Pan-fried London Broil Steak

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Top round steak, seasoned with dry mustard, salt, pepper, and rubbed with butter, pan fried to brown, then finished in the oven if necessary with thicker cuts.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

“London Broil” used to be a way of describing a method for cooking lean beef cuts such as flank or top round, which originally was to pan-fry it quickly on medium high to high heat, cook it only to medium rare, and then slice it thinly on the diagonal.

The term has since evolved to a method of marinating, and then either grilling or broiling the steak. Furthermore butchers now sell a cut of beef that is called a London Broil which is typically a couple inches thick and is top round.

London Broil Steak

My mother has a method for pan-frying her steak which she calls London Broil, which does not involve marinating. The steaks we use are usually an inch thick. Her secret?

Butter.

I know. I don’t usually recommend searing anything with butter. If you’re not careful, butter will burn. But if you rub softened butter into well seasoned steaks, and sear the steaks on a cast iron pan heated on medium high heat, just until you get a good sear and no longer, the flavor really is amazing.

Do you have a favorite way to prepare London Broil? Tell us about it in the comments.

Pan-fried London Broil Steak Recipe

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  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

We recommend using a well-seasoned cast-iron frying pan for this recipe, which can take high heat and are relatively stick-free. If you do not have a cast iron pan, you can use a thick-bottomed frying pan. If using stainless steel, heat a little canola oil or olive oil in the pan first, before adding the steak.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb top round cut of steak
  • Kosher salt
  • Dry mustard
  • Pepper
  • Butter, softened to room temperature

Method

1 Prep and salt the steak: Remove steak from refrigerator 2 hours before cooking to bring to room temperature (only do this with whole cuts of meat, never with ground meat.) Cut away any tough connective tissue on the surface of the steak. Use a meat pounder to even out the thickness of the steak if necessary. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt on both sides.

2 Rub steak with dry mustard, salt, pepper, butter: Heat a large, cast iron skillet to medium high heat. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels. Rub a little dry mustard into both sides of the steak. Sprinkle both sides again with salt, and with a little black pepper. Rub butter over both sides of the steak.

3 Brown steak on both sides on stovetop: Place the steak in the hot pan. Let cook for 2-3 minutes on each side (without moving), check before flipping to make sure it has nicely browned.

4 Finish steak on stovetop or in oven, depending on thickness: At this point, if you have a steak only an inch thick or less, you can take the skillet off the heat and just let the steak sit for several minutes in the skillet (tent the steak with aluminum foil). The cast iron pan will retain enough heat to cook the steak to medium rare.

You can use a finger pressure method to test for doneness. You can also test for doneness by using a small sharp knife and cutting into the center to check the color. Or, if the steak is brown on both sides and it is weeping red juice, it's done.

If you have a steak thicker than an inch-thick, you can finish it off in the oven, at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes or so.

Use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of the steak. Pull it out of the oven at 130°F for medium rare (the steak will continue to rise in temperature for a few minutes after you pull it out).

If you are using the oven method, when done, remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into it.

You want to cook the steak only to medium rare, as cooking it further will make it more tough.

5 Slice the steak thinly, across the grain.

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Links:

A great write-up on About.com on the origins of London Broil

Showing 4 of 75 Comments

  • Debbie

    Hi Elise,
    This recipe looks amazing. I’m planning to make this for Christmas Day. We’ll have 16 guests for dinner; could I make it ahead of time? Sear, then reheat later? Or should I cook and serve right away?

  • Janet Campbell

    gracias por esta receta muy buena

  • Teatime42

    First time with any peice of meat, my husband said it was better than anything had ever done. Thanks for making me look good!

  • Ed

    I followed the recipe almost exactly. The only thing I did differently was to warm the beef to more than room temperature by taking it out of the fridge 4 hours ahead of the time, putting it in a zip-lock bag and into the oven with just the oven light on to warm it up, and during the last half-hour before cooking it, turning the oven briefly on “warm” to get a 140° temperature in the oven. I then applied the seasoning and butter to the warmed-up beef, seared it each side for three minutes, and let it rest for about eight. Turned out rare, medium-rare. Could have gone another minute on each side. But…delicious! Thanks. This is now my go-to London Broil recipe for the cold, grill-free winter months.

  • Sabina

    Cannot get lb in Canada so when we pop over the border we make sure to pick up several steaks. Until this recipe they have turned out so tough. This is my go to recipe everyone loves it

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