**Update – As of June 2018 ZayconFresh has stopped all services and seems to be headed to bankruptcy. Any orders that were outstanding have been canceled. As far as I can tell no one is receiving refunds for any outstanding orders.
While Zaycon has been a great service for my family, it does not appear they will be resuming service and have closed permanently. If you are looking for a meat delivery service I would recommend Butcher Box as an alternative option.
If you have never heard of Zaycon Fresh then you are probably missing out on one of the best ways to buy fresh, high quality meat.
That’s right, I said meat and that includes steak and bacon.
If that doesn’t get you excited to get a better understanding of this great way to save money and eat amazing meat, then you are probably a communist (or worse, you like cats) and should leave my blog right now.
I am going to cover why I love buying meat from Zaycon and how this whole crazy system works to get you great meat prices.
What is Zaycon Fresh?
Zaycon Fresh (formerly Zaycon Foods) started out in 2009 and is a privately owned company based out of Spokane, Washington. They partner with farmers who have the best meats and make them available to you without having to go through a middle man grocery store.
You do have to buy your meat in bulk. So when I buy my Zaycon Chicken, I get 40 lbs of it in one box. That’s right 40 lbs. of yummy boneless skinless chicken breasts. What’s even better is when I get 36 lbs of bacon all at one time.
Selling from the farmers and directly to you helps them keep prices low and product at premium quality. I have been unbelievably pleased with the products I have purchased and am looking forward to buying other types of meat in the near future.
Sign up for a Zaycon Fresh Acccount. It is free and you can see the upcoming meat events that are coming to your area.
How Does it All Work?
It isn’t complicated but describing this whole thing in words is best described in four steps
1. Sign Up With Zaycon Fresh
It doesn’t cost you any money to sign up with Zaycon and if you never spend a dime because you think this bulk meat thing is weird that is fine. But, if you do want to place an order you will have to give them your information so you can pick up your package at a location near you.
2. Find an Event and BUY SOME MEAT!!
This is not a grocery service. There are events that happen a few times a month and they sell different types of meat. Since you are buying in bulk it does not make sense for them to offer the same meat every time. After one month I still had 27 lbs of bacon left so I don’t will not be ordering bacon again for a long time (yes I froze it all).
You pick your event by how far you are willing to drive to pick it up. I live in rural South Carolina and there are two even locations that are reasonable for me to drive to. So don’t think you will be driving an hour for your pick up.
3. Pick Up Your Purchase
Let me be honest with you, this is my favorite part of the Zaycon experience. You drive up to the back of a refrigerated tractor trailer, roll down your window and hand the person your printed receipt, and they load the box of meat into the back of your vehicle for you.
Now I grew up in a conservative Christian home and have maintained that lifestyle throughout my life. I have never been involved in an under the table hush hush type of deal. But when I go and pick up my Zaycon meat I get to pretend like I made a deal with the mob and am getting my payout secretly dropped into the back of my car. IT’S AWESOME!!
I have heard that some of the meeting places are behind bowling alleys. That would be even cooler than the church parking lot I go to.
Some of you will think it sounds a little shady and it feels that way the first time you pick up your purchase but just show up to the location you selected and it will be obvious where to go and what to do. It really is simple.
Zaycon meat is so good you would slap your grandma to get to it. Yes, it is THAT good (and yes I was born and raised in the South). This meat does not fall into the organic category but it is one step below with no chemicals or hormones and it is super fresh. If you get some Zaycon Fresh meat and don’t like it, then you may need to ask God to forgive you of your sins and to stop punishing you by not allowing you to enjoy his gracious gifts.
Types of Meat You Can Get from Zaycon
Zaycon offers a wide variety of meat. While they do some special events for other meats from time to time the meats they sell on a regular basis are:
My first experience with Zaycon was back when they were called Zaycon Foods. I purchased the 40 lb box, picked it up at a local church and drove away. As you can see in the picture to the right he box was well packed. What you see there is a system of bags. There is a large sealed outside bag with four additional bags inside, that hold the chicken. On top of that the people where I picked up the chicken placed a trash bag in my trunk just to make sure there was no leakage in my vehicle. So as far as packaging they did a GREAT job.
This picture shows you how big the chicken breasts are. If you are used to buying chicken at the grocery store, they have already cut the breasts in half for you. So you don’t see this butterfly look that you get with this type of meat. That is a standard size steak knife to give you an idea of how large the chicken breasts are. So what you are getting is boneless and skinless, but it is not fatless. So you have to trim these bad boys down a bit to get them ready for cooking. As you can see this was my first time, and I am pretty much a novice in the kitchen anyway, so I tried three different knives to see which one works best. That fork is for my wife who is a little squeemish about touching raw meat.
Chicken Breasts Pros
The biggest Pro of this transaction was the price. I only pais $73.60 for 40lbs of chicken. Before taking into account cutting off the fat, that means the price per pound for boneless skinless chicken breasts was $1.89, that is a great way to save money on your groceries. I figure I lost about 5% in cutting so it works out to more like $2 a pound of chicken you will eat. The other major factor that made me try Zacon was that the meat is all natural. So no hormones or antibiotics to worry about. Also the meat has never been frozen so you are buying actual fresh meat. Finally, they have a referral program. You get $1 for every order that someone you refer places. So make sure you use my link to sign up because I am hoping to make my chicken even more affordable ;-).
Chicken Breasts Cons
OK so the real pain here is in prepping 40lbs of chicken. This took me several tries since I didn’t like standing at the island in our kitchen for more than about 45 minutes at a time. This can go pretty fast if you are just cutting but we decided to do a few pre-made crock pot recipes, add the chicken to them and then freeze the whole thing together. This way you can just dump all the contents of the bag into the crock pot one morning and turn it on (even I can handle that). So prep time is the definite downer here.
UPDATE – I purchased my most recent round of chicken and split it with another family. The guys decided we were going to tackle the task of cleaning the fat off the chicken. So we formed our assembly line. I washed the chicken off and put them on a cutting board and my buddy used kitchen sheers to cut the breasts in half and cut off the fat. Once a cookie sheet was ready to put into our stand up freezer I would stop washing the chicken, take the cookie sheet out and replace it with another one so my friend could keep going. This went SUPER fast. We were done with all 40 lbs of chicken and had them in the freezer in less than 1.5 hours. Now if you do not have a large stand up freezer you won’t be able to hammer it out this fast, but this systems was MUCH better.
Other chicken products currently available through Zaycon Fresh
- Fresh Whole Chickens
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- Jumbo Chicken Tenderloins
Zaycon will also offer some seasonal chicken products. They include:
- Breaded Chicken Fritters
- Chicken Drumsticks
- Chicken Sausage Patties
- Chicken Wings
I have yet to go wrong with ordering any chicken from Zaycon and this is where the company made their name across the money saving community.
I have ordered pork products from Zaycon Fresh at least five different times. My first experience was their AMAZING hickory smoked thick sliced bacon, of which I currently have 21 pounds in my freezer. The bacon comes in twelve, three pound vacuum sealed packages. For the math averse out there that is 36 lbs of Bacon (I’m salivating just thinking about it).
For my most recent purchase we got 10 lbs of center cut pork loin. It was not vacuum sealed but came in a single box that looked like this.
The pork was in plastic on the inside and had several different layers of pork loins. They were all individually frozen and very easy to take out of the box. We plan on putting them into freezer bags eventually, but for right now this works great. Here is what ten pounds of yummy white meat goodness looks like.
Other pork products currently available from Zaycon Fresh are:
- Boneless Applewood Smoke Ham
- Pork Tenderloins
There are several other types of pork that have been offered by Zaycon in the past and should make a comeback at some point in time. They include:
- Applewood Smoked Ham
- Pork Sausage Links
- Meaty Back Ribs
- Bacon wrapped pork filets
There have been others and as they expand or find great deals with the different processors there will be more.
Zaycon Fresh Beef
The most popular Zaycon ground beef has been the 93/7 super lean and it tastes awesome, but they recently introduced another product of 80/20 ground beef. Both of these varieties come in 40 pound boxes. Each box contains four ten pound chubs. I just received my first ground beef order and was able to easily open the chubs, separate them into one pound portions, put them in freezer bags and then freeze them in my stand up freezer. With my wife taking the bags away and placing new ones on the scale the process went very quickly.
Currently the only other type of beef offered by Zaycon is USDA choice chuck roast. I have yet to order this one, but it looks AMAZING!!
I am not a lover of sea food. If you cannot run after it and kill it, I am out. However, my wife loves seafood so we compromise and eat seafood from time to time. Right now Zaycon only offers two types of premium seafood products. They are wild Argentine red shrimp and wild Alaskan cod fillets.
How Much Does it Cost?
Now money saving is always the name of the game at this website so let’s get down to brass tacks. Let’s start with the three types of meat I have ordered from Zaycon.
Chicken – The boneless skinless chicken breasts are consistently less expensive than what you can get in the grocery store.
Bacon – The bacon is not an amazing deal. If you get the cheapo thin sliced not so great stuff at Aldi you are going to save money. My last order cost me $3.79 a pound and the price fluctuates with the market. If you compare to similar quality bacon you are saving about 20¢ a pound. Of course this doesn’t count the convenience of just walking out to your freezer and defrosting the bacon at home.
Center cut pork loin – I got that for $3.29 a pound which is 70¢ a pound cheaper than what I could get at Aldi for a comparable cut. And I will say the quality is amazing. My wife made a round of pork loin for us and it was GREAT!! Once again you get the convenience of just going out to your freezer to get your meat instead of hitting the grocery store.
Zaycon Fresh Coupon Codes and Other Prices
When you compare Zaycon Fresh prices to comparable cuts or product in the grocery store you will pay the same or less for what I have found to be a superior in quality.
What makes sure that you get better prices is to sign up for an account, and when you do, make sure you are getting the e-mails. These e-mails will update you when a product becomes available, but they will also inform you of any discount coupon codes. For example, I just made a purchase of 80/20 ground beef for $2.79 a pound. That is pretty close to the grocery store price. However, I used a coupon code for 20% off that purchase to get my ground beef at $2.32 a pound. That is a dead killer deal.
The Zaycon coupon codes come on a regular basis and are a great way to save even more on top quality meats.
Zaycon really covers their bases. I have read both good and bad reviews but in every case where I have talked to someone that had any sort of bad experience, Zaycon Fresh has made the situation right. That being said I have not seen any recent reviews where Zaycon has had any problems.
This is a really great way to purchase high quality meats at more than reasonable prices. If you have any questions or an opinion on Zaycon Fresh leave a response in the comments.
DC @ Young Adult Money says
I’ve been looking for a better way to source meat direct from farms, so thanks for the suggestions. I would still want to check out the ethical standards the farms hold themselves to, as this is my biggest concern when it comes to buying meat. Thanks again for the referral!
Try the chuck roast it is fabulous, we have made 2 of them so far and love them. I have been a Zaycon Devotee since 09 and love love love them! Don’t forget that if you buy 40 lbs of anything and your box is only 39lbs (they weight every case) you get a credit in you account towards your next purchase.
Katharine Seelye says
The location near me shows a pick-up window for only 30 min. wide. It is not possible for me to get to that location mid week within that 30 min. window. I haven’t ordered for this reason. My freezer is begging to be filled! I also don’t love having to place my orders so far in advance. I wish the order to pick up were closer to 30-45 days apart rather then 6 mos. Who has time to plan that far in advance?
Gary West says
The products they deliver are good and you can get some really good pricing. Of course, you’re buying it in bulk and, in many cases, doing part of the processing and packaging yourself, so a better price is to be expected.
I’ve made quite a few purchases from Zaycon, a total of 53, to be exact, and the products they deliver conform to what they say they are supposed to be. The problem I’ve experienced with Zaycon is that they are NOT a reliable distributor. Once a date for pick-up is offered and I agree to make a purchase, the delivery date changes. Overall, this isn’t a big problem and it only occurrs from time to time.
Amy Stanley says
I’ve been buying their breasts for a few years now. And it’s NEVER taken me (all alone) that long to cut the fat off and process to freeze. I take 2 to 3 breasts (after separating) and cut off fat (very minimal), then use the Food Sealer on them and throw them all in the freezer. It takes me, maybe 1. or 1 -1/2 hours to finish 40 lbs.