What Is London Broil?
"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 London Broil 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.
How to Cook London Broil
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?
I know. I don't usually recommend searing anything with butter. If you're not careful, the 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.
Which Cut of Meat Works Best for London Broil?
The cut that's labeled London broil in the grocery store is almost always going to be top round. We recommend sticking with that. Can't find it? Flank steak is a good alternative, and we have a great recipe for it.
Tips to Ensure a Great Pan-Cooked Steak
Follow these tips to get the best results when cooking your steak:
- Season it in advance to give the salt time to penetrate the meat and enhance its flavor.
- Let it come to room temperature before cooking for more even doneness.
- Cook the steak in a hot skillet for several minutes, without moving it, so it can get a nice crust. This also helps keep the steak from sticking to the skillet.
- Use a meat thermometer to check for your desired level of doneness (130°F for medium rare).
- Rest the meat 5 to 10 minutes after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute.
The Best Pan for Stovetop London Broil
Success with pan-frying London Broil is all in the pan. We prefer well-seasoned cast-iron skillets or carbon steel pans for a nice, even sear. They're relatively stick-free and can also be transferred to the oven to finish cooking, if needed. Or use a thick-bottomed frying pan. If you're using stainless steel, heat a little olive oil in the pan first, before adding the steak.
Depending on the nonstick skillet you own, it might work with this method, as long as the nonstick coating is meant to be used at high heat. Otherwise, it's best to choose a cast-iron or carbon steel pan.
What to Serve With London Broil? Try These Sides!
Pan-Fried London Broil Steak
- 2 pounds top round cut of steak
- Kosher salt
- Dry mustard
- Unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cut the steak across the grain in thin slices.