London Broil vs Flank Steak
For almost every meat dish, the cut of meat utilized in them make a world of difference. Each cut has its own unique taste and texture and therefore, requires their own cooking methods and times. The difference between London Broil and Flank Steak, although closely related, must be emphasised in order to understand the dishes.
What is a London Broil?
The London Broil, a popular North American beef dish, is prepared by grilling or broiling marinated flank steak and cutting it into thin strips across the grain. However, the origin of the name is unknown as the dish has no connection with the city of London whatsoever. Although the traditionally used cut of meat for London Broil is the flank steak, some also use cuts such as top rounds, blade roast or sirloin tip roasts in this dish. In order to prepare this dish, the meat needs to be marinated for several hours. It is advised to score the meat prior to marinating in order for the marinade to seep through to the tougher parts of the meat in order to make it more flavoursome. Then the cut is seared on a very high heat in an oven broiler or an outdoor grill after which it is cut in thin strips and served. However, in certain parts of Canada, ground meat or pork sausage patties wrapped in flank or round steak are also known as a London broil.
What is Flank Steak?
Flank steak is a beef steak that is relatively long and flat cut, derived from the abdominal muscles of the cow, opposite the loin. It is a sinewy cut that is low in fat which appears flat and possesses a strong flavour. Used as an alternative to the traditional skirt steak in fajitas and in the preparation of the popular dish London Broil, the flank steak can be pan-fried, grilled, broiled, or braised for different levels of texture and tenderness.
Flank steak comes from a strong, well exercised part of the cow and is considered best when it is bright red in colour. In order to maximise the tenderness of this cut of meat and to make it less chewy, it is advised to slice against the grain prior to serving. Because of its strong flavour, the flank steak needs minimal seasoning and pepper, salt and a light brush of oil when cooking it. Overcooking may cause in tough pieces of meat, and it is advised to cook flank steak to medium to obtain an ideal steak. In Columbia, flank steak is known as sobrebarriga, meaning “over the belly and is quite a popular cut. It is also used popularly in Asian cuisine and is sold in Chinese supermarkets as stir-fry beef. However, butchers sometimes tend to label center tough cuts of meats as the top round, sirloin tip, flank steak, or shoulder cuts as flank steak and, therefore, one must be mindful of the cut prior to purchasing it.
What is the difference between Flank Steak and London Broil?
- London Broil is a popular steak dish and a method of cooking for tough and lean cuts of meat. Flank steak is the cut of meat used for London Broil.
- Butchers tend to label the top round, sirloin tip, flank steak, or shoulder cuts as London Broil whereas the flank steak is the traditionally used cut for the preparation of the London Broil.
Therefore, we can conclude that while London Broil refers to a method of cooking, flank steak is the cut of meat that is mostly used in this style of preparation.