bollito misto di carne
When it comes to boiled meat, the misunderstanding is always around the corner. If it is true that the basis of the various proposals is the cooking method, it is equally true that there are several proposals for boiled meat that you can find to choose. Today we will try to outline the main differences between boiled beef, boiled meat and mixed boiled meat.

Boiled beef

Boiled par excellence and the basis for the subsequent proposals, the boiled beef is one of the traditional Bolognese recipes par excellence. The cuts used are exclusively those of beef: no veal and no pork. Beyond the quality, which naturally must be level to prepare a boiled level, here are our tips on the cuts to be used:

  • the tip of the chest
  • the real biancostato
  • the priest’s hat
  • the walnut
  • the tender
  • the tip bow

Boiled meat

If we add veal, hen or pork to beef cuts, we are preparing the classic boiled meat.


Very often the lesso with boiled meat is confused. If it is true that the cuts of meat used for the two preparations can be the same (beef, veal, hen, pork), cooking is different:

  • in boiled meat, the meat is put into the pot when the water has reached high temperatures: this to allow you to get rich and tasty meats.
  • in the lesso, the meat is put into a cold water pot: this allows to obtain a broth with a more intense flavor.

The different cooking methods and the different objectives of the two preparations mean that, in practice, more noble meat such as muscle and royal cut are used for boiled meat, while for the lesso the poorest meat (ribs, tail, wings and hen’s neck).

One of the best known recipe books in Italy, that of Pellegrino Artusi, summarizes in a few words the difference between boiled beef and lesso.

“Lo sa il popolo e il comune che per ottenere il brodo buono bisogna mettere la carne ad acqua diaccia e far bollire la pentola adagino adagino e che non trabocchi mai. Se poi invece di un buon brodo preferite un buon lesso, allora mettete la carne ad acqua bollente senza tanti riguardi.”


Gran Bollito misto alla Bolognese.

Il Gran Bollito Misto is the most complete and difficult to find meat boiled meat recipe: beef, hen and veal are added: veal tongue and pork cotechino.

The recipe, as often happens with the most traditional dishes of Bolognese cuisine, was filed with a notary deed at the Chamber of Commerce of Bologna and, as for cuts of meat, provides:

  • Beef meat: choice of the “copertina”, the “fallata”, the “polpa” and the “girello di spalla”; in addition, there must be meat with gummy parts and long-fiber meat: the “doppione”, the “punta di petto”, the “culatta”.
  • Veal meat: the “testina”, the “zampetto”, which can also be pork, the “veal punta”, the “codone” and the “tongue”, which can be either beef or veal; the cappone, the cotechino and the zampone.

During preparation, it should always be remembered that with each cut added to the boiled proposal, one or more difficulties in preparation are added: each cut requires its own cooking time. Not only that: with regard to the Gran Bollito Misto, it should be noted that the testina, tongue and cotechino should be cooked separately, because the respective flavors would end up making the flavor of the broth too strong and the appearance too turbid.

The classic cart of boiled meat, in Rome and Milan

If you are in Rome or Milan, it will not be easy to find traditional boiled proposals on the menu. Dal Bolognese is the restaurant that brought the tradition of boiled meat to Rome, in the 60s and that, for over 5 years, offers its guests a boiled cart became a reference point for lovers of this dish in Bologna.

If you are in Rome or Milan, we are waiting for you to savor the taste and experience of the traditional large boiled meat mixture.


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