There are six grades of stag beef : No. 1 or Choice, No. 2 or Good, No. 3 or Medium, No. 4 or Common, No. 5 or Cutter, and No. 6 or Low Cutter.
There are fewer stags than bulls, and they are graded by virtually the same standard. Young stags are more desirable than older ones, and their carcasses often can not readily be distinguished from those of steers. Much depends on the age at which the animal was castrated. If that occurred shortly after the animal reached sexual maturity, the beef may make a very close approach, in most respects, to steer beef. If, however, castration was delayed until the animal had attained full maturity, and possibly, had been used for breeding purposes, the beef will have virtually all of the important and outstanding characteristics of bull beef.
No. 1, or Choice, Stag Beef
No. 1, or Choice, stag beef usually has brighter and more tender flesh than bull beef, with an appreciable infilling of fat along the muscle fibers not noticeable in bull beef, but it has very little, if any, marbling. In quality and finish Choice stag beef surpasses Choice bull beef. The fat covering, while some-what rough, is well distributed over the exterior surfaces. The interior fats, while not excessive, are abundant and well-distributed and of slightly better quality than in Choice bull beef. They are, however, inferior in quality to that of a steer, heifer, or cow carcass of the same grade.
No. 2, or Good, Stag Beef
No. 2, or Good, stag beef resembles No. 2, or Good, bull beef in nearly every respect, except that it has slightly better finish and quality and the flesh is brighter and more tender. Otherwise there is not enough difference to warrant describing the grade in detail.
No. 3, or Medium, Stag Beef
No. 3, or Medium, stag beef also resembles bull beef of the same grade in nearly every respect. The flesh, though dark and tough, is brighter and slightly more tender and for that reason is superior to that of Medium bull beef. This grade is used freely by retail meat dealers catering to a trade requiring a cheap grade of beef. Such carcasses also are used in sausage.
No. 4, or Common, Stag Beef
No. 4, or Common, stag beef resembles Common bull beef in conformation and depth of flesh. Like Common bull beef, it rarely shows much finish or quality. The flesh is dark and inclined to be more watery than that of bull beef of the same grade. Otherwise, there is no appreciable difference between the two classes with ‘reference to this grade.
No. 5, or Cutter, and No. 6, or Low Cutter, Stag Beef
Theoretically, there is nothing to prevent the existence of Cutter and Low Cutter stag beef, but such an article is practically unknown to the market. The reason for this is that in order to produce stag beef, castration must be performed after maturity. When this is done, it is with a view to putting the animal in market condition. Whenever a real effort to do this is made, the resulting carcass rarely grades lower than Common. In the rare instances where stag beef grading lower than Common is offered, it possesses virtually the same characteristics and deficiencies as Cutter or Low Cutter bull beef and is graded accordingly.