Grades Of Bull Beef
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
There are six grades of bull 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.'
No. 1, or Choice, Bull Beef
No. 1, or Choice, bull beef has the excellent conformation and depth of flesh characteristic of the superior beef type. The rounds, chucks, and neck are thick, or overdeveloped, and are very heavily muscled. The loins and ribs are broad, but tend to shallowness and are relatively small in proportion to the rest of the carcass. The exterior surface is well covered, but the fat, although rough, is not gobby or excessively deep at any point. The interior fats are plentiful, but lack the quality and brittleness of that of a Choice steer. Usually, such carcasses are from young, well-fed bulls, although older bulls sometimes produce this grade, The flesh generally is of a medium dark-red color, but is superior in quality to the average of the class. The "eye" of the loin and rib shows no marbling, but is firm and comparatively dry. Bull beef rarely shows marbling. Carcasses of this grade are in no way comparable to those of choice steers, heifers, or cows, chiefly because they are markedly deficient in quality and finish. The flesh is darker, tougher, and lacks fat deposits along the muscle fibers. The percentage of Choice bulls is practically negligible. A carcass of this grade is found occasionally, but not frequently. The few that reach the market are used almost exclusively by retailers catering to a trade demanding low-priced meats.
No. 2, or Good, Bull Beef
No. 2, or Good, bull beef usually is from an animal of the best type, but lacks the superior finish of the Choice grade. Well-fed, inactive, heavy, dairy-type animals, and crossbreds, con-tribute a fair percentage of carcasses to this grade. The exterior surfaces, especially of carcasses from beef-type bulls, are covered with a rough but relatively thin fat, and the interior fats are of sufficient quantity to indicate more than an average finish. The finish may be similar to that of the Choice grade, but the carcass may be lacking in conformation and depth of flesh. The rounds, chucks, and necks are large and. massive. Ribs and loins are relatively small, and inclined to be thin. The carcass is long, and the outlines rough and irregular. This is the lowest grade of bull carcasses that is sold over the butcher's block. Such carcasses generally are from young bulls, but a few aged bulls are found in this grade.
No. 3, or Medium, Bull Beef
No. 3, or Medium, bull beef is of average conformation and depth of flesh for this class, but has a scant supply of fat over the kidneys and in the crotch, and none on the inner surface of the ribs. The flesh is dark, tough, and relatively dry, and is especially adapted to the needs of the sausage trade, because of its ability to absorb water. Such carcasses generally are known as "Bologna" carcasses, and often are referred to as "Choice Bologna bulls." The flesh of the rounds is converted chiefly into beef-ham sets for the dried-beef trade. Dairy-type and inferior beef-type bulls comprise the bulk of this grade. Such carcasses are rarely sold over the block.
No. 4, or Common, Bull Beef
Carcasses of No. 4, or Common, bull beef, although fairly well developed in the rounds, chucks, and neck, lack the conformation and depth of flesh of the better grades. They are rough, coarse, angular, and have no fat deposits on the interior or exterior surfaces. The flesh is dark, tough, and "stringy." Carcasses of this grade also are known as "Bologna" bulls, and find a ready market for sausage and cured-beef purposes, but are not suitable for retail fresh-meat trade.
No. 5, or Cutter, and No. 6, or Low Cutter, Bull Beef
In ordinary market experience, there is very little bull beef that falls below the Common grade. During periods of extreme drought, however, a few bulls usually come to market which are so emaciated that they do not produce beef which could even be graded as Common. Furthermore, in certain sections of the country, where cattle husbandry is extremely backward and where beef animals are given little or no care, but are allowed to roam the woods and revert almost to their original wild state, in-breeding and lack of care sometimes produce bulls which are so small and misshapen that the beef from them can be graded only as Low Cutter or Cutter bull beef. In this connection, the term "Cutter" is somewhat of a misnomer, although in certain sections such carcasses are cut up and retailed to an undiscriminating trade.
Such beef possesses the low degree of conformation, finish, and quality which characterizes the Low Cutter and Cutter grades in other classes, but in each case emphasized by the peculiarities which render bull beef the least desirable of all classes of beef.