You don’t just have to depend on that expensive grocery store to stock wild Alaskan salmon. Now there are a handful of high-quality fishing operations in Alaska that will ship mail order salmon right to your front door. This eliminates the middleman, lowers the price, and increases freshness. It’s all in your control when you order online. We have a grid below where you can compare wild salmon delivery companies for their King and Sockeye options.
|Company||$/lb||Min. Order Cost||Reviews||Rating||Website|
|Sea to Table||$31.00||$24.00||2,784||4.7||website|
|Fulton Fish Market||$38.10||$50.68||604||4.4||website|
|Alaskan Salmon Co.||$42.00||$189.00||N/A||N/A||website|
Important Tips? for Shipping Wild Caught Salmon
- Mail order Alaskan salmon ships frozen. When the catch comes in, it is cut up and flash frozen minutes after being pulled from the tank. When you hear the term “seal in the freshness”, this is how it’s done. The only way to get fish that “has never been frozen” is to visit a fish market in a coastal town. Sometimes, even in those special situations, it’s still been frozen.
- Typically, fish is shipped as a 2-day delivery when dealing with frozen seafood. (Maine Lobster delivery is typically shipped overnight with live lobsters). Each salmon company will basically build a cooler inside of a cardboard box, lining it with Styrofoam or whatever the latest and greatest material might be. They’ll add in some dry ice and cold packs, and your catch will arrive frozen and ready for the fridge or the freezer.
- Alaskan salmon shipping costs are going to feel high because of the quick turnaround time from places like Bristol Bay that aren’t even that close to Seattle (5 hour flight), let alone Atlanta or Phoenix or Ketchum, Oklahoma. Shipping will likely be $59-$119 for an average family-sized order. Keep in mind that, at above some price levels, shipping is typically included. We don’t love that way of doing things, as it obscures costs, but it is the norm.
- There are a decent number of buying options, from type of salmon to cuts to quantities. It’s not a crazy amount, but it does catch people off guard. The rest of this page is here to help you make the best decision for your meal.
Which Type of Salmon Should I Buy?
Even the best mail order Alaskan salmon companies don’t carry every type of salmon, so it’s critical to educate yourself on the various types and how they taste.
King salmon – Velvety soft with a dense, meaty texture and just a hint of sweetness, this is almost certainly the best type of salmon money can buy.
Sockeye Salmon – Its intense flavor and the deep reddish color of its flesh stands out from the paler coloring of other types of salmon.
Coho Salmon – Frequently compared to king salmon, but with a firmer texture and orange-ish or peach-colored meat. In many ways, it’s the most underrated salmon species.
Keta Salmon – With a mild taste and flaky texture, Keta has a combination that makes it very “easy to eat,” especially for first-time buyers.
Pink Salmon – Similar to keta in terms of its mild taste and perception as a lower-grade wild salmon, the biggest difference with pink salmon is that it isn’t as flaky.
How Do You Choose Which Salmon to Order?
You are on our site, so you are getting our opinion. Others may disagree, but here it goes.
Buy king salmon for special occasions. Think of it like an expensive wine or top shelf whiskey. You aren’t drinking this every day, but only when someone special is around or something special has happened. When you order it, eat it right away for the freshest experience. That’s what you’re paying for, after all.
Sockeye salmon has robust flavor and doesn’t need a lot of help from a recipe. If you like the taste of salmon like we do, then sockeye salmon is the species to just add salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon and you’re good. Same goes for King.
Coho salmon is a solid, everyday salmon. High and flavor and with a decent fat content, Coho (or silver) has enough flavor to stand on its own, but it can also take a heavier recipe really well. If you are eating salmon 2-3 times/week, this will be your go-to for a high-quality taste experience.
Pink salmon is for recipes. If you have a high-flavor recipe, such as something with a spicy-mustard or maple brown sugar, pink is going to be the way. It will stand up to a few days in the fridge after cooking, so you can make a lot and eat leftovers. (Just don’t cook it again; eat leftovers cold)
Keta salmon is good to add to other dishes. If you want to add salmon to a stir fry or fried rice or a creamy pasta dish, keta is a solid choice. It is the least expensive, while still having flavor, so you’ll get the protein without wasting good money on the higher-quality species only to get blown out by the other flavors of the dish.
Salmon Subscriptions or Buy as You Need?
It is a popular method among salmon sellers to provide subscription boxes that arrive at your house every month, a la a salmon-of-the-month club. This helps a ton for sustainability measures, as it allows a better view of future demand by having people sign up for a year-long subscription. On the question of whether a subscription or pay-as-you-go is better: It’s too personal for us to weigh in. However, we do have some thoughts on salmon subscription boxes that might not be immediately obvious when searching for your best option for mail order wild caught salmon.
- Each salmon box will arrive frozen, so you can store it in the freezer if you aren’t feeling it that week. With meal kits, like Blue Apron and others, you don’t have this same backstop. Just bear in mind that high-quality salmon doesn’t last forever in the freezer. You’ll want to eat it within two months, and ideally within a month, to take full advantage of what you are paying for.
- Typically, people who are part of salmon buying clubs or use subscriptions tend to get additional perks. This can come in the form of early access to their freshest fish and other on-off catches that might be interesting. Just from our experience, over time, they tend to treat these customers more like family and know their tastes and names and such.
How to Store Salmon
No matter which mail order salmon company you are ordering from, it will arrive frozen, and you can move anything you aren’t going to eat soon straight into the freezer. The higher the fat content of salmon (or any fish), the shorter its shelf time in the freezer. King will be at its best for about six weeks, then its freshness will begin to fade. Sockeye will last a little longer, likely 8-9 weeks. Coho, Pink, and Keta, can last longer. Our advice? Eat your mail order salmon within a month, but always as soon as you can for the best taste.
How to Prepare Salmon
This list could be endless, but what we have done is found a great, highly detailed video that captures what is probably the best (for all seasons) way to prepare salmon at home. However, if this one doesn’t do it for you, or you want to try grilled or baked or smoked, just look at the related videos down the right side of the page to match your needs.
For If You Research Everything Like a Crazy Person (like we do)
Then here are some additional resources that we consult regularly and will help you build the walls of your education around salmon.
First, where does the best mail order salmon come from? Well, it all comes from Alaska, and within Alaska, you are going to hear about two places over and over: Bristol Bay and Copper River. There are certainly other high-quality areas, but those two rise to the top. If you want to research a little in maps, we have placed some pins in both places so you can tour around.
Bristol Bay, Alaska Map
Map of Copper River, Alaska
We have the pin on the mouth of the Copper River, but travel upstream and veer north at Chitina, where The Copper River is joined by the Chitina River from the southeast.
Go Deep on Farm vs Wild Salmon Research…
Here are some of the top resources that we cite throughout our content to show the benefits of wild caught vs farm-raised on both the environment and personal health, as this will have a deep impact on which is the best mail order wild salmon company to select for your family.
Fish Faceoff: Wild Salmon vs. Farmed Salmon: Debating the health benefits and risks
Environmental Defense Fund – Salmon Rating
Farmed Versus Wild Salmon: Research Review
Farmed or Wild – Oregon State University
Farm vs Wild Salmon – Washington State Dept. of Health
Alaska’s Wild Salmon – Alaska.gov
Take note of our Affiliate Relationships that may exist with this page and companies listed on it.