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Tips on marinating/tenderizing London Broil

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  • chowbabe Jul 18, 2002 11:12 AM
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Firing up a London Broil on the grill this weekend. Last time I made London Broil, however, it was tougher than I would have liked. Anyone have any marinating/tenderizing tips to make this cut more tender?

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  1. I like to marinate london broil in teriyaki sauce, scallions and a little hot sauce...simple and delicious. As far as tenderizing, I can only suggest hitting it with a meat tenderizer a few times....haha

    1 Reply
    1. re: sourpatch

      Actually I always pound the hell out of my flank steak with a metal meat mallot, (talk about aliteration). Maybe it wouldn't be London Broil anymore? London Flail?

    2. My fave marinade for LB:

      soy sauce
      lime juice
      frozen OJ concentrate
      jalepeno
      cilantro

      1. I really enjoy London Broil on the grill. I marinate mine in oil, Worcestershire,sweet paprika, lemon juice, and lots of smashed garlic, The lemon juice has a tenderizing effect. Slice it thinly on the diagonal and should be fine. I'll see if I can find the exact proportions for you. It shouldn't be too tart, but it should be garlicky.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Pat Hammond

          Sounds good! How long do you marinate it and do you use flank steak? Ours have always been rather tough, but we love the flavor. Thanks!

          1. re: Donna - MI

            Here's my marinade recipe:

            Put all in a jar with a screw-on top:

            1/2 C oil, 1/4 C lemon juice, 1 T paprika (sweet), 2T Worcestershire, dash Tabasco, 2 t salt, 2 t sugar, 2-3 cloves garlic crushed. Shake it up, pour it on, and leave a few hours or even longer. I've even left it over night.

            I've always used a cut of meat that was, indeed, called London Broil. Maybe that's a regional thing?
            It should do the trick for any beef.

            1. re: Pat Hammond

              Thanks, Pat! Can't wait to try it. I will look for a cut called London Broil - hopefully named that in MI.

              1. re: Donna - MI

                Around here it's usually a shoulder steak.
                - cathy

        2. Thanks for the marinade tips! What do you think the optimal time is for marinating? Overnight? I know it makes a big flavor difference, but does marination length make a difference in tenderness?

          1. I doubt the marinade is the issue.

            Marinades are more for flavor than for "tenderizing"; it's the amoung of salt in them that can act as a brine to help retain moisture in cooking; excessive amounts of alcohol or acid can simply make the outer layer of meat mushy. Madeleine Kamman, bless her, has long tried to disabuse people about what marinades actually accomplish (if I remember correctly, she strongly advocates against using marinades made with wine or vinegar that have not been properly cooked and then chilled before use.).

            Often, a better result can be obtained by brining (for moisture retentino) followed by a dry rub (for flavor on the outer layer). And, if it is a tough cut of meat, grilling it indirectly after an initial sear on direct heat to drive juices inward.

            1. One method I use is to sear the meat, then cook at 200 deg...check periodically. The slow cooking will usually result in a fairly tender piece of meat. Of course, it is easier to do this with a gas grill, but if you are careful, can do with charcoal OFF direct heat.

              1. Don't forget to slice ACROSS the grain when serving. Makes a world of difference in the mouth.

                1. i know it sounds weird but rub some asian pear on it. makes it really tender.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: tissue
                    t
                    The Turtle (Bay) Dove

                    And I have a friend who rubs papaya on meat as a tenderizer. I have to admit when I've had her grilled steak, I've found it mushy instead of tender, but the idea might be sound. Do papaya and asian pear share some tenderizing enzyme?
                    --Joanna

                    1. re: The Turtle (Bay) Dove

                      And I have used kiwi for the same results -- which works. I got the tip from the dok suni cookbook.

                      1. re: The Turtle (Bay) Dove

                        Pineapple, too; the learning, however, is that most chefs would say it makes it mushy, not tender, though.

                        1. re: The Turtle (Bay) Dove

                          I just rub the pear on the meat before I actually marinade for cuts like flank or also pork.

                          A Korean friend of mine showed me how to do this a couple years ago and it has worked okay for me. We were making kalbi. I didn't know that it made the meat mushy. Wow. I will be more careful next time and be more sparing. Or not leave it for too long before cooking.

                          I think these fruits have similar enzymes that tenderize. I know that the enzyme in pineapple is called bromelin but I don't know if it is the same one in the other fruits mentioned. It doesn't work with pineapple juice though, gotta use it fresh.

                          I think dry rubbing would add a lot more flavor than a marinade, however, since london broil is not as tender as other cuts (rib eye), losing the moisture content might make it more chewy.

                      2. Here's an outstanding marinade for both London broil and flank steak. I'm famous for it with my friends, but have to give credit to my old school roommate's family for the recipe.

                        Marinade:

                        Dry ingredients

                        1 chopped onion per 2 lbs of steak
                        As many cloves of minced garlic as suits you.
                        Rub the garlic into the meat in a big wide deep dish or bowl. I usually use a large piece of tupperware, for the nice tight lid.

                        Wet ingredients. No particular quantities, but in roughly descending order:

                        Soy sauce
                        orange juice
                        Coke or Pepsi (or any other carbonated beverage, really - all I had on hand once was a raspberry Hansens and it worked just fine)
                        peanut oil
                        red wine vinegar
                        worcestershire sauce
                        chili sauce (to your taste, but don't be shy b/c the heat doesn't stay too strong)

                        Once you've added all this, the meat will be pretty much submerged. And, it will smell terrific. Marinate at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Before cooking pat it dry. DO NOT DISCARD THE MARINADE.

                        Sear the meat over high charcoal heat, to med rare.

                        Now, here's the key step. Put the marinade into a saucepan and bring to a boil while the meat is cooking. Reduce it down, strain out the onions and garlic, and thicken with a bit of corn starch or arrow root. This makes the most awesome, tasty gravy.

                        A testament. I recently brought 5 1/2 pounds of London broil done this way to a barbeque, where there was also a ton of chicken and skewered shrimp and way too much total meat for the group. Lots of leftover chicken and shrimp, but not a scrap of steak remained.

                        Enjoy.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Tom M.

                          I'm currently marinating my London Broil in Tom's marinade above. However, I don't have cornstarch to thicken the gravy. Does anyone have any ideas for substitutions? Thanks!

                          1. re: mrsjagirard

                            A rue? fat + flour, the fat can be butter, oil, lard, etc... Maximum thickening the shorter/lighter it's cooked the thicker it will be. Just add the above to it after it's cooked.

                        2. I have found buttermilk to be a great meat tenderizer-just add whatever herbs, etc you like to it for flavor.

                          1. Hi, chowbabe:

                            As others here have pointed out, marinading for flavor and tenderness are two mostly-independent things.

                            I am somewhat surprised that none of the many good answers you have received so far mention glutamates. These amino acids are found in useful quantities in things like tomato paste, soysauce, and anchovies. Just a little glutamate in your marinade (not enough to noticeably alter the *taste* of the dish) is often enough to enhance the "umami" savoriness flavor dramatically.

                            I also like the effect of evoo and red wine on marinated red meats. They do something to the structure of the tissue that I consider to "relax" it, if not tenderize it.

                            Papain (the principal enzyme in papaya) will also tend to tenderize cuts like flank, but you need to be judicious about how much you use. sherriberri is right about buttermilk, too.

                            My last tip is to use a vacuum chamber when you marinade. It both reduces the time for the cut to "take" the marinade, but also pulls the marinade more deeply into the tissue than it would otherwise reach in force.

                            Aloha,
                            Kaleo

                            1. well.... ummm... flank steak is not a tender cut of meat. a good marinade will help keep it moist when cooking, and you really don't want to get past medium, I wouldn't take it past medium rare. As a few people pointed out you wnat to be sure to cut it across the grain and slice it thin, around a thick quarter inch.

                              Finally I notice that the OP posted this back in 2002, wonder how the steak turned out?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                Very very well done, KaimukiMan.

                                Flank steak is not supposed to be fall-apart tender, and a marinade only seasons the outside crust -- which is what we want, actually. We want beef to taste like beef!

                                If you go inside with a tenderizer, you are likely to get a partially digested texture. But a good chew on a medium-rare flank steak, cut across the grain, with a little blood, is why many of us love flank steak in the first place.