Cuts of Veal

Guide to Meat: Understanding the Different Cuts of Veal

How the Lobels Select Veal

Before we buy veal, we look through many carcasses. We first look at the conformation of the animal. The back should be broad and barrel-shaped. The shoulders must be short and far apart. The neck should be short and thick. The leg bones must be small and chunky. When we buy veal, we favor the Aberdeen-Angus and Hereford breeds. the same breeds we select in our beef buying. The veal we sell is of the best prime quality, equal to the quality of our prime beef.

Types of Veal

This baby calf is slaughtered when it is from eight to ten weeks old and weighs 150-250 pounds. Vealers are sometimes called milk-fed veal because they have been fed entirely on mother's milk.

After eight to twelve weeks of milk-feeding, calves are allowed to eat grass and grain. They are slaughtered when they are almost five months old and weigh 350-400 pounds.

What to Avoid in Buying Veal

  • Very moist, watery looking flesh
  • Meat that is gray or reddish in coloring
  • Too much outside fat and inner marbling, which means that the calf has been overfed
  • Bones that are grayish or white in coloring, which means that the calf is too old
  • Veal that has yellowish outside fat
  • Veal that is sinewy
  • For scaloppini: avoid any cut that is not from the leg or boneless loin

Cuts of Veal

Because vealers and calves are so small, they are not cut into "sides" the way steers are. We buy a complete young animal. Then we hang it in our coolers for no more than a week before cutting it in half lengthwise and later quartering it.

The front and hind sections of calves are named differently from those of steers. For example, the forequarter of beef is called the foresaddle of veal, and the hindquarter of beef is called the hindsaddle when referring to calves.

Even though veal is young and tender, it sometimes requires a different kind of cooking from its parent, beef. The reason is that veal does not have the fat and the marbling of beef. Moist, slower cooking is the gentle, tender treatment that's right for veal.

Cuts of Veal

Hindsaddle of Veal

This consists of the sirloin, then the rump or leg, and ends with the hind shank. The tenderest portion is the rump (minus the hind shank).

Best cooking method: This section makes a wonderful roast that can be complete with bones, or boneless and rolled. It can also be cut into delectable cutlets or thin slices for scaloppini.

Center Leg Roast

This is exactly in front of the hind shank and just before the sirloin. The center leg is an extremely tender roast with the bone left intact.

Best cooking method: Roast.

Rolled Leg

This is the same as the center leg roast, but it has been completely boned, rolled and tied.

Best cooking method: Roast.

Shank Half of Leg

An excellent roast, but less tender than the center leg roast.

Best cooking method: Roast or braise.

Veal Cutlet

Veal cutlet, also known as round steak, comes from the top round and is cut from the center about ¼ inch thick. This delicious cut has a little marrow-filled bone left in.

Best cooking method: Pan sauté or pan fry.

Veal Birds

Veal birds are actually cutlets. They come from the eye of the cutlet and are sometimes called fillet of veal. The bone is removed, and then they are pounded and rolled. Veal birds are sometimes stuffed.

Best cooking method: Bake or braise.


Scaloppine is wafer-thin, and so delicate and fragile that we only cut it to order, never in advance. We use the intricate French style of preparation: first, we dissect the center of the leg, demembrane it, and remove any sinewy fibers. We also use scaloppine from the more delicate loin area. The veal is then sliced to order, and pounded until it is paper-thin, or whatever thickness the customer specifies. This varies from one-eighth to one-quarter inch.

Best cooking method: Sauté.

Sirloin of Veal

This portion is adjacent to the leg. Usually it is left on the leg, but sometimes it is cut off as a separate unit. In this case, it is cut into two types of roasts, or into superb chops.

Best cooking method: Roast.

Standing Sirloin Roast

This sirloin of veal is the very next in tenderness to the leg. It is sometimes called a rump roast and the bone is kept in place.

Best cooking method: Roast.

Rolled Double Sirloin Roast

This roast is also called a double rump roast. All bones are removed from the complete sirloin and rump end. Then the roast is rolled. The rolled double sirloin roast is a wonderful concoction, easily carved by the host.

Best cooking method: Roast.

Loin of Veal

The loin section lies right next to the sirloin and is the final cut of the hindsaddle. We sometimes refer to this section as the porterhouse of veal. In a small calf, the loin is only about eight inches wide and can be cut into small roasts and chops. As the kidney is in this area of the calf, it is frequently part of the cuts.

Best cooking method: Roast.

Loin Roast of Veal

This is a V-shaped cut, like a number of uncut chops. We often crack the T-bone parts so that the carver can cut guest-size portions easily, just like chops.

Best cooking method: Roast.

Rolled Loin Roast

The rolled loin is actually the same as the loin roast, but with the bones removed. Before it is rolled and tied, it may be stuffed with veal kidney, or a bread stuffing.

Best cooking method: Oven roast.

Loin Veal Chops

These chops are identified by their T-shaped bones. They have a large eye and a tenderloin. The tail is usually trimmed off.

Best cooking method: Bake, grill or broil.

Kidney Veal Chops

These chops are similar to the loin chops, but have the added attraction of a slice of veal kidney. The tail of the chop is wrapped around the kidney and then skewered.

Best cooking method: Bake, grill or broil.

Rib of Veal

Sometimes called the rack, this section comes right after the loin and is the first portion of the foresaddle. The first six bones of the rib are the most tender for either roasts or chops.

Best cooking method: Roast.

Rib Roast of Veal

This roast looks like a series of rib chops. The chine and the feather bones have been removed for easy carving. Even though they are not cut from the outside, we usually crack the bone for easy carving.

Best cooking method: Roast.

Crown Roast of Veal

The crown roast of veal is an elegant dinner party entrée that can be easily carved by the host. The rib chops are Frenched, and then they are slightly cut and cracked at the bone so that they can be bent into a crown shape. Before roasting, the center is filled with stuffing. Before serving, frills are often added to the top of the bones for a festive appearance and easier eating.

Best cooking method: Roast.

Rib Veal Chops

These chops are cut from the rib roast.

Best cooking method: Broil, grill, pan grill.

Frenched Rib Veal Chops

Although this is the exact same meat as in a regular veal chop, it is trimmed quite a bit. The meat surrounding the bone is removed as in a crown roast, and these spare bones can be embellished with paper frills.

Best cooking method: Broil, grill, pan grill.

Shoulder of Veal

Even though this forward section of the foresaddle is more fibrous and not as tender as the leg section, it has a lovely taste as a roast. These roasts can be cut with the bone left in, they can be boned with a pocket for stuffing, or they can be boned, rolled and tied.

Best cooking method: Roast or braise.

Neck of Veal

This is an inexpensive and tougher cut.

Best cooking method: Stew. When boned, it can be ground for veal burgers.

Hindshank of Veal

This is the cut to choose for osso buco. It is more rugged than the foreshank, but a delight to the taste buds.

Best cooking method: Braise or pot.

Breast of Veal

The breast of veal is not very tender and requires lengthy cooking.

Best cooking method: Because it is bony, it can be cut into riblets and used as veal spareribs. It can also be made into a slow-cooked roast with bones left in, or boneless with a succulent stuffing.

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