Veal steaks are so lean and tender, it doesn’t take much marinating or cooking time to make a very flavorful meal. This easy recipe uses a citrusy garlicky adobo marinade to season the veal filet for a juicy, savory main course. I used veal flank steak, but you can also use other cuts.
Types of veal steaks and other cuts
Loin and rib chops are some of the most familiar, popular cuts of veal steaks on the market. They’re lean, flavorful and definitely good eating.
They cook relatively quickly and they’re best when simply prepared – something I love to do. In fact, one of the most popular veal recipes on this site are my Grilled Veal Chops with a simple but heady garlic and herb crust.
Other commonly used portions come from the calves breast or leg in cutlet form. Veal flank steaks are less popular, but every bit as tasty. Blade chops, veal shanks, shoulder roasts and stew meat are equally flavorful, but require longer cooking times as they come from tougher parts of the calf.
I admit, I normally buy veal in “chop” form, but when I saw these cute little veal flank fillets, the food blogger in me, won out and I ended up with two veal flanks in my shopping cart – the two of them weighed one pound, combined. I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but coming up with a game plan is part of the fun. Right?
After getting the veal fillets home and inspecting them more closely, I discovered how petite they really are.
They were fine grained, about 1/2″ thick and perhaps 8-9 inches in length. Something this delicate wasn’t going to need a long soak in a marinade and I knew the steaks were going to cook pretty fast too.
Rather than weigh down the delicate veal steaks with a heavy sauce, I opted for a light, citrusy marinade with a pungent dose of chopped garlic, chiles, cumin and herbs. Known as mojo criollo, this combination is a classic Cuban recipe that hits every part of your tongue, but won’t overpower your protein. Perfect for the veal.
What you’ll need for marinated grilled veal flank steak
- Veal Flank Steaks
- Mojo Criollo Marinade
You can use bottled mojo sauce, but if you’ve got 5 minutes and the necessary ingredients, this is a good one.
It only takes about 20 minutes for the marinade to infuse the veal, so once you’ve got it soaking, you’ll want to heat your grill and make sure your side dishes are ready to go — because this meal will come together quickly.
Marinating the veal
- Place the veal steaks in a zip top storage bag and add about 3/4 cup of the mojo marinade. (Reserve about half a cup in a separate bowl for drizzling and dipping.)
- Set aside for 20 minutes for the meat to soak.
- Remove the veal flank steaks from the marinade and use paper towels to pat them dry. (If the veal fillets are wet, they’ll steam instead of grill).
Grilling marinated veal
- Heat the grill to a medium high heat (about 400° to 450°).
- Place the steaks on the grill and don’t fuss with them… No poking, prodding or moving… Just let it grill.
- Cook for 4-6 minutes before flipping and cooking an additional 4-5 minutes.
- Transfer the steaks to a cutting board to rest for about 5 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring a juicy bite.
I prefer a feint pink center for veal steaks, but be careful not to go too rare. Veal can be very chewy when it’s too undercooked. If you prefer a more well done veal fillet, add 2-3 more minutes to the cooking time.
The veal shrinks a bit when cooking, but you can figure that two flank steaks (about 1 pound of meat total) will feed 3-4 people, depending on appetites and what else you’re serving with the meal.
Cooking veal steaks on the stovetop
If you don’t have access to a grill, you can also pan grill the steaks on a stovetop. Use a well seasoned cast iron skillet or grill pan to sear them.
- Heat the grill pan over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes or until very hot.
- Add a few teaspoons of olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat.
- Make sure the veal flank steaks are patted dry before adding them to the pan. Sear on one side for 3-5 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or to desired doneness.
- Transfer the steaks to a cutting board to rest for a few minutes before slicing.
How to slice the veal steak
To figure out where the grain lies, look at the natural lines in the meat (not the grill marks). You can see what I’m talking about in the photo above, right.
The natural grain of the veal runs in long lines along the fillet. The key to having a tender (easy to chew) steak, is to break up those lines by slicing 90° against the grain.
Cut the grilled veal into 1/2″ slices and transfer to a serving platter. I like to drizzle the sliced veal fillets with a little extra mojo criollo, but you can also serve it on the side for dipping.
Veal has a unique flavor that tastes milder than beef and doesn’t feel as heavy. This grilled veal flank steak recipe turns out a tender, juicy and flavorful meal that’s really out of the ordinary.
My tasters love how the mojo infuses the meat and by dragging a piece through the reserved sauce — emphasized those garlicky citrus flavors.
Veal flank steak FAQs
You may be able to find it from a good butcher, or order some from D’Artagnan.
You can use veal loin chops, breast or even scallopini. Cooking times will vary depending on your cut. You can also use this marinade with a full sized beef flank steak. Marinade that cut for 30 minutes to an hour before grilling.
Store leftovers for up to 3 days. Reheat in a low oven (about 325°) with the veal lightly covered with foil. Heat for 8-12 minutes or until warmed through.
What goes with veal steaks?
- Black Bean and Rice Salad
- Turmeric Pearl Couscous with Pine Nuts
- Roasted Duck Fat Potatoes
- Braised White Beans with Kale and Tomatoes
- Browned Butter Sea Salt Mashed Potatoes
- Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic
- Simple Green Salad with Vinaigrette
More grilled favorites you might like:
- Cilantro Lime Grilled Pork Tenderloin
- Caribbean Grilled Yellowtail Snapper
- Bourbon Marinated Grilled Flank Steak
- Grilled Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb
- Grilled Chermoula Strip Steaks
- Spice Rubbed Grilled Chicken Thighs
- Brined Grilled Pork Chops
Mojo Grilled Veal Flank Steak
- Gas or Charcoal Grill
- bbq tongs
- 1 pound veal flank steaks
- 1 1/4 cups Mojo Marinade
- Pat the veal dry with paper towels and transfer to a zip top storage bag. Pour 3/4 cup of the marinade over the top and squeeze out the excess air. Seal the bag and transfer to the refrigerator for 20 minutes, flipping the bag halfway through. Reserve the remaining 1/2 cup of marinade for serving.
FOR THE GRILL:
- Heat the grill to medium high heat (about 400° to 450°). Remove the veal from the marinade and pat dry completely with paper towels.
- Place the veal flank steaks on the grill and cook for 4-6 minutes without touching the steaks. Flip over and continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes, until the steaks are nearly cooked through, but still juicy. Transfer to a cutting board.
- Rest the veal flank steaks for about 5 minutes to let the juices redistribute. Slice the veal steaks across the grain in 1/4" to 1/2" slices.
- Serve with reserved mojo marinade for dipping or drizzling.