The Ultimate Guide to Cooking London Broil
At least once a week I get an email like this; “My family loves a good steak but it’s out of our budget. When I buy cheaper steak, like London broil, it always turns out tough and chewy. Is there a way to cook London broil and have it turn out tender and juicy?”
I’m glad you asked! First, let me say this for the “uber foodies”; London broil is a cooking technique, not actually a cut of meat. Now you know that I know that and now we may proceed.
Often on sale for under $3.00 a pound, the cut labeled London Broil is usually a top round steak. You can’t just toss it on the grill like a tender steak because London broil needs a little more love.
This cut is long and lean and chews like shoe leather if not properly prepared. If you like your beef well done London broil probably won’t make you happy. But if you like your steak rare this is very much worth the effort.
Here’s the secret: Marinate the steak overnight in a marinade that contains salt, sugar and an acid. The easiest marinade is a cup of bottled Italian dressing. Then let the steak come to room temperature before you cook it. Don’t cook it beyond medium rare. Let it rest for 10 minutes then thinly slice cooked steak across the grain so it’s easier to chew. That’s it!
You can pan fry or broil London broil, instructions to follow. Just be sure you preheat your pan or oven until very hot to get a good sear.
For this amazing recipe below, we’re going to BBQ.
London Broil ala Diva
What You’ll Need:
For the Marinade:
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger – grated
- 2 teaspoons garlic – minced
- ½ cup hot water
- 1 (2 to 3 pound) London Broil
For Garlic Butter
- ½ cup butter – softened
- 1 tablespoon garlic – minced
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Combine marinade ingredients in a zip top bag. Add the meat, pressing out excess air. Marinate refrigerated four hours or preferably overnight.
- Combine ingredients for garlic butter and refrigerate.
- Allow the meat to come to room temperature. Drain and discard the marinade.
- Get the grill screaming hot. Place your steak on the grill and don’t touch it for 3 minutes. You’re after those perfect crosshatch grill marks. Turn the steak a quarter turn (don’t flip it over) and grill 3 to 5 minutes more. Repeat on the second side, 12 to 18 minutes total, adjusting for the thickness of your steak.
Of course, this will depend on the size and thickness of your steak. You’ll need to use your own judgment but here are approximate times:
- 1 ½ lbs. for 3 to 5 minutes per side
- 2 ½ lbs. for 5 to 6 minutes per side
- 3 ½ lbs. for 6 to 7 minutes per side
- 4 ½ lbs. for 8 to 10 minutes per side
Check for doneness using a meat thermometer looking for a temperature of 120° to 130°. It will rise to 140° as it rests.
Remember it’s better to under cook this and have it a bit too rare. Just put it back on the grill for a minute or two rather than to overcook it and ruin it. Once it’s over cooked, there’s no going back.
Let it rest 10 minutes before thinly slicing and serve it hot with a pat of garlic butter to melt that buttery goodness on each serving.
Bask in your Diva glory.
To Broil – Place oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source. Preheat broiler so it’s nice and hot. Place the marinated steak on the broiler pan. Using the approximate cooking times above – broil steak, turning the steak over half way through the cooking time. Check temperature with an instant thermometer. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
To Pan Fry – Using a nice large skillet on medium-high heat, add canola or vegetable oil and place the steak in the skillet and DON’T TOUCH IT! Leave it for at least 3 minutes to get a nice sear. Use the approximate cooking times above for a guideline. Flip it half way through cooking time and again, don’t move it around.
Here’s the reason you don’t want to touch it; at first the meat will stick to the hot pan. If you move the steak it will tear. As soon as the meat cooks a bit it will easily release and it’ll get lovely and browned. Remember brown equals flavor.
Pan Sauce! The cool thing about pan frying is you can make a nice pan sauce from the lovely browned bits and fat left in the pan. It’s quite easy.
- After you remove the steak, you can add some finely minced onion (totally optional) adding a bit of oil if necessary and sauté.
- Next, we deglaze the pan. Depending on how much sauce you want to make; add between a half cup to a cup of liquid (wine, broth, stock or a combo) and use a wooden spoon to scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Let this come to a simmer and reduce to concentrate the flavor. I like to add a splash of Worcestershire or soy sauce because I don’t know when to quit.
- Add a tablespoon of butter and stir that into the sauce.
- Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve this over your sliced steak.
Diva Tip: When London Broil is on sale; stock up. Put the marinade and the steak in a zip top bag and pop it in the freezer. The steak will marinate while it defrosts.
For more tips on stocking up – Taking Stock of Stocking Up
Love your leftovers! To get the sale price on London broil you usually have to buy a max pack, meaning you get two large cuts of meat. You can choose to make one now and freeze the second. Or, you can cook them both and use the second piece as planned leftovers. Some ideas:
Steak Salad – Thinly slice the steak and serve over a big green salad. You can warm the steak or serve it cold. Adding Bleu cheese dressing makes me think of the salads served in very good steak houses.
Steak and Pommes Frites – Pretend you’re at a bistro in Paris and serve your gently re-warmed sliced steak with a mound of pommes frites or French fries. Short cut – Spray shoestring French fries with cooking spray and bake until very crisp adding a dusting of course kosher salt so they resemble the lovechild of a French fry and a potato chip.
French Dip – Dipping these gorgeous beefy sandwiches in onion soup is the epitome of comfort food. To make your soup, use a short cut by heating one can of condensed French onion soup with one can of beef broth and one can of water on the stove top. If you need more quantity add more beef broth. Slice your steak as thinly as humanly possible and quickly re-warm in barely simmering soup. You don’t want to cook it, just warm it. Place your drippy sliced steak on French rolls or soft sandwich rolls. Serve the sandwich with a bowl of soup for dipping and slurping. A match made in heaven!
Shortcut Beef and Broccoli Stir-fry – Start by making some rice. Defrost one bag frozen broccoli and one bag stir fry veggies in the microwave. Heat a skillet on medium and sauté one small thinly sliced onion. Add the defrosted veggies and heat through. Meanwhile slice leftover steak in strips. Add your favorite teriyaki sauce to the veggies in the skillet and combine. Then add the beef. Add about ¼ cup of water and cover the skillet to gently steam the beef to reheat. Serve the beef and veggies over rice.