Published May 1, 2006.
Throwing a slab of cheap meat on the grill sounds easy, but the result can be more like chewing on a tire than on a nicely charred, tender steak.
Using a simple grilling technique on a large, tough (and therefore inexpensive) steak can turn the meat into gray, livery chewing gum by the time it develops a decent sear.
We wanted a grilled steak with great flavor, without breaking the bank.
Inexpensive steaks are often labeled "London Broil," a generic term butchers use to sell large, cheap steaks that might be otherwise be ignored. Nowadays, the label is usually attached to chuck shoulder, top round, and bottom round steaks. But each has problems: While chuck has good flavor, when it's thinly sliced against the grain (a trick that can help reduce toughness) each slice has unappealing seams of fat. Top and bottom round steaks are not only tough but can develop a livery flavor during grilling. We developed a four-step process to resolve these issues: We gave the steaks a salt rubdown, which drew juices to the surface of the meat. The juices became a concentrated brine that was reabsorbed into the meat, bringing out beefy flavors and masking livery ones. We also wrapped the beef tightly in plastic wrap and then submerged it in warm water for the last hour of salting. This step raised the temperature of the meat and so shortened the cooking time, giving the fatty acids in the meat less time to break down into off-tasting compounds. During grilling, we flipped the meat once per minute, which kept the long muscle fibers from contracting and buckling, making it easier to achieve a good sear. Finally, we sliced the meat diagonally into ultra-thin slices, dramatically diminishing chewiness.list of recipes