My Favorite London Broil Recipe

Favorite London Broil Recipe

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I am entering my London Broil era, and this super simple preparation may be my favorite way to eat it. It may not follow the traditional London broil recipe, but if you have a big steak labeled “London broil” and you’re wondering how to cook it, this post is for you.

If you look up “how to cook London Broil,” you’ll find a plethora of results, many of which suggest heavily seasoning it, tenderizing it, and then grilling or–you guessed it–broiling it. These methods nod to the intent of the original dish, which was typically marinated and grilled or pan-fried. While there’s nothing wrong with the classic preparation, I’ve found that I like to follow a minimalist approach with London broil steaks. My method is simple: salt, pepper, reverse sear. You need a bit of time in the oven, a quick rest, and just 2–3 minutes of searing. This easy method will give you a perfect medium-rare London broil every single time.

what is london broil

What is London broil?

Generally speaking, “London broil” refers to a method of cooking a tough piece of beef and is not a cut of beef itself.

In case you’re wondering, London Broil is 100% American and has no relation to London or England at all. It’s thought to have originated in Philadelphia and referred to a marinated and pan-fried flank steak sliced thinly against the grain for maximum tenderness. While there isn’t an exact answer as to where the name originated, it’s presumed that “London” was included to add a bit of prestige and make cheaper, tougher cuts of beef sound more appealing.

Back in the day, when people would go to the butcher and ask for a London broil, they were usually handed a tough, lean cut of beef, which was broiled under high heat. Home cooks in the mid-to-late 20th century may have skipped the marinade part or–perhaps as a vestige of the Great Depression–cooked the steak all the way through for food safety. This results in tough, chewy beef, which probably sullied its reputation. But, London broil continues to have its moment as a tasty, economical choice that–when prepared correctly–yields delicious results.

What cut of beef is London broil?

Grocery stores will vary in what they call London broil. Some will have just one cut of beef labeled as London broil or multiple cuts with the name. You generally will see some combination of the following cuts:

  • Flank steak: While this was the OG London broil, this steak has grown in popularity for fajitas and sandwiches. I have not seen many grocery stores label flank steak as London broil. Of course, don’t let that stop you from using it!
  • Top sirloin: When I think of London broil, this is what I think of immediately. You can buy top sirloin as a thin steak, a thick-cut steak, or a roast. I always use a thick-cut top sirloin steak when making my reverse-seared London broil.
  • Top or bottom round steak: These are also great contenders for London broil!

What do you marinate a London broil in?

A typical marinade is rich and bold and will always include savory, acidic, umami components. Some recipes incorporate sweetness into the marinade as well. Recipes differ from chef to chef, but a typical marinade will include:

  • Beef broth: This can be substituted for beef stock
  • Soy sauce and Worcestershire: From what I can tell, these appear to be the constants in the marinade. No recipe seems to be complete without these two!
  • Lemon juice or vinegar: You can get creative with the acid you choose in the marinade, but most recipes use either lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, or red wine vinegar. There are so many unique vinegar brands out there now that I think experimenting here would be so much fun. Tart Vinegar and Acid League both have so many interesting flavors to choose from! Of course, you can keep it classic with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, and garlic–either sliced, minced, or powdered–are the most common seasonings to add. Italian seasoning or rosemary are other options I’ve seen.
  • Sugar: Some marinades include brown sugar, but this variation is in the minority.

Before marinating, it’s common to prick the steak all over with a fork. This allows the marinade to reach the deepest part of the steak and allows the acid in the marinade to fully tenderize the meat.

Now, I realize that my title and method refer–colloquially–to London broil as a cut of beef and do not reference the traditional cooking method as much. I will update this post with a recipe for a marinated London broil at a later time. For now, I am focusing more on people who have found themselves with a cut of beef called “London broil” and are wondering how the heck to make it.

What cut of beef should I use?

This method works best for a thick-cut top sirloin steak, in my opinion. While you can use round steaks, I find them too tough without marinating. Round steaks and roasts–both top and bottom–come from the muscular back hip part of the cow. The entire round is divided into a few different cuts, including eye of round, bottom round, and top round.

Top sirloin comes from the loin region of the cow and sits right beneath the tenderloin. The top portion of this region is going to be more tender. Bottom sirloin steaks are also available, and these sit below the top sirloin above the flank region, so they aren’t quite as tender.

If you see a sirloin tip roast, be warned that despite the name, it’s actually from the round, so it’ll be a bit tougher. Confusing, right?

Across the board, my absolute favorite cut is top sirloin. It’s an economical choice in comparison to other cuts of beef. You can usually get them in large sizes, too–even up to 3-pound steaks–making them a perfect choice for serving a crowd, especially if you follow the reverse sear method.

How to cook a London broil-style steak using the reverse-sear method:

Regardless of your cut, reverse sear will work perfectly, provided the steak is nice and thick. Reverse sear works best on steaks 1½ inches or thicker. Reverse sear is a great method for large steaks because the low heat cooks the entire steak evenly first. Once it’s reached your desired internal temperature, THEN you sear it to develop a beautiful crust. You’ll get edge-to-edge pink every single time.

Because you’re using such a thick cut of beef, the sear at the end won’t have much impact on the overal internal temperature of the steak.

  • Step 1: Make sure you have a meat thermometer. Honestly, don’t even attempt this without one. Knowing when to remove the steak from the oven will be too difficult!
  • Step 2: Remove the steak from the refrigerator. Remove it about 30 minutes before you want to cook it. It won’t make a fundamental difference if you don’t do this, so don’t sweat it if you forget it. Your steak can go straight from fridge to oven, and it’ll be fine!
  • Step 3: Preheat the oven to 275ºF. You’ll be cooking low and slow for this one!
  • Step 4: Pat the steak dry. Once the steak is dry, season it all over with salt and pepper. You can add your favorite steak rub here if you like.
  • Step 5: Bake the steak! Place a piece of foil on a baking sheet and add a cooking rack to the baking sheet. You want to keep the steak raised up as it roasts so it doesn’t steam. Transfer to the oven for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Step 6: Monitor the temperature. After 30 minutes, begin checking the internal temperature of the steak. If you have a large steak, like my top sirloin, check it after 45 minutes. Cook until the desired internal temperature is reached. I remove the steak at precisely 127ºF every single time. For medium-rare, you can cook it all the way up to 135ºF. Bear in mind that the steak’s temperature will continue to rise a few degrees after coming out of the oven, so I recommend going a few degrees below how you normally eat it.
  • Step 7: Rest the steak. You don’t need to cover it with foil, but you can if you like. Simply allow the steak to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Step 8: Sear the steak. Heat neutral oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. You want it very, very hot. You know your stove best, so if you want to crank it to high to get maximum crustiness on your steak…go there! Add the steak to the hot skillet and cook for 2–3 minutes per side. Use a flipper to gently press the steak into the skillet to ensure even searing.
  • Step 9: Slice it up! Remove the steak from the skillet and slice immediately. It’s already rested, so no need to rest again!
how to serve london broil

How to serve the reverse-seared steak:

Pick your favorite steakhouse sides here! I actually served mine with a gorgeous zucchini and farro dish. Sour cream and chive mashed potatoes would be divine, as would a beautiful sweet potato purée. You can always keep it lean and green with roasted broccoli and spinach.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as I did! If you decide to make it, please rate the recipe and leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. Keep an eye on this post because I will update it in the future with a London broil marinade recipe of my own!

what is london broil

My Favorite London Broil Recipe

I am entering my London Broil era, and this super simple preparation may be my favorite way to eat it.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Inactive time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4 as a main
Calories: 350kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 pound top sirloin steak at least 1½ to 2 inches thick
  • teaspoons kosher salt more or less, depending on preference
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper more or less, depending on preference
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil for searing
  • Flaky sea salt optional, for finishing

Instructions

Remove steak from the refrigerator (optional):

  • Remove the steak from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you're ready to cook.

Prepare the steak:

  • Preheat the oven to 275ºF.
  • Pat the steak dry and season all over with salt and pepper. If needed, add a bit more salt and pepper to ensure that the steak is evenly coated on both sides and around the edges.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the raised baking rack on top. If you like, you can grease it lightly with neutral oil. Place the steak on top of the rack.

Roast the steak:

  • Transfer the steak to the oven for 30–45 minutes. Begin checking the internal temperature after 30 minutes for steaks between 1½ pounds to 2 pounds. Check at 45 minutes for steaks between 2 and 2½ pounds.
  • Once the steak reaches your desired internal temperature (see note), remove it from the oven and rest for 10 minutes.

Sear the steak:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons neutral oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers and is very hot, add the steak and cook for 2–3 minutes. Use a metal flipper to press the steak down to ensure even searing. Flip and sear for 2–3 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board.

To serve:

  • Immediately after removing it from the skillet, thinly slice the steak against the grain. Transfer to a serving platter. Finish with a sprinkle of finishing salt if you like. Serve with your favorite steakhouse sides, and enjoy!

Notes

Steak temperature guide:
  • Rare: 125ºF to 130ºF
  • Medium-rare: 130 to 135ºF
  • Medium: 140ºF
  • Medium-well: 150ºF
  • Well-done: 160ºF

Nutrition

Calories: 350kcal | Protein: 51g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 999mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @triedandtruerecipes or tag #triedandtruerecipes so I can feature you in my feed!


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