London Broil and more beef questions
I used to eat London Broil growing up in the U.S. but when I go shopping now I don't see any cuts of beef labeled this way. What is it called now?
Also, which cuts of beef are tasty, not overly fatty, and not too pricey? I was looking the other day and wasn't sure beyond steak cuts like shell steak, flank steak etc... what my options were.
London Broil is actually a method of preparation rather than an actual cut. It used to refer to the top cap of the prime rib, broiled and sliced thin, but these days you would never do that. I've only seen it at one steakhouse and never in a Supermarket.
Today that preparation is usually Flank Steak, although in some Supermarkets you'll see a huge flat Top Round Steak referred to this way. Avoid these; they taste livery, they don't have enough marbling and the grain runs the wrong way. Stick with the Flank Steak.
As to your second question, that's tough (pun intended). The best steaks are the fattiest and sometimes the most expensive (i.e. the Rib). But the best balance of taste and lower fat and cost would be the aforementioned Flank and, if you trim it well and cook off the exterior fat, the skirt. In my opinion. Also check out some top sirloin... you may find it to your liking at a decent price.
Also, some parts of the chuck can be quickly grilled and won't be too chewy if you cook them fairly rare and will be very flavorful, but they are getting expensive. And of course more flavor usually means more fat. Remember, the more work a muscle has done, the more flavor it will have, so that usually means tougher as well. So it's always a balance between flavor, fat, tenderness, and price.
I've seen it in some places also. The problem with that is, unlike most other cuts (and as is clearly demonstrated by the contents of this very thread) there is no fixed definition of what part of the cow should be used for London Broil, so it could be darn near anything - whatever cut that particular market chooses to label as such.
What you probably are thinking of is top round steak. A better alternative is top blade steak, also known as flat-iron; this shoulder cut is better.
Unfortunately, it's not necessarily cheap. All of the good alternative cuts that used to be cheap are now in demand and thus not as cheap as they used to be.
When ribeyes are too expensive, that is to say they're not on sale at my local market, I turn to sirloin steak. It seems to always be reasonably priced, tender, flavorful and not too fatty. I find sirloins almost always are less expensive than flank steak or skirt steak; I think the demand and trendiness of flank and skirt has driven up their prices. As for shell steak, isn't that just another term for NY strip steaks? Those are usually among the higher priced steaks at my market. Sirloin is always the least costly steak, but is a good value.
The big chunks of top round my Safeway sells as London Broil ($2 / lb.on sale) make excellent stew meat. It does not taste livery. I wouldn't attempt to eat one broiled.
Many Chers replying have talked about Top round as being the typical London Broil cut. Here in south central CT (New Haven to Bridgeport) London Broil was often shoulder steak sold in about a 2.5" thickness. I buy them whenever they are on sale at $2.40 lb or less. I either marinate and grill or broil to medium rare and slice on an angle, or grind them for hamburger. After all shoulder steak is chuck with the majority of fat easilly trimmed from the outside. I get 85-90% lean ground beef very cheap.
In April, my local Stop and Shop had these at $1.88 lb. I bought 32 and stocked the freezer. The dogs have been enjoying them all summer right off the grill.