Dear PoPville – Door to door meat sales?

“Dear PoPville,

Once again, the friendly fellows from Capital Meats appeared at my door this evening, offering AMAZING bargains. (So they say.) Anyone buy from the door-to-door meat guys? Am I missing out on the best kept secret in meat?”

Hmm, their Web site looks legit:

Family owned since 1997, and founded in Winchester, Va., the owners of Capital Meats, Inc. (CMI) chose to focus on consumer convenience without losing quality or value. Always on the run themselves, they found the concept of frozen, individually wrapped portions, a fast and easy solution for their family to still enjoy a nutritious and delicious meal at any time. Capital Meats, Inc. (CMI), now delivers the same convenient solution right to your front door.

CMI sells a variety of quality meats, including steak, seafood, chicken and pork. All poultry, beef, and pork products distributed by Capital Meats, Inc. come from American processing plants, and our seafood products come from a wide variety of national and international locations to ensure you receive the very best quality, regardless of seasonal changes. We receive fresh, frozen shipments each week from the processing and packaging facilities located across America, and then deliver it directly to your door – cutting out the grocery store “middle man.”

All CMI products are USDA inspected and approved. All of our Beef selections are either USDA Choice or USDA Prime. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grades beef products based on several criteria, including marbling, maturity or age, texture, firmness and color. The three grades of beef that you will find in stores are USDA SELECT, CHOICE or PRIME with PRIME being the highest quality. Only 2-3% of all beef in America is graded USDA PRIME, and has at least 8% marbling. You can find these cuts of steaks in the top steakhouses around the country, like Mortons and Ruth Chris’s.

All CMI products are flash frozen and vaccuum sealed. The term “fresh” is highly deceptive. All beef needs to be aged for flavor and can be either dry aged or wet aged for up to three weeks. So, when a store says they have “fresh” beef, they mean that is either beef that has not been aged (and will not have much, if any, flavor), or they mean that the beef has been aged, but never frozen (and will only last for 24-48 hours before the meat will begin to purge their natural juices, resulting in less flavor). Capital Meats steaks have been dry-aged to perfection, and then, at the peak of their flavor and tenderness, vacuum-sealed and flash-frozen.

The vacuum seal locks out any air and locks in all the juices and nutrients. This is important because when air gets into the meat, the meat continues to age and goes bad. The flash freezing process instantly freezes the juices inside the meat, allowing you to keep the meat in your freezer for a long period of time and know that the meat will be the same as the day when it was frozen at the processing plant; at the peak of its flavor! We are so confident in the vacuum seal and flash freezing process, that Capital Meats, Inc. guarantees all of our products against freezer burn for 12 months.

Though unsolicited sales of meat does sound a bit strange. Anyone ever buy from them or have them stop by?

44 Comment

  • Calling themselves Capital Meats and they don’t offer half smokes.

  • City Paper exposed it back in 2007
    A cursory google machine search will reveal their sales of bullshit.

    Not to be confused with Capital Meat Co which is legitimate.

  • Problem 1: They aren’t sourcing the meat locally. They fully admit their meat comes from all over the country. The only reason I would consider using a service like this (which there are a couple serving DC) is if the meat was locally sourced and the legitimacy and quality verified. They proudly boast that they are “cutting out the grocery store “middle man.” Umm…no, they are just replacing the grocery store as the “middle man”, which brings me up to point 2.

    Problem 2: Prices. Feel free to buy Safeway quality meat out of the back of someones truck for 50% over Whole Fooods prices.

    Take a look through their pricing menu. Even if their meat was the same quality as say a Whole Foods, it is easily 30-50% more expensive. There is no way I am going to pay that much for meat when I can get the same quality cheaper, while knowing the relative safety of the supply chain.

    • Problem 3: look at that truck.

    • Problem 3b: The van isn’t refrigerated (from looing at the photo). I wouldn’t buy any meat from a hot van in the middle of DC summer temperatures.

    • It’s not very easy to find locally-raised beef. Most of the beef and pork consumed in the D.C. area comes from far away – mainly from the Midwestern states. Chances are, your hamburger meat comes from Iowa, Nebraska, or South Dakota.

      There are still some farms where you can get locally-raised beef, but they are few in number. Weikerts Egg Farm, outside of Gettysburg, PA sells farm fresh eggs and beef raised on their property.

      There’s a reason you don’t see large agribusinesses raising vast numbers of cattle or pigs on the east coast. Land is far too expensive here to be used for grazing.

      BTW it is possible to find decent steaks at Safeway, at least out here in the suburbs.

  • This is bizarre. Unless they showed up just prior to a grilling event, when we usually realize we forgot to grab something, I don’t see it happening.

    Florida Avenue Market fulfills all of my meat procuring needs.

  • We get produce delivered from They will delivery meat with your order. I think it’s local and humane, but those terms can be pretty fuzzy.

  • Their individual meat prices are expensive, but it is WAY WAY better than the stuff you get at the grocery store. My parents were early customers and have been using them for bulk purchases for 10 years. If you’ve got the space, you can buy a six month supply of things from them for less than the cost of buying the same stuff at Safeway.

    They have an unorthodox way of drumming up business, but my parents have been very happy with them, and I can personally attest to the quality.

  • Can’t recommend these guys enough. The quality of their stuff is way better than anything you’ll find in a grocery store.

  • If you’re cool with red meat from processing plants in this country, I don’t see why purchasing meat from a truck would bother someone. However, if you’re questioning where that meat comes from and how it arrives at your plate, please read Omnivore’s Dilemma. It will change the way you think about meat in general.

  • Fresh meat is always better than frozen. Can’t imagine that their quality is that much better than Whole Foods.

  • This guy rang my doorbell yesterday (that’s actually a picture of his van parked on my block) – said he was doing deliveries and had extra, would “really help him out” if I would take it off his hands for a discount. Seemed really nice/earnest, but I’m not too interested in sporadic bulk meat purchases.

  • Meat is murder! Killing cows and chickens is worse than killing people!

  • Along with my neighbor, I have bought from these guys. They will offer you a large variation of meat. Here is what we got for $160.00. They start the haggle at just over $400.00
    12 Petit Filets
    24 Steak burgers
    6 T-Bones
    12 NY Strip
    12 Ribeye
    Were they Whole Foods quality? No. Were they safeway quality? Yes.

    Haggle with them, its actually kind of fun and definitely worth it.

  • Friends of ours get a meat delivery and use Washington’s Green grocer for produce. They love both and got us hooked on the green grocer delivery which we love. We’re now contemplating the meat service – they said the meat is way better than they get elsewhere and around the same price. They have the space for a basement freezer, though, and we do not.

  • One of these guys came to my door recently and acted totally inappropriately. Barged into and through my house without being invited in, moved shit around in my kitchen to lay out boxes of meat, and when I repeatedly told him I wasn’t interested, he still wouldn’t leave and became frustrated, frazzled, and desperate. I am sure he is someone who is having a hard time and needs the money and that part makes me feel bad, but he also made me feel extremely unsafe and uncomfortable. I would never buy meat from a random salesman who showed up, and now I would certainly never buy from them.

  • Ah, meat hustlers. Buy from these guys if:

    1) You are comfortable buying meat literally out of the back of a truck.

    2) You like to haggle and bargain for the price of meat with an aggressive salesman.

    3) Fresh (non-frozen) meat is not a requirement.

    4) You want to buy a ton of meat in bulk and have the space.

    5) You do not participate in the “responsible consumer” movement regarding animal products (farm to table).

    I’m sure the meat is fine, nothing special, and you might save a couple bucks buying in bulk versus normal Safeway prices. I just don’t need to eat that much cow, ever, and when I do, I like it to be fresh and dry aged.

  • I have trouble accepting that their industrial feedlot ribeyes (even frozen) are “prime” with an under $2/lb price tag. Their “all natural” label is also suspicious since none of their products are “all natural”.

    • beef is ‘all natural’ by definition. It’s purely a marketing term, like ‘angus’, not a quality term.

  • I read a book a while called “the wolf of wall street” which described in detail how this hustle works. It’s not a bad product or whatever, but don’t imagine that you’re somehow getting a better deal or a better quality product from buying from this type of outfit.

  • save them the trouble and buy an entire cow for yourself if you have the room… I’ll bet Polyface will let you meet the cow before you take it home.

  • Their products are factory farmed and they spend profits to sponsor a NASCAR car? I’ll take my business elsewhere, thanks. What is the paint job on the van depicting? It reminds me of photos of red blood cells.

  • A few months ago I saw a story on local DC news about pushy meat delivery sales tactics. The story wasn’t to expose high prices or quality, rather the rights of the consumer (purchaser) when pressured by these door to door sales people. If you’re pressured or intimidated into signing a contract with a vendor, you have 3 business days to cancel without penalty. The had interviews with consumers who felt threatened into signing a contract and ended up signing to get the person out of their house.

    • Yeah, like those jerks who go door to door acting like Pepco employees saying they can regulate your electric bill, but when pressed, admit they work for “Pepco Services” which is entirely unrelated to Pepco. Some neighbors signed with them and then called to back out when they had some time to think it through.

      Good rule of thumb: Don’t buy anything door to door on a knee jerk decision. Ask for a card, a brochure, etc and do some research first. This isn’t 1930. You could probably even asked them to wait while you close the door and google “[name of service] + scam” .

  • I don’t get nearly as polite of a reaction when I go door-to-door asking people if they would like to take a look at my meat.

  • andy

    isn’t this the setup to an X-rated movie?

  • My parents purchased from a similar service when I lived in PA. The cuts were outstanding; truly truly outstanding. We’d stock up every few months whenever the guy came by.

    He just had a white pickup and an ice box. It felt sketchy as hell at first, but he gave us a great deal to get us hooked, and then we couldn’t break the addiction.

    If it’s the same company, I’m pretty pumped they are down here.

  • One of these guys came to my door and were total jerks. When I asked to see the brochure he was waving in my face he stalked off and yelled the URL for his website while walking out of my yard.

  • Isnt “be wary of door to door meat salesmen” the grown up version of “dont take candy from strangers”?

  • Not a fan of their steaks but their steak burgers are off the chain!

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