Online Sources of Food You Need to Know About Now
In these unsettling times when even a trip to your local grocery store seems risky, it’s good to know there are many online food purveyors who can deliver premium provisions right to your door.
To help you sort through myriad options, Steven has given us a peek at his “little black book,” a virtual compendium of sources he trusts for America’s premier meats, seafood, and more. Years of scouting for the best foods for his TV shows (including Project Fire and Project Smoke), some seasons of which have been shot in rural locations, have given him an appreciation for the miracle of online provisioning.
Steven Raichlen’s Favorite Online Grocery and Gourmet Food Stores
Here is an introduction to ten of his favorites:
Meats and Poultry
One of the questions we often get from our readers is “Where can I buy a really great steak online?”. Since 2015, Crowd Cow has worked hard to deliver healthy, high-quality meats from independent farms to quality-obsessed consumers. You get the exact cuts and quantities you want, delivered straight to your door. (Crowd Cow was the source of the amazing Japanese A5 Wagyu brisket Steven wrote about last year.) Crowd Cow also sells chicken, pork, and exclusive cuts not sold anywhere else in the U.S. All of their meat gives you full transparency into where your food came from, with no subscription and no need to bulk order.
Founded in 1962 by Alvin Joyce, this is one of America’s premier suppliers to restaurants and in-the-know-cooks of heritage breed poultry, including French Poulet Rouge chickens, guinea hens, pheasants, and turkeys (available seasonally). They also source bison, rabbit, grass-fed beef, and heritage breed pork from small farms in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Virginia. Joyce Farms provided the wood hearth chickens featured on “Primal Grilling,” Episode 206 of Project Fire.
Steven’s love of lamb led him to John and Sukey Jamison, proprieters since 1976 of Jamison Farm in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Just last year, he wrote a blog explaining why he believes the Jamison’s grass-fed lamb to be among the best he’s ever eaten. Jamison Farm has been providing lamb for Steven’s TV shows for more than 15 years, not to mention his birthday dinners.
Though it’s impossible to track, we’re pretty sure Idaho-based Snake River Farms is indirectly responsible for much of the food porn (can you say, “42-ounce tomahawk”?) you’ve seen on social media sites frequented by grillers. Yup, their American Wagyu beef and Berkshire (Kurobuta) pork have been making carnivores swoon for nearly 50 years. Steven is personally partial to meats that have never been frozen, and depending on your needs, Snake River Farms can provide fresh or frozen options.
The American system of grading beef puts Prime at the very top. Unfortunately, only 2 to 3 percent receives this superior rating, and most is sold to high-end restaurants and steakhouses, putting this taste and textural experience out of reach for most Americans. Happily, the Chicago Steak Company can help. With one of the largest meat-aging facilities in the U.S., Chicago Steak, located near the Union Stock Yards, can deliver dry- or wet-aged prime steaks right to your door. (Most are aged 6 weeks, giving them superlative flavor and tenderness.) Free shipping is available on orders of $99 or more.
And for something completely different, here’s a company that sources the best cured meats and charcuterie in North America—everything from jerky to Spanish jamon and Italian salamis. It operates like a “wine of the month” club, although one-time gifts and sampler packs are available as well. Great for people eating strictly Paleo or keto.
Steven was raised in Baltimore, obligating him to be a card-carrying crab evangelist for one of the state’s most well-known foods. (Their sweet corn is a story for another day.) Cameron’s, based in Rockville, Maryland, has had a significant retail presence in the area. But it wasn’t until a customer from West Virginia made a 6-hour round trip to get a bushel of blue crabs that Cameron (yes, there is a real Cameron) decided to start shipping his products nationwide. In addition to Maryland crab and Alaskan crab legs, the firm also sells shrimp, lobster, and many prepared foods. Free shipping on sampler orders.
There aren’t too many American chefs who haven’t heard of Melissa’s, the country’s largest supplier of specialty produce. (With nearly 1000 products in stock at any time, they’ve assured us there is no need to hoard.) For many years, they have supplied Steven’s shows with camera-ready fruits and vegetables—no small feat. And we know who to call when we need the sweetest peaches, colorful potatoes, Hatch chiles, fresh lemongrass, etc. Founded by Joe and Sharon Hernandez in East Los Angeles, the company’s website is a treasure trove of information and recipes guaranteed to up your plant-based game.
This Greenwich Village gem, founded in 1940 by Spanish civil war veteran Murray Greenberg, sources cheese, charcuterie, and other specialty products from around the world. Well-known in foodie circles, we hear it has been inundated with orders since NYC went on lock-down. However, if you’re not in a hurry—the website indicates April 21 will be the next shipment date—you’ll be able to stock up on some magnificent cheeses and pantry items.
Hopefully, you’ve been doing more grilling since everyone’s sticking close to home. If you’re getting tired of the same old flavor combos, we have an antidote: Steven’s line of barbecue sauces and rubs, six different flavors of each. The sauces include Lemon Brown Sugar, Chipotle Molasses, Smoky Mustard, Cabernet Rosemary, Cherry Beer, and Spicy Apple. The rubs, which take their inspiration from American barbecue and other grilling cultures, include Carolina Pit Powder, Malabar Steak Rub, Santa Fe Coffee Rub, Fennel Pepper Rub, Kansas City Smoke Rub, and Greek Island Herb Rub. You’ll have trouble picking a favorite!