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tri-tip vs. london broil

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Can anyone definitively describe the difference between these two terms for beef? I have seen two different descriptions of them (tri-tip being one of two cuts from the front of the round, london broil as being a method of cooking top round, bottom round or flank steak) but have also often seen the terms used interchangeably in recipes.
Grilling recipes I've seen indicate either cooking directly over high heat (12-15 min) or alternatively searing each side over high heat then reducing heat to finish (30-35 min).

Anyone care to weigh in on this? TIA.

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  1. Others will chime in on the actual cuts, butchering, etc. I do know that london broil isn't always the same cut. Technically, I think, london broil is just the cooking method that has managed to find it's way into the name of a few different cuts of meat.

    what I do know is that when I grill the two, I find the result to be very different. Tri tip is much more tender and flavorful when grilled than anything I've done that was labeled london broil.

    If you are grilling, go tri-tip. you really can't go wrong...

    2 Replies
    1. re: adamclyde

      I can second that!!!

    2. tri tip is more well-marbled, and will be more flavorful and tender.

      You can marinate it, quick grill it whole, or cut crosswise against the grain to creat strip-shaped "steaks". You can also indirect grill it whole in a very slow covered kettle (like oven slow roasting) for tri tip that is prime rib tender.

      1. Cook Illustrated had a feature on London Broil last month. They said it's not a cut OR cooking method, rather a sort of marketing term that dresses up a cheaper cut of meat, like top round. It sort of depends where you buy it.

        1. b
          Brandon Nelson

          Tri Tip is the point end of sirloin. It is a former "waste cut" (it went into the grinder) that found popularity in the 1970's in the Central Valley of California. It used to be as inexpensive as cheap hamburger. It became popular in the central valley served as "Santa Maria Barbeque", served with beans and sourdough. I prefer to season it (@ 6 hours with a dry rub) Sear in on a high heat grill , than cook it to medium rare over indirect heat. Let it rest for 15 minutes and cut on a bias.

          London broil is ussual done with top or bottom round. I too have read the cook illustarted article, and it is quite useful and informative. In order to end up with a great finished product you need to give these cuts a long prep and close attention when cooking. Round can yield very nice results when treated well, but is leathery when overcooked, and can taste off if it doesn't at leat get some salt several hours before hitting the grill.

          When offered the choice I would recomend tri tip. It's more forgiving.

          1. I dry rubbed and smoked a London Broil over Mesquite for a couple hours over the weekend, let it cool and sliced it very thin against the grain. It made some of the very best steak sandwiches that I have ever had.