Surprise! London Broil does not speak with an English accent.

You may be surprised (or maybe not) to find that London Broil has nothing to do with London. In fact, this beef dish doesn't even exist in London. It is traditionally a North American dish, particularly the United States and southern Canada, where it sometimes consists of a loaf of ground beef or spiced veal and wrapped with the flank of the beef. But hunt for it in London and you'll be exhausted in your search and left empty handed by days end. Do yourself a favor and stick with the more elegant and spectacular Beef Wellington during your stay there.

So, how did London Broil come to be called as it is? Why not call it American Broil or Canada Loaf? The search for the answer runs endless with no real results; therefore, if there is anybody out there that knows the TRUE story of how this became known as London Broil, you are welcome to comment on this post.

London Broil is usually prepared with a cut of flank steak. More recently however, other cuts of meat have been drawn into the fold such as Top Round and Top Sirloin. The term appears to be more the way this meat is prepared than the cut of beef itself. Traditionally, the cut of beef is marinated, then seared, and finally broiled or cooked over a grill. It is then allowed to rest for a short time to allow the juices to set, and then sliced thin diagonally across the grain. You can serve it with a light sauce made from de-glazing the pan it was cooked in with a half cup of red wine, or simply with a side of Dijon mustard, which gives each bite a bit more of a punch and tends to accentuate the flavor.

One thing to remember when preparing London Broil, do not overcook it! It should be prepared either rare or medium rare. If you cook it to medium or well done, you might as well return it to your butcher and see if he can pound it into some new leather sandals just in time for Summer. And if you got a three pounder, he might be able to squeeze a pair for a loved one as well.

There is a great tendency for beef to cook too dry and quickly under a broiler; therefore, it is important to watch it carefully, turning it every few minutes. Since it needs to have intense heat 3 inches from its surface, leave the oven door ajar with a knife so that the heating elements don't turn off and on. With the door shut, it will bake and you will have a drier and more well done finished product. Remember, these cuts of meat don't contain much marbling (fat), a component that tends to keep meat moist and juicy, so a broiler promotes evaporation. Again, if the door is shut, there is no where that evaporation can go, which can result in partial "steaming" effect.

The other method of preparing London Broil is to grill it. Grilling works well in that you get a nice searing and caramelization and any steam just escapes without it contributing to the cooking process. When grilling, make absolutely sure that the grill is very hot before placing your cut of beef on it. You will get much better results that way and your beef will have the nice semi charred exterior grill lines, while leaving the center a nice deep pink, just the way you want it.

There is a third method of preparing this dish and that is by simply heating a skillet to a high heat, then adding some olive oil, allowing it to begin to smoke and then placing your cut of meat in the pan. Saute it on high heat for about 3 1/2 minutes on each side for a 1 1/2 inch thickness.

Finally, an important factor to remember when you are picking out your cut of beef, buy vertical as opposed to horizontal. What this means is select a thicker cut with a smaller surface as opposed to thinner and larger in area. By doing so, you are almost guarantee that your beef will be cooked to perfection. Buy a cut that is a good 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick and you will be very happy with the results.

Whatever cut of beef you choose to prepare a London Broil, enjoy it. It is a wonderful way of preparing beef and a smaller cut will go a long ways. Pair your beef with green beans and mash potatoes or keep it light and serve it alongside a tossed green salad with an olive oil and rice vinegar dressing. And always have a nice slice or chunk of crusty French or Italian bread to soak up those wonderful juices.

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