How to Make a Perfect London Broil on the Grill
A backyard barbecue doesn’t have to mean complicated rib recipes or burgers dripping with grease. There are lots of ways to spice up your backyard parties! From grilling veggies to searing seafood, the options are endless. But if you’re looking to add a refined and healthier dish to your dinner menu, the famous London broil is a great place to start.
Throwing a London broil on the grill is an easy and delicious way to show off your skills as the go-to neighborhood grill master. But what exactly is a London broil, and how do you cook it? Here’s everything you need to know about this traditional and universally-loved dish.
What is London Broil?
Despite its name, the London broil didn’t originate in England. Early restaurants in the U.S. adopted the technique, and over time it has evolved to refer to certain cuts of meat.
Today, the name applies to a lean, tough steak marinated for grilling or boiling. Strictly speaking, a London broil isn’t a type of meat but a method of cooking it. Most meat markets advertise London broil as anything from a one-inch steak to a four-inch roast. You can find it as round sections of beef or sirloin.
However, the traditional type of London broil is the flank steak, which is among the healthiest parts of the cow. A grilled London broil cut of meat contains 168 calories per four ounces, making it a popular option for people who want to make their cookouts a little bit healthier. One of the major benefits of choosing a grilled flank steak London broil is that it’s both healthy and one of the cheapest cuts of meat available.
Usually, there are no directions on the package for how to cook a piece of London broil on the grill, but for an authentic London broil, the meat should be marinated and cooked over high heat.
What Does London Broil Taste Like?
London broils are tough cuts of meat. If prepared according to the recipe, this tough meat is packed full of flavor. It offers a tender chew and an impactful beefy taste. Like any marinated meat, your meal will take on the flavors of the ingredients added to the marinade. You can also opt for dry seasonings as an alternative to London broil grill marinade if you’re short of time.
How to Cook a London Broil on the Grill
Start by selecting your meat for your London broil grill cut. Since it pertains to the cooking method and not the actual cut of meat, you can choose from flank steak or top round. Some may even opt for a thin grilled shoulder London broil steak.
Whatever meat you’re craving, make sure it’s thin and beefy. There are no real rules since the definition of London broil has expanded so much.
Ready to get started? Here’s how to cook your meat from start to finish.
Preparing the Meat
After purchasing your London broil cut, the meat will remain good to eat in your refrigerator for three to five days. If you don’t intend on cooking it shortly, freeze it, and the meat remains good from six to twelve months. Marinated London broil will remain safe to eat for up to four days in the refrigerator.
Preparation is usually a matter of removing the meat and going straight to the marinating stage. However, many grill masters feel that flank steak is too tough. Tenderize the meat by pounding your steak for an even thickness. Tenderizing helps to take some of the toughness out of the meat and ensures even cooking.
Using a Marinade
Traditionally, London broil begins with marination. The classic London broil grilled marinade recipe is balsamic vinegar marinade. The acids in the vinegar break down many of the proteins in the meat, offering a natural form of tenderization. \
Alternatively, you can use dry seasonings and spices. Steak seasoning is the most popular alternative to a marinade.
Fast London Broil Marinade
If you prefer to stick to the classic marinade, here’s a simple list of ingredients to include in your marinade:
- Minced garlic cloves
- Dijon mustard
- Balsamic vinegar
- Italian seasonings
- Worcestershire sauce
- Red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
Mix everything and store it inside a sealable bag or container. Add the meat to the marinade and let it sit to absorb the flavor.
Ideally, you want to leave the meat inside the marinade for at least one hour to allow the flavors to get into the meat. If you’re looking for a more robust flavor or want to make the meat extra-tender, allow the meat to soak for a minimum of eight hours.
Getting the right temp for a London broil grill is crucial — not just for food safety, but for preserving the flavor of the meat as well. If you’re using direct heat cooking, preheat your grill to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The internal temperature needs to reach 120-135 degrees Fahrenheit for a medium-rare finish.
The key to a perfect London broil on the grill is for it to cook hot and fast. Due to the type of cut, exposing the meat to too much heat will leave it tough and tasteless, regardless of how long you’ve marinated it. Use a meat thermometer and keep an eye on the temperature while cooking, otherwise you’ll lose that signature juiciness!
Your grilled London broil cook time depends on whether you use direct or indirect heat cooking. Regardless of which method you use, with a preheated grill, this meal cooks perfectly in a matter of minutes. Sear the steak for four to six minutes per side with regular rotations. Monitor the internal temperature until it reaches 130-135.
Removing the meat early is always best because a couple of extra minutes can ruin your steak. Allow the meat to rest for a minimum of ten minutes. While resting, your meat continues to cook without a direct heat source.
If you’re smoking your meat, prepare for a more time-intensive process. Figuring out how long to smoke London broil depends on your “pull” time. Generally speaking, smoking should take around 45 minutes.
Resting the meat can take as little as five minutes for thicker cuts and ten minutes for whole roasts. You can also cover it in tinfoil to continue cooking in its own juices after it’s removed from the grill.
As a tough type of meat, always cut your meat into slices by going across the grain. Cutting against the grain helps to combat any remaining toughness.
Tips to Grill the Perfect London Broil
Grilling the ideal London broil is more complicated than it looks. Even though the mechanisms of grilling this cut of meat are simple enough to understand, mastering the dish requires experience and feeling your way through the process.
If you’re looking to serve the perfect steak, here are some additional tips for making London broil on the grill.
Use Quality Meat
Flank steak is located in front of the rear legs and beneath the rib cage. This meat is thin and takes well to marinades, but how do you know you’re buying a quality cut of meat?
When buying a flank for London broil grilling, look for a uniform thickness. Generally, the meat should be thicker in the middle than along the ends. The color should be deep red with no holes, dark spots, or patches of brown. Brown coloring means the meat has been exposed to air for so long. There will always be a little fat, but if there’s too much, it’s a sign that the butcher hasn’t trimmed it properly.
The best flank steak is organic and grass-fed, so don’t be too tempted by the specials butchers regularly offer on this cheap cut of meat. Make sure you ask the butcher which cut of meat London broil is. It’s not uncommon for meat labeled as “London broil” to be different cuts from butcher to butcher.
Measure Thickness and Adjust Accordingly
Like all cuts of meat, the thickness impacts how you should cook it. With a London broil, high heat is the go-to setting.
With high heat, you should be looking for a thin cut of meat. Some of the best flanks are one inch or less. Thicker meats on high heat can make the outside charred — so the thinner, the better.
Use Balsamic Vinegar as Your Marinade Base
Balsamic vinegar is the classic marinade for a London broil for a reason. The flank is one of the toughest parts of the cow, meaning you need to go the extra mile to break down some of the toughness.
While you can use other marinades, balsamic vinegar’s high acidity helps to increase tenderness. It also creates a juicy texture and enhances the flavors of the meat. Generally, the best marinades for London broil use simple ingredients, such as Italian herbs and ginger.
Bring Your Steak to Room Temperature First
It’s not uncommon for amateur chefs to remove their marinated meat from the refrigerator and throw it on the grill. Instead, allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Unless frozen, this should be enough time to bring it up to room temperature. Steaks that start at room temperature are more likely to cook evenly while acquiring attractive sear marks.
Add the Meat at an Angle
London broil should be placed on the grill at a 45-degree angle. Cook it for a few minutes to capture the sear, and rotate it 90 degrees to develop a cross-hatch pattern. Cooking at an angle and regularly rotating ensures the meat cooks evenly. Unevenly cooked steaks will be tough and stringy in parts, taking away much of their juiciness.
Pair with the Right Foods
The perfect grilled London broil depends on the rest of the meal. Choosing the right food pairings can transform your guest’s impression of what’s in front of them. Thankfully, London broils works fantastically well with any recipe based on flank steak, so it’s highly versatile. But if you’re looking for traditional favorites, try pairing the steak with mashed potatoes and mushrooms. You can also turn the meat into fajitas for a unique spin on this traditional dish.
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