How do you cook London broil so it’s not tough?

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How do you cook London broil so it's not tough?



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London broil is a popular cut of beef that is known for its rich flavor and affordability. However, it can be a challenging cut to cook because it has a tendency to become tough if not prepared correctly. In this article, we will explore various methods and techniques to cook London broil so that it turns out tender, juicy, and full of flavor. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a beginner in the kitchen, these tips will help you achieve perfect results every time.

Understanding London Broil

Before we dive into the cooking methods, it’s important to understand what London broil is and why it can be tough if not handled properly. London broil is not a specific cut of meat but rather a method of preparation that involves marinating and grilling or broiling a relatively lean and tough cut of beef, usually flank steak or top round. Because these cuts are lean and less marbled with fat, they can become tough and chewy if overcooked or cooked without proper preparation.

The key to making London broil tender is to break down the muscle fibers and connective tissues while infusing it with flavor. Here are some techniques to achieve that:

Choosing the Right Cut

Selecting the right cut of meat is crucial for a tender London broil. The most commonly used cuts for London broil are flank steak and top round. These cuts have a good balance of flavor and tenderness when cooked correctly. When purchasing your meat, look for cuts that are evenly thick and have minimal visible fat.

Tenderizing the Meat

Tenderizing London broil involves breaking down the muscle fibers and connective tissues to make it more tender. There are a few ways to achieve this:

Use a meat mallet: Pound the meat with a meat mallet or a rolling pin to thin it out slightly and break down the fibers. Be gentle to avoid tearing the meat.

Marinating: Marinating the meat not only adds flavor but also helps tenderize it. Choose a marinade that contains acidic ingredients like vinegar or citrus juices, as they help break down the tough fibers. Marinate the meat for at least 4-6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator for the best results.

Proper Seasoning

Seasoning London broil is essential to enhance its flavor. A simple blend of salt, pepper, and your choice of herbs and spices works well. Make sure to season the meat generously on both sides just before cooking.

Cooking Methods

Now that we’ve prepared the meat, let’s explore different cooking methods for London broil.


Grilling is one of the most popular ways to cook London broil, as it imparts a delicious smoky flavor to the meat. Here’s how to grill London broil to perfection:

Preheat your grill to high heat (about 450-500°F or 230-260°C).

Remove the meat from the marinade and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Place the London broil on the hot grill grates and sear each side for 2-3 minutes to lock in the juices and create grill marks.

After searing, reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches your desired level of doneness (135°F or 57°C for medium-rare).

Remove the meat from the grill and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing it thinly against the grain.


Broiling is another excellent method for cooking London broil, and it’s convenient for those who don’t have access to an outdoor grill. Follow these steps to broil your London broil:

Preheat your oven’s broiler on high and set the oven rack to the highest position, typically 3-4 inches from the broiler element.

Place the meat on a broiler pan or a wire rack set over a baking sheet to allow the excess fat to drip away.

Broil the London broil for 5-7 minutes per side, depending on your desired level of doneness.

As with grilling, let the broiled meat rest for a few minutes before slicing.


Pan-searing is an indoor cooking method that can yield delicious results with London broil. Here’s how to do it:

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet or frying pan over high heat. Add a small amount of cooking oil and let it heat until it begins to shimmer.

Carefully add the London broil to the hot pan and sear each side for 2-3 minutes until a crust forms.

Reduce the heat to medium-high and continue cooking for 5-7 minutes per side, or until your desired level of doneness is reached.

Rest the meat for a few minutes before slicing it.

Sous Vide

Sous vide is a precise and foolproof method to cook London broil to your preferred level of doneness. It involves sealing the meat in an airtight bag and cooking it in a water bath at a controlled temperature. Here’s how to sous vide London broil:

Preheat your sous vide machine to your desired temperature (usually 130-135°F or 54-57°C for medium-rare).

Season the London broil with salt, pepper, and any desired herbs or spices. Place it in a vacuum-sealed bag or a resealable freezer bag, removing as much air as possible.

Submerge the sealed bag in the preheated water bath and cook for 2-4 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat.

After cooking, remove the meat from the bag and pat it dry.

Sear the meat in a hot skillet or on a hot grill for 1-2 minutes per side to develop a nice crust.

Rest the meat briefly before slicing and serving.

Cooking London broil so that it’s not tough is all about choosing the right cut, proper preparation, and cooking techniques. Whether you prefer grilling, broiling, pan-searing, or sous vide cooking, following these tips and techniques will help you achieve a tender and flavorful result every time. Remember to let the meat rest before slicing, and enjoy your deliciously cooked London broil with your favorite side dishes. With practice and patience, you’ll master the art of preparing this classic dish to perfection.

Additional Tips and Flavor Variations

While the core techniques mentioned above will ensure your London broil is tender and delicious, there are some additional tips and flavor variations to consider to elevate your dish even further:

Resting Time: Allow your London broil to rest after cooking to ensure that the juices redistribute throughout the meat. This helps keep it moist and prevents it from drying out when you slice it. A rest period of 5-10 minutes is generally sufficient.

Temperature Monitoring: Invest in a meat thermometer to accurately gauge the internal temperature of your London broil. This ensures that you cook it to your preferred level of doneness. For medium-rare, aim for an internal temperature of 135°F (57°C), medium at 145°F (63°C), and medium-well at 160°F (71°C).

Flavorful Marinades: Experiment with various marinades to infuse your London broil with different flavors. Common marinade ingredients include olive oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, herbs, and spices. Consider adding ingredients like balsamic vinegar, honey, or Dijon mustard for a unique twist.

Rubs and Seasonings: In addition to marinating, you can apply dry rubs or seasoning blends to the meat before cooking. These can add an extra layer of flavor and create a tasty crust. Be creative and use combinations of herbs, spices, and even coffee grounds or cocoa powder for unique rubs.

Slicing Technique: To ensure tenderness, always slice London broil thinly against the grain. This technique cuts through the muscle fibers, making each bite more tender. Identify the direction of the grain (the lines or fibers running through the meat) and cut perpendicular to them.

Serving Sauces: Consider serving your London broil with complementary sauces. Classic choices include chimichurri, horseradish cream sauce, or a red wine reduction. These sauces can enhance the overall dining experience.

Accompaniments: Pair your London broil with side dishes that complement its rich flavors. Options include roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, a crisp salad, or a simple pasta dish. The right sides can balance the meal and enhance your dining enjoyment.

Grilling and Smoking Woods: If you’re grilling your London broil, experiment with different types of wood chips for smoking. Woods like hickory, mesquite, and cherry can impart unique smoky flavors to the meat.

Cooking London broil to perfection is a rewarding culinary endeavor that can turn an initially tough cut of meat into a delicious and tender dish. By selecting the right cut, properly preparing it through marination or other techniques, and using the cooking method that suits your preferences, you can create a flavorful and mouthwatering London broil every time.

Remember that practice and patience are key to mastering the art of cooking this classic dish. As you experiment with different cuts, marinades, and cooking methods, you’ll discover your favorite approach to making London broil tender and bursting with flavor. Enjoy the process, and savor the delicious results you achieve in your own kitchen. Whether you’re cooking for a special occasion or a simple family dinner, a perfectly cooked London broil is sure to impress your guests and leave them craving more.


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