I Say, What IS London Broil?

A “London Broil” is a cut of beef that seems to have fallen out of fashion a bit, relegated to the back of the meat display, one of those cuts your grandmother perhaps used to make.

London Broil is one of those unique cuts of beef that is named after it’s cooking method, rather than it’s cut or location on the beef steer. The origins of the dish are unclear, but most definitely from North America.  It is virtually unknown in London, England. It is a thick cut steak, usually 2-inches thick, from a muscle that is not the most tender, but very lean, and boneless.  If not cooked properly, it could be very tough and unpalatable.

But the London Broil is usually a hefty piece of meat, easily satisfying a family of six, again quite lean, and economically priced, so it is well-worth learning how to cook it for your family or a dinner party.

Pick one up at your local farmers market, or at your favorite shop.  They are sometimes also labeled top round, or a flank steak will appreciate the same treatment.  Just look for a big, round steak that is at least 2-inches thick, and almost free of fat.

You can cook this gorgeous piece of meat as is, or you can marinate it for 24hrs with your favorite flavors.

This cut of meat is best cooked by Broiling, which means to cook with high heat above the food, rather than below.  When you set your oven to Broil, the top element will heat up, rather than the bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

To cook food using this method, place the item on a pan.  This is the ideal place for a Broiler Pan, which is a sheet with holes or openings to allow the fat to drip away as the meat cooks, with another pan underneath it to catch these juices.  If you don’t have a broiler pan, a sturdy cooling rack atop a cooking sheet will work.


Place your oven rack to its highest position.  Set your oven to “Broil”. Give it time to preheat, same as when you’re baking.  Arrange your food on the pan, then slide it in, close under the flames.  Broiled foods are cooked quickly, often no more than five minutes per side.  Generally, the food is cooked on one side, then pulled out and flipped over to brown and sear the other side.  Usually it is not cooked as long once flipped.  The result is a unique and luscious crispy, popping, delicious crusting effect that works well for meat, fish, even vegetables.  And it is the crowning finishing touch on a Texas Oatmeal Sheet Cake, melting the signature brown sugar/butter caramel-like icing.

To cook your London Broil this way, start with a steak that is totally thawed.  Season simply with salt and pepper or get as ornate with the spices as you wish.  Be sure to season both sides, and it’s okay to season a bit heavily, as the cut is thick and you’ll want to encourage the flavors to penetrate all the way through the meat.  Arrange your cut on the broiler pan and place under your preheated broiler.  Cook for 5 mins, then flip over carefully and cook another 5 mins.  Bring your Londn Broil out, wrap it with foil and let it rest.

 

Meats continue to cook after removed from heat, and the temperature can continue to rise as much as another 10 degrees.  Keep this in mind when figuring doneness.  London Broils should never be cooked more then medium-rare (130-135 degrees F), or they will become dry and tough.  After cooking, meats should be left to rest a few minutes.  Inside, all the juices have been forced from the meat due to higher pressures while cooking.  If you cut the meat immediately after cooking, all those yummy juices run out along your cutting board away from your meat.  Letting the meat rest for at least 10 mins allows those flavorful juices to re-enter the meat, so you get to enjoy it when you eat it.

A London Broil can also be cooked on the grill, same effect just upside-sown.  Preheat the grill, cook the steak 5 mins a side, and bring it out and cover to rest 10 mins or more.

A London Broil is best served sliced fairly thin against the grain of the meat.  Carve the entire cut this way for a party, or serve each plate a few slices for family dinner.

Next time you’re looking for a new idea for dinner, try this old favorite.  Again, it is economically priced, easy to make and truly delicious.  Left-overs can be enjoyed as sandwiches or sliced into strips and enjoyed in a cold salad, with noodles and broth, or even as a  stir-fry.  It’s sure to become a family favorite. Indeed.

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