Item: Carnivore Club Cured Meat Subscription
Price: $50 per box
Overall Impression: This is a great way to sample artisan cured meats from across the country.
Living in Europe exposed me to all the wonderful delights of cured meats, where they were not only easy to find, but usually fairly inexpensive. Back here in the States, more and more artisan producers are cropping up, but it's hard to sample a wide variety of them since they usually aren't as widely distributed as cheeses.
Carnivore Club, a monthly cured meat subscription, promises to "Satisfy Your Inner Carnivore" with handcrafted meats, so I gave it a try!
Carnivore Club: A Quick Summary
Characteristics and specs: Four to six cured meats in each box.
Favorite details: Minimal packaging and no refrigeration is needed until you open the box. Flexible subscription plans or you can just purchase the current month's box for a slightly higher price. The enclosed Meat Eaters handbook explains the artisan producer of the month and the enclosed cured meats.
Potential problems: You have to peel and slice the meats yourself and might not be able to slice some of them to the ideal thinness. One cured meat was mislabeled.
Who would love this? This would be a great Father's Day gift or subscription for those who like the craft of cured meats and want an exciting variety. It's also great if you throw a lot of dinner parties or like to unwind with a glass of wine, cheese, and salumi.
My Review of Carnivore Club
The craft of cured meats has a long history, and it's been interesting seeing the rise of interest in charcuterie-making in America. Restaurants now serve homemade charcuterie, and I feel like cheese counters and cheese shops are making some room to carry a nice variety of artisan charcuterie and salumi too.
How Carnivore Club Works
Carnivore Club is a box of four to six cured meats. The meats are all made and shipped directly from one artisan producer, and the producer changes each month. The highly designed box looks like wood and also contains a handbook (really a flyer) that describes the producer and each of the enclosed meats.
The boxes can be ordered on a one-time, monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly basis, and I really liked the flexibility of this, as it can also work well as a one-time gift.
What Was in My Carnivore Club Box
The Carnivore Club box I received was from Artisan Meat and Cheese in Bozeman, Montana, and arrived in a mailing envelope. I liked that there was very minimal packaging, but the box was sturdy and fancy enough to look like a nice gift.
Although they recommend storing the meats in the refrigerator once you receive the box, Carnivore Club's website says that the meats are individually sealed so they can be stored at room temperature at least a month. This also means that you don't have to worry about being home to intercept the delivery of the box since it's not highly perishable.
The beautifully photographed and designed "handbook" described the producer, had a gorgeous photo of all the meats, and named and described each enclosed meat. It also had a suggestion for how to cook with one of the meats and had a nice primer on the differences between Spanish and Mexican chorizo.
The five meats this month were all dry-cured: Peperone, Chorizo, Orange Peel Wild Fennel Salami, Saucisson Sec, and Salametti. Each one was individually wrapped with the ingredients listed and easy to identify. Unfortunately, two were labeled with salametti and I didn't see a chorizo. Once I opened each one and tasted them, though, I figured out that one of the salamettis was mislabeled and was actually the chorizo. If you were unfamiliar with either one, though, it would've been hard to figure out.
The box also included a bonus spice packet and recipe from RawSpiceBar, a spice blend subscription. This packet was a Peruvian spice blend, and I'm excited to try it in the roast chicken recipe enclosed with it.
All the cured meats this month arrived whole and unsliced. I peeled back and discarded the casings before slicing, which is my preference, but I also realized that some people might not know if they should remove the casing before eating. It's probably a preference thing, but it would've been nice if they had some kind of guidance on whether or not you need to do it.
Slicing up cured meats can be a bit of a tricky thing — some meats are best sliced very thinly, since a too-thick piece can be tough and chewy with unpleasant big pieces of fat. You probably don't have a deli or meat slicer at home, so while this box contained things I could easily slice by hand, I wonder if other boxes contain unsliced cured meats that would really be best shipped pre-sliced.
Slicing aside, though, all the cured meats were absolutely delicious — the wild fennel had a hint of sweetness, the chorizo was garlicky and pungent, and I used the peperone to top some homemade pizza. I had a craving for something really savory the other afternoon, and it was pretty awesome to reach into the fridge and slice up some salami to nibble on.
The Carnivore Box is a great subscription for the meat lover in your life but would also make a fun one-time gift. If you like to throw dinner parties and are looking for appetizer ideas, subscribing to the boxes means you don't have to hem and haw in front of the grocery store deli case or cheese counter. Getting to discover a variety of cured meats from all over the United States and Canada, plus having them shipped right to your doorstep, is pretty darn fun.
Find it! Carnivore Club, $50 / month
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.