Published May 1, 1998.
For London broil that is both flavorful and inexpensive, choose the shoulder cut, sear it on the stove, then pop it into a blazing-hot oven.
Inexpensive cuts of meat are usually inexpensive for a reason: They can be unpalatably chewy, with livery flavors.
London broil (which is a recipe, not a particular cut of meat) used to be made with flank steak, which for some time was both a good-tasting and inexpensive cut of meat. Still good tasting, it is no longer inexpensive, which has led both butchers and cooks to turn to different cuts when they have London broil in mind.
To work as London broil, a cut must be made up of one muscle; otherwise it simply falls apart when sliced. Only a few cuts of beef meet this criterion. After eliminating a couple of those because they are hard to get, the wrong shape, or too expensive, we were left with the top round and the shoulder. Shoulder is not only the least expensive cut you can buy, but it also has a little bit of fat, which for the sake of cooking is a good thing. The best cooking method for us was "oven grilling." We preheated the oven to 500 degrees, then superheated a cast-iron pan on the stovetop. Once both were hot, we put the steak in the pan and then put the pan in the oven. In a total cooking time of 10 minutes or less, we had arrived at a delicious new take on a traditional favorite.list of recipes