For those who want a more standard offering they have a ‘three Sunday roast’ box or a ‘breakfast in bed’ box containing everything you need for such mealtimes. Alternatively, you can order standard meat cuts on their own such as steak, chops, mince, sausages and roasts.
My favourite thing about their site is that you can choose which native breed meat you’d like. For example, if you choose fillet steaks, you can then select whether you’d like a Hereford, Dexter, Aberdeen Angus and so on, including the part of Britain it’s sourced from. I’ve never seen this before in an online butcher and I think it’s great.
Their delivery spend threshold is quite low compared to other butchers and their chilled packaging means it keeps cool for up to 72 hours during delivery. For a supplementary delivery fee they will deliver to the Highlands, Ireland and even further abroad to the continent on request.
Overall, I hope this article has given you an insight into some of the best online butchers in the UK – I’d recommend them over supermarket meat any day!