London broil and flank steak are two popular cuts of beef that are often used interchangeably in recipes. Both cuts come from the rear end of the cow and are known for their rich, beefy flavor.
However, can you substitute London broil for flank steak? Let’s find out.
What is London Broil?
London broil refers to a preparation method rather than a specific cut of meat. It typically involves marinating a large, tough cut of beef (such as top round or flank steak) and then grilling or broiling it until it’s medium-rare or medium. The result is a flavorful and tender piece of meat that can be sliced thinly against the grain.
What is Flank Steak?
Flank steak comes from the abdominal muscles of the cow and is known for its long, flat shape and pronounced grain. It’s a lean cut that benefits from marinating to help tenderize the tough fibers. Flank steak is often used in dishes like fajitas or as a filling for sandwiches or wraps.
Can You Substitute London Broil for Flank Steak?
The short answer is yes, you can substitute London broil for flank steak in most recipes. Since London broil typically refers to a cooking method rather than a specific cut of meat, any large, relatively lean cut will work well as a substitute. However, there are some differences between the two cuts that you should keep in mind.
- Thickness: London broil is typically thicker than flank steak, so it may take longer to cook through.
- Tenderness: While both cuts benefit from marinating to help tenderize them, flank steak is generally considered more tender than London broil.
- Grain: Flank steak has a very pronounced grain that runs lengthwise along the cut, while London broil may have a more varied grain pattern depending on the specific cut of meat used.
When to Use London Broil vs. Flank Steak
While you can substitute London broil for flank steak in most recipes, there are some instances where one may be a better choice than the other.
- Grilling: If you’re planning to grill the meat, London broil is a great choice since it’s thicker and less likely to overcook or dry out on the grill.
- Slicing: If you need to slice the meat thinly against the grain for dishes like sandwiches or wraps, flank steak’s pronounced grain makes it the better option.
- Budget: Since London broil can refer to any large, tough cut of beef that’s been marinated and grilled/broiled, it may be a more budget-friendly option than flank steak which is a specific cut of meat and generally more expensive.
While both London broil and flank steak are flavorful cuts of beef that can be used interchangeably in most recipes, there are some differences between the two that you should keep in mind. Ultimately, which one you choose will depend on your personal preferences and cooking needs.