Pulled Veal. Why and how.

Enzo Sisto 28 augustus 2022

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  • Pulled Veal is a chic option for those who love this type of preparation - pulled - but want to make a gourmet version of it. Due to the presence of extremely and easily soluble collagen in a humid environment, veal is the ideal solution.
    Thanks to its young age, the collagen in the calf is less tenacious and its fibers are not yet resistant and evolved as in an older animal such as a cow that can be 8 to 10 years old. For example, in a humid environment at 70 degrees after about 6 hours already 40% of the calf's collagen has become gelatin against a quantity of less than 5% for an adult bovine. The typical meat for making pulled is pork. I think it is very dry and often too fibrous. It needs to be helped too much with all kinds of ingredients. On the contrary, there is no need to look for complications with veal because the raw material is naturally very suitable.

Thanks to the extreme tenderness of the veal, the presence of the right amount of fat and the high collagen content, the final result is guaranteed.

Here is my "cherry pulled veal"  recipe!


First we decide what to flavor the meat with during smoking and which humid environment we will use to dissolve the collagen. Instead of the apple I chose the cherry.
Here is cherry wood and an Ardennes cherry beer from "La Chouffe".
Then we choose the cuts of meat. I served a mix of Ekro's premium Dutch veal blade and rump.
The first rich in fat and connective tissue, the second long fiber and tenderness. But other cuts are also suitable. Ask your trusted butcher.

Set the kamado BBQ to 115/120 Celsius and stabilized it at this temperature. An hour of smoking (Just place your piece of cherry wood directly on the hot coals) and then another 2 hours of roasting. The temperature must remain constant at 115/120 Celsius. In total 3 hours in this first phase. 10 minutes more will be not a problem.

In the meantime, prepare 6 finely chopped shallots, a red onion, a white onion, 4 sprigs of rosemary, 3 sage leaves, a 100 g stick of clarified butter,  four soup spoons olive oil, two anchovy fillets, a sachet of cane sugar with vanilla, a soup spoon of sweet paprika and one of ground fennel and three soup spoons of agave syrup and 8 grams of salt for each kg of meat. You can always add it afterwards depending on your tastes.

Curiosity: agave syrup because it contains 74% fructose and fructose caramelizes at a temperature of only 110 degrees Celsius. So even if the bbq kamado temperature is set at 120 Celsius this will happen.

We put this all in the Dutch Oven and at the end of the second hour of the 3 of the first phase put it in the kamado and brown. The Dutch Oven must remain closed. If the browning goes too far (check every 10 minutes by looking briefly under the lid of the pot) add a little cherry beer.

At the end of 3 hours, cut the meat into smaller pieces and put everything in the pot, covering with the cherry beer. Cover the pot, bring the bbq kamado to 135 Celsius and let it run for about 4 hours.

In this humid environment the collagen will completely dissolve and the meat will become frayed, succulent and tender. Turn off the oxygen to the bbq kamado to stop the combustion. Slowly it will cool down.

The time has come to season the meat. First we pull it completely. Then we add a little at a time sweet white balsamic vinegar and white wine vinegar until it has reached that degree of delicate acidity that we want it to reach.


The kamado is cooling down. Let the pot rest in the kamado for a couple of hours. The flavors will blend better.


Well we are ready you can consume it immediately or even better put everything in the fridge for one night to stabilize the flavors. I always have a preference for dishes that have rested. Often the best dishes the next day are an abundance of collagen, fats or spices. Over time, with the right rest, the aromatic substances present in a distinct way are attenuated and mixed, and dissolve in the fats and collagen a balance and homogeneity that returns the best possible flavor.

Here we are the day after. A nice group of friends help me test this recipe. Let's heat it in a convection oven at 80 Celsius for about 30 minutes turning it every 10. The gelatin must become a little translucent again.


I decided to accompany it with a Waldorf salad, made with love by the wife of one of my friends, and sprinkle the meat with a "Cuban" sauce. Delicious.

Fidel sauce:
10 ml balsamic vinegar of Modena glaze.
10 ml balsamic vinegar in barrique for 10 years
5 ml agave syrup
15ml aged Cuban spiced rum (I prefer 10 years or more)
a teaspoon tip (really a little tip) of cayenne pepper for the "kick".

The "kick" is a slightly pungent sensation on the tongue that must never be overwhelming or unpleasant but serves to amplify the flavor and surprise the taste buds.
Mix everything and correct if you want according to your taste (for example a few drops of lime or angostura or choose for tabasco instead of cayenne pepper) than put in the sauce dispenser.

It seems like a lot of work but most of the time you are behind your computer working, and the bbq kamado works for you. I must honestly say that such an appetizer deserves to be the protagonist of your tables also for the next Christmas holidays. Try it and let me know what you think.



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