3 Meat Meatloaf without Veal

I love my meatloaf and my meatballs. I make both with equal parts ground beef, pork and veal. I moved to Palm Coast, Florida recently and they do not have veal either in the markets or in the butcher shops (if you can find one). And when the butcher has veal it comes in frozen and they don’t grind it. Can anyone suggest a third meat that would work as well as the ground veal or do you think the pork and beef combo will be as good? Thanks.


Make it pork-beef and add some gelatin (and a bit of buttermilk) to replace that from the veal


How does your butcher sell his previously frozen veal? Can you buy veal stew cuts and toss them into your food processor?


I’ve read that but the thought doesn’t appeal to me somehow. Serious eats says to add gelatin to bolognese too.

Beef and pork for meatloaf or meatballs is fine. I add 1 egg and prepare the rest, Italian style.

This is actually my mom´s recipe for Meatloaf which I always use;

day old bread - 2 / 3 cup
1 / 3 cup whole milk
1 kilo beef ground (can do 1/2kilo of beef ground and 1/2 kilo pork ground )
1 or 2 eggs depending on size
1 tsp of salt
1/ 4 cup of dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of Reggiano Parmigiano cheese cured
Freshly ground black pepper
Home made tomato sauce
onion, garlic, parsley

From memory, this is pretty much it …
And an instant read thermometer


Veal is added not so much flavor but mouthfeel so you have to mimic these properties to not get a very dense meatloaf.

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How is the gelatin added?

If I add it instead of veal I add it during the cooking process (normally quite early) as powdered gelatin

Could you order ground veal online and keep it frozen until needed?

I never tried. I’ll look into it.

One envelope?

I have a bigger box so not sure how much is in one envelope- for about 2 lb meatloaf I would add 1-1.5 tsp gelatin

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I do the gelatin thing as well. In the ATK meatloaf recipe " Whisk broth and eggs in large bowl until combined. Sprinkle ( 1/2 tsp) gelatin over liquid and let stand 5 mins. Stir in soy sauce, mustard, saltines, parsley, salt, pepper, and onion mixture. "

I use the same total amount of meat, but just beef and pork.

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I actually found veal to be very mild in taste . It really didn’t make much difference. I would have preferred it . But not available where I live now . A client I work for just left for Idaho to hunt elk. That’s some of the cleanest meat I have ever tasted. Now that’s a thought. Elk meatloaf.


I often make my meatloaf with a 2:1 mixture of ground chuck and ground turkey. The fat in the chuck adds flavor and mousture to the turkey.

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Not clear to me why a straight substitution of ground turkey (easy to get in stores these days) for the veal wouldn’t work fine. I have subbed turkey for veal in various preparations and it’s fine to my taste but I don’t get immersed in the nuances of meatloaf flavor/texture so my opinion is probably not worth much.

I have avoided veal on humanitarian grounds for many years, so veal has always been a non-starter for me. Poultry seems roughly similar in texture and flavor, so if I “need” veal that’s my go-to solution.

Eating meat at all is bad enough, but the animal rights aspect of the way veal is produced crosses the line for me. That said, pork isn’t much better. Pardon the digression.

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I think I’d do 2/3 beef and 1/3 pork, if I was only using 2.

Could add ground venison if you want it to be 3 meats, I suppose.

Quite a few venison and moose recipes call for pork, to add some fat to the mix.

I don’t know why, but the idea of mixing ground poultry with ground red meat is off-putting to me. Which is inconsistent since I like Chinese dumplings made with ground pork and shrimp.


I’d second the ground turkey suggestion - dark meat.