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How to Cook London Broil

Learn how to cook London Broil from selecting the meat to serving your guests.

London broil can be broiled, grilled or pan-fried. To determine doneness, check the meat's internal temperature with a meat thermometer. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
London broil can be broiled, grilled or pan-fried. To determine doneness, check the meat's internal temperature with a meat thermometer.

Knowing how to cook London broil gives at-home chefs a tasty dish with which to entertain a large number of dinner guests for family gatherings and special events. London broil is a large, boneless cut of beef which is taken from the flank or shoulder of the cow. It is broiled, grilled or pan fried whole, then sliced into thin strips for serving. Because slices of London broil are thin and tender, they can also be used to make sandwiches, fajitas, casseroles and a wide variety of other meat-based dishes. Get tips on selecting, preparing and cooking a London broil.

Selecting the Cut of Beef

According to the Iowa Beef Industry Council, top round roast is the cut of beef that is most commonly associated with London broil. When selecting the top round roast for London broil, look for finely marbled beef that is bright red in color. However, some vacuum-packaged beef may contain a maroon hue because of its lack of exposure to oxygen. Also, look for beef that has very little excess liquid in the packaging and has not passed its "sell-by" date.

London broil is sold in varying sizes and thicknesses. A 3 1/2-pound cut of meat will serve 10 people.


Preparing London Broil

Leave any excess fat on the beef during cooking to preserve the juices and moisture in the meat. Apply a spice rub or marinade to the meat and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours, unless a certain recipe specifies a longer time to marinate. Many rubs and marinades have a high salt content to help tenderize the beef, since both the flank and top round portion of the cow are relatively low in fat and not particularly tender.


Broiling London Broil

Place the oven rack so that the beef will be 3 to 4 inches from the heat source and preheat the broiler until the oven is warm. Set the London broil in a deep pan and slide it into the oven. Cooking times will vary by the thickness of the beef; however, the Texas Beef Council recommends the following times for producing a medium-rare to medium London broil:

  • 3/4-inch thick top round: 12 to 13 minutes
  • 1-inch thick top round: 17 to 18 minutes
  • 1 1/2-inch thick top round: 27 to 29 minutes
  • 1 1/2- to 2-pound flank steak: 13 to 18 minutes

Grilling London Broil

Allow the grill to reach a medium heat before placing the London broil directly on the rack. Keep the grill uncovered during the cooking process. Use the following approximate times to grill the London broil until it's cooked medium-rare to medium.

  • 3/4-inch thick cut: 8 to 9 minutes
  • 1-inch thick cut: 16 to 18 minutes
  • 1 1/2-inch thick cut: 25 to 28 minutes

Pan Frying London Broil

Originally, the term "London Broil" referred to a method of cooking in which a top round or flank steak was cooked in a sauté pan on medium-high to high heat until it was medium rare. The meat was then sliced across the grain to counterbalance the "toughness" of the beef. Cooks without a broiler or those who simply want to add variety to their dish can still prepare London broil using this method today.

After seasoning or marinating the London broil, preheat a skillet until it reaches at least medium-high heat. Coat the piece of beef with butter, cooking oil or non-stick cooking spray to prevent it from sticking to the pan. To attain a medium-rare London broil, cook the meat for approximately 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Be sure that each side is nicely browned before flipping.

How to Determine Doneness

The best way to check whether a portion of meat is done is by measuring its internal temperature. A meat thermometer is the most reliable method of checking the London broil's temperature. According to the Texas Beef Council, the following internal temperatures correspond to beef's level of doneness:

  • Very Rare: 130 F
  • Rare: 140 F
  • Medium Rare: 145 F
  • Medium: 160 F
  • Well: 170 F
  • Very Well: 180 F

After it's done cooking, let the London broil rest for approximately 10 minutes. Then, slice the beef into thin strips at a 45-degree angle across the grain before serving.

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