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Lean cuts of beef, like top round and flank steak (London Broil), are not worth grilling, and should not be grilled, without marinating them overnight first. Cooks say 10 hours at bare minimum. Otherwise, these dense, wood-like cuts are like chewing gum when grilled rare, and like leather when overcooked.
In other words, something you could easily choke on, requiring an annoying Heimlich Maneuver.
They have to be marinated in enough acid - vinegar or citrus -to loosen up the meat. Some alcohol - wine or beer - helps in addition to the vinegar. Many people seem to like to simply marinate these cuts overnight in pre-mixed Italian dressing. (I use plastic garbage bags for marinating things in.)
Even with a good 20 hours of marinating, London Broil needs to be sliced thin after grilling.
My new favorite is addictive. Dissolve a third of a cup of brown sugar in a quarter cup or so of water in a saucepan, stirring until dissolved, then take off the heat. Let it cool, squeeze a couple of limes for a third of a cup of lime juice. Grate three to five garlic cloves on a Microplane grater, add to the sugar and lime juice. Two tablespoons of Thai fish sauce, and as much red pepper flakes as you like; I keep the heat low, but it works fine with a lot of pepper. Add a little bit of olive oil, a few tablespoons to a quarter cup.
Shake it all up, put your flank steak in the ziploc bag and pour in most of the marinade, reserve the rest. Seal it up, refrigerate between sixteen and twenty-four hours, turn it on occasion so all the meat makes contact.
You can use the reserved portion to mix with some more olive oil and make shake up for the salad dressing.
Here is the world's greatest recipe for flank steak. Messy but delicious. Found it in a magazine called CuisineAtHome.
Flank Steak Skewers
1 1/2 to 2 lb flank steak
Chimichurri Rojo, follows
Pop flank steak into freezer for 30 minutes or so. This will make it easier to slice. Now make chimichurri rojo.
Assemble following ingredients and whisk together in bowl large enough to hold them and the flank steak.
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt to taste
After the flank steak is slightly firm from being in freezer, remove and cut against the grain into strips roughly 1/4” thick. Helps if you can hold the knife blade at 45 degree angle so strips are wider, but still 1/4” thick. Toss resulting strips into chimichurri rojo to coat. Thread strips accordion-style onto skewers. I usually get 4-5 strips on a bamboo skewer. Length of skewer seems to determine how many strips will fit. Works best if the strips are packed rather tightly together.
Now cook on covered grill until done the way you like. Original recipe from CuisineAtHome suggested 3 minutes on a side; I generally cook them a bit longer. You can use any remaining rojo to baste as you grill the strips, but generally there is not much left after the initial coating.
"Dear Mr. Bird Dog,
It is my understanding that trash bags are treated with some type of insecticide - please marinate that lovely meat in food grade plastic."
Me, I prefer the tangy flavor of freshly sprayed malathion. Your mileage may vary.☺
Folks here are missing an essential point: for only a couple of bucks more, one can purchase a New York strip steak or a juicy rib-eye, and have a much tastier entreé than any old shoe leather London Broil – no matter how many weeks it's been marinaded.
Word up, my friends: You get what you pay for. Go for the tender, tasty cuts. Your guests will be greatly impressed, for only about $2 a head more. What's your BBQ reputaion worth, anyway?