This is not a topic to debate whether these items are simply marketing programs to fleece you of your money...but rather my simple observations between the difference in their regular meat lines and their premium label offerings. In general, as a rule, I rarely purchase any beef cuts at the supermarkets, as I have access to wholesale meat supplier and ultimately, the wholesale price of beef is almost always cheaper than advertised sale prices at any given week in the weekly sales circular. I will however, purchase some of the cheaper cuts of beef like round cuts and chuck roasts....as wholesale, the packages are too large for my personal consumption. In the supermarkets, they are more manageable and practical at a few pounds each.
The two items I am specifically reviewing are:
* Sterling Silver Premium Brand Whole Pork Loins, usually priced @ $2.99-3-99 opposed to the regular line of pork, usually priced @ $1.99-2-99. Extended, the purchase price is usually $10-12 more for the premium brand per whole loin. My understanding is the Sterling Silver brand hogs are bred to have more natural marbling in the meat
* Certified Angus Premium Brand Beef, usually priced @ $4.99/lb opposed to the USDA Choice Grade, priced @$3.99/lb
This week, both the regular lines and the premium lines were on sale. For the pork, it was $1.49/lb. opposed to $1.99/lb.. For the beef, it was $2.27/lb. opposed to $2.39/lb. Give the small margin in difference of price, it was the perfect time to purchase the premium brands to see if there was any noticeable differences in quality to warrant the extra price per pound...
My method to prepare both the pork and beef, was to slow roast them in the oven @ 225* on a rack in a shallow pan, on the middle rack of the oven. No thermometer was used at any point during the entire roasting time for either meat. First, with the Sterling Silver pork, I butchered the whole loin myself into three pieces/portioned sized roasts, after removing the fat and silver skin....the center cut, small end and larger end. I reserved the small end and center cuts for a later date, and the larger end was cut to about 9 inches in length for this test. I did not weigh the piece of meat, but I suspect it was probably around three pounds weight. The Certified Angus Chuck Roast was 2.5 pounds and 1.5 inches thick.
I preheat the oven for about a half hour at 350 degrees before placing the Pork Loin Roast only in first, then dropping the oven temperature to 225*, for 30 minutes.....before adding the Beef Chuck Roast in later. The total cooking time for the Pork was 2 3/4 hours, the beef was 2 1/4 hours. One hour after placing the beef roast in, I turned both the pork and beef roast over to achieve more even roasting. At 1 3/4 hours after placing the beef roast in, I increased the oven temperature to 350* for the final 30 minutes, to brown the meats. I removed both roasts and let them rest for 10 minutes, tented with foil, before slicing.
The final results......Excellent, Excellent Pork and Beef.....both very moist and tender. The beef chuck roast was as good as any Flat Iron Steak or Roast I have ever prepared....cooked perfectly to medium-rare temperature.
From now on, I will always spend the extra money on these two premium brands from Shop-Rite.