What is Veal? Everything You Need to Know

Veal is one of those meats that everyone knows about, but very few people cook because they simply don’t know enough about it. The truth is, veal is just as easy to cook as chicken and is absolutely delicious when prepared properly!

Want to upgrade your dinner routine with some tasty and tender veal? Read on to learn all about this specialty meat, how to cook it, and where you can buy it!

What is Veal?

Veal is a type of beef that comes from a young cow. By USDA regulations, veal must come from a cow that is under one year of age. Veal calves are almost always male and are fed a special diet of only milk in order to keep their meat tender. Most veal is butchered around the 20th week of life when they weigh 450 pounds. 

Despite common belief, veal calves are not kept in small cages. Rather, they are kept in normal barns. While it is true that they don’t usually spend much time outside, this is due to their young age and special diet.

Veal meat is known for being tender and sweeter than regular beef. It is most popular in Italian dishes though it is used by cultures around the world. 

The 4 Main Types of Veal

Veal is divided into four main subgroups based on the calf’s diet and age at butchering. 

Bob Veal

Bob veal is a highly specialized veal that is made from calves that are butchered very soon after birth. A Bob veal calf can be butchered as early as 2 hours after birth, and as late as one month after birth. 

Because Bob veal calves are butchered so early, the meat produced is small, making it more expensive than other veal types. 

Formula Fed Veal

Formula-fed veal is the most common type of veal found in the United States. Formula-fed veal are raised for 20-24 weeks on a steady diet of milk, making the meat produced ivory, pink, and velvety. 

Formula-fed veal are slaughtered when they reach 450-500lbs. 

Non Formula-fed Veal

Non Formula-fed veal starts out as formula-fed, but at some point, before slaughter, they are switched to a diet of grain in addition to milk. The resulting meat is darker and can have some marbling—which is unique for veal. 

Nonformula-fed veal are slaughtered between 22-26 weeks of age when they weigh 650-700 lbs. Sometimes, rather than labeling this meat as veal, it is labeled as “calf” meat.

Young Beef or Rose Veal

Most famous in European countries, young beef or Rose veal comes from calves that are slaughtered after 35 weeks of age but before the calf reaches one year old. Rose veal is still more light pink than regular beef, but typically darker and tougher than true veal. 

How is Veal Graded?

Besides the aforementioned types of veal, which are dictated by the age of slaughter, veal follows the USDA grading system with designations like prime, choice, good, standard, and utility. 

Is Veal Good For You?

Veal is a controversial meat, though it does have some surprising health benefits. Veal is lower in fat than regular beef, and it contains additional minerals, the main one being selenium, which can help protect the body from free radicals. Veal also contains ample doses of iron, zinc, niacin, and vitamin B12.

That being said, the protein and calorie contents of veal and beef are basically the same, so unless you are on a low-fat diet, just prepare the one that you prefer! 

How to Cook Veal

One of the main reasons many people don’t consume veal is because they don’t know how to cook it! The good news is, veal is actually fairly easy to prepare, and we will walk you through it below. 

Methods to Prepare Veal

  • Sauteed
  • Braised
  • Stewed
  • Stir-Fried
  • Broiled
  • Grilled

As you can see, you have your choice of methods when it comes to veal preparation, so you can choose your favorite and go with it! The only thing that is important to remember when cooking veal is that it needs to be cooked in a small amount of fat to keep it moist, so use a little bit of butter when cooking, no matter which method you choose.

Veal should be heated until it is at least medium, though medium well is also an option. It is recommended to heat the veal to an internal temperature of at least 145°F

Veal Recipes

Veal can be added to some of your favorite recipes, but here are some of ours if you need inspiration:

Not sure if you are quite ready to cook veal just yet? Check out our pre-made veal Osso Bucco, which just needs to be steamed and served! 

Why is Veal Expensive?

Unfortunately, if you are looking to try veal, you need to be ready to pay a little more than you would for regular beef. The high prices of veal are due to the fact that there is limited meat available, and that veal weighs less than full-size cows—so butchers get less meat with every order. 

Veal is so delicious and tender, however, it is well worth the steep price! 

Where Can You Buy Veal?

Veal is considered a specialty meat and for that reason it isn’t always available at the grocery store. If you want to try out veal, you’ll need to head to a specialty butcher or check out an online store like Kolikof Caviar and Gourmet.

Kolikof Caviar and Gourmet has several options when it comes to veal. Whether you want to buy Veal Cutlets to add to your own recipe, or ready-made veal Osso Bucco to impress a date. They also carry Prime Veal Chops, which can be served as is with a starch and veggie of your choice!

No matter what you order from Kolikof, it will be delivered directly to your door, ensuring you have access to the freshest meat possible without having to leave your home. That’s the Kolikof difference.


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