31 July 2022

The 9 best substitutes for veal leg for your recipes

By Killian

In some recipes, certain quality cuts of meat seem irreplaceable. Although the veal shank it’s a pretty unique leg cutthere are similar cuts that could replace it.

Ox shank is a popular ingredient in Osso Buco and one of the best quality cuts of meat that you can get However, not everyone appreciates its texture and the time it takes to prepare it properly.

Whether you haven’t been able to find a good piece of veal shank, or just want to use something else, we can help you find the best one! veal shank substitute!

The best substitutes for ox hock

Ox shank is a cut of meat that comes from the leg part, and is usually cut in cross sections to obtain the best ratio between the meaty and fat parts. Veal shank is also commonly known as shank crosscut due to this method of cutting.

This piece of meat comes from a cow or bull, and is fairly low in fat compared to other popular cuts of beef. However, this makes it a bit tougher and chewier, especially if it is not prepared well.

When preparing the veal shank, slow cooking seems to offer the best results, since we are talking about a tough piece of meat. It is best suited for slow-cooking foods that allow the meat to cook through and become as tender as possible.

Well-cooked shank of veal should be able to separate easily with a fork. However, the veal shank can also be used as ground meat for your lean burgers, especially if you like a drier, less fatty burger.

Because the hock is on the leg, which is under great pressure every day, the texture of the meat is rather thick and stiff. The hock is also one of the cheapest cuts of beef you can get, as it yields a large amount of meat.

In most stores, you can find boneless veal shank as well as bone-in, depending on what you want to make. You can always use the bones for bone-in broths or similar dishes if you prefer to remove them.

Because of the thick texture we’ve talked about, the best way to prepare a veal shank would be to stew it in a lot of liquid. This will allow the meat to fully soften, especially if you are using a slow cooker.

As far as veal shank recipes go, it goes amazingly with garlic, onion, tomato sauce and of course veal broth that you can use for stewing. Burgundian beef is one of the most popular veal shank dishes, in which chunks of veal are cooked in red wine and mushroom soup.

Keep an eye out for the best cuts of meat that you can use to replace veal shank in your recipes.

1. Ox arm roast

This cut of beef comes from the shoulder of the animal, and like the legs of the animal, the shoulder area is also used quite often. This kind of daily pressure makes the meat tough, and that makes ox arm roast the best substitute for ox shank.

Due to this tough and chewy texture, ox arm is also suitable for cooking techniques such as braising. It basically requires slow cooking so that the meat softens, releases its juices, and absorbs the flavor of the cooking liquid.

Ox arm, like ox shank, is low in fat, which also makes it a great substitute for ox shank steak.

2. Ox roast

The ox roast, like the ox arm roast, is in the shoulder area, so you can expect to get a similar meat texture to the ox shank cut. However, this cut is not all palette, which gives it a bit of a mixed structure.

In addition to the shoulder area, the chuck also contains part of the neck area, which can make it a bit more tender than ox shank and ox arm roast. It is an ideal option for those who do not appreciate the chewiness of beef shank meat.

Also, you’ll notice that beef contains more fat than shank and arm, making it a great choice for minced meat, as well as slow cooking without adding any oil.

3. Oxtail

Some will think this is a bit of an exaggeration when it comes to substituting for veal shank. However, don’t put it down until you’ve tried it! Oxtail, as its name suggests, is the meat extracted from the animal’s tail, and it is quite lean and tasty.

It’s not as dry as you might think though, as it has some marbling to it. This unique blend of delicious, lean fat makes it one of the best choices for cooked beef meals. However, the oxtail is on the expensive side, but certainly worth every penny.

4. Silverside

The silverside, like the ox shank, comes from the animal’s leg, with the only difference being the cut. It is located on the outside of the leg, just between the knuckle and the top. Coming from the leg, it is also a bit stocky and hard.

When it comes to tougher meat, the best way to prepare it is in a slow cooker. You can add the cooking liquid of your choice (beef broth, mushroom soup, tomato sauce, red wine), your favorite seasoning, herbs and vegetables.

Over time, the meat will absorb all the aromas and flavors and acquire a soft, tender consistency.

5. Skirt Steak

If you choose flank steak, you’ll also be dealing with a tougher piece of meat with lots of connective tissue. Although many people try to stay away from this type of texture, it is precisely the connective tissue that makes flank steak so flavorful and prevents it from being dry.

Unlike shank of veal, which is used primarily for slow cooking, brisket gives you more options. It’s a lovely piece of meat to put on the grill, which helps it retain all its flavors and moisture. You can also try cooking it directly on the coals so that it acquires a beautiful aroma and color.

Since we are talking about a meat with a tough texture, you must make sure that you do not overcook it. The best doneness for skirt steak is medium to rare.

6. Beef tendon

Beef tendon is a perfect alternative to veal shank if you’re not afraid of tough, stringy meat. Like veal shank, it does not contain a lot of fat, as it is mostly lean meat, which requires a bit more cooking than other cuts of veal.

This piece of beef is very popular in Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. It is undoubtedly one of the best options for slow-cooking stews and soups, as its flavor increases the more it cooks. Don’t be afraid to let your beef tendon dish simmer for hours!

7. Short ribs

This veal shank meat substitute comes from the cheek section of the animal, since they are the first five ribs that do not belong to the rib portion itself. Although ribs are usually prepared on the bone, you can also remove the meat and prepare it on its own.

The meat on the ribs is tough and chewy, and while it lacks the tenderness that other cuts of meat offer, it is much more flavorful. Many people choose to have ribs on the grill, but they are also delicious cooked.

Slow cooking allows the meat to fall easily off the bone and soften as much as possible.

8. Veal shank

Veal usually comes from male calves, and the more mature the animal, the tougher the meat. Therefore, if you are looking for a tougher piece of meat, similar to veal shank, you can count on aged veal.

Calf hocks come from both the front and hind legs of the animal, and are distinguished as fore hocks and hind hocks. Keep in mind when buying your veal hocks that the rumps are larger and produce more meat.

9. Neck of beef

As its name suggests, this cut of beef is extracted from the neck, and it offers much more versatility than the cuts we’ve mentioned above. It allows both fast cooking, which will leave the meat tougher, and slow cooking, which will soften it completely.

Beef neck can easily substitute for beef shank in your slow cooker meals, especially if you use a slow cooker. It’s a great choice for all sorts of soups and stews, but you can also throw it on the grill if you’re too impatient to wait for it to soften.

How to choose a veal shank substitute

Sometimes you just can’t find the best cut of veal shank, requiring a suitable substitute. Depending on if you are going to make a slow cooker meal, or if you need a nice chunk for your grill, you can choose different options.

Roast ox arm, roast ox, silverside and ox tendon are perfect options to replace ox shank in stews, soups and other slow-cooked dishes. These cuts of meat are tough at first, but become incredibly soft and tender when cooked properly.

Delicious grilled meat options include brisket, ribs, and beef neck. While these cuts of meat can also be simmered, they offer more versatility and don’t necessarily require as much cooking time.

Lastly, oxtail and veal shank may not be the most obvious choices, but both can work as a great veal shank substitute. Although oxtail is not the most affordable option, it is certainly a piece of meat worth investing in!