What’s the difference between a flank steak and London broil? I see people ask this question often. It’s simple: both types of meat are taken from tough beef cuts. However, London broil actually means a preparation method for flank steak or top round. Flank steak, on the other hand, is a raw steak taken from the abdominal muscles of the cow. London broil is not a type of steak, per se. It can be a flank steak marinated, broiled, and cut across the grain. That’s it!
I know it’s confusing but I’m throwing the weight of my cooking experience to help you demystify the topic as much as possible. This post aims to highlight the differences between a flank steak and London broil. I’ll tell you the nutritional values, what you can do with each cut of meat, and how they’re prepared.
Although the flank steak and London broil have some differences, they also share some similarities. The most important of these is that they are thinly sliced and have lots of pink meat.
The meat used is taken from the back belly of the cow, the inner rear of the leg, or anywhere with a lot of lean meat with muscular connective tissue and low fat or marbling.
Below are some of the key differences between a flank steak and London broil:
As I mentioned above, the flank steak is taken from the cow’s belly around the abdominal muscles. It doesn’t necessarily need to have been prepared or marinated to get the flank steak name.
London broil, on the other hand, is a name for any large, lean, and tough cut of meat like flank steak, sirloin tip roasts, or top round roast. So, if your butcher says that some thin slices of marinated steaks are London broil, just know that they’re not necessarily flank steak.
Flank steak is a stringy but tasty part of beef. Meanwhile, London broil is an already marinated cut of meat that has been cut across the grain.
These mean two things: first, they will not be as stringy as an unprocessed flank steak, and London broil will be more tender because it’s already marinated.
Flank steak has more flavor and feels tender when marinated and cut against the grain. At this point, you are free to call it either a flank steak or a London broil.
In the flank steak vs London broil side-by-side comparison table below, you’ll find the nutritional values of both cuts of beef:
As you can see, the marinating process strips down some of the nutritional value of the steak. So if you want a nutritional-rich steak, just choose the raw flank steak.
If you’re avoiding meat with high cholesterol, the London broil looks better but remember, the meat used are lean cuts and not fatty.
So, ounce for ounce, flank-sourced cuts of beef are healthier and have less fat than, say, a ribeye steak or porterhouse.
A flank steak is also called a plank steak, bavette steak, and sometimes London broil (which is wrong in my opinion). Flank steak refers to a cut of beef that comes from the abdominal region. It is a very tasty piece of meat that belongs on every grill!
It’s not as popular as a filet mignon, T-bone, ribeye, or porterhouse but it is leaner and healthier than the other cuts of beef.
A flank piece of meat is usually processed into minced meat or sliced cuts for Philly cheesesteak recipes or sandwiches. Americans have long been grilling it as a gourmet steak. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s definitely time!
After you have grilled your meat and brought it to the desired internal temperature, just make sure that you cut against the fibers so the meat doesn’t get chewy and stringy like a top-blade steak. This makes it much easier to eat and enjoy.
Originally, the term “London Broil” referred to a steak dish prepared by marinating and grilling a lean cut, such as a flank steak or top round, until it was tender. It was then sliced into thin strips across the grain. However, over the years, butchers have started selling London Broil, which is usually a top round.
In any case, I think it’s wrong to use London broil as a term for a type of steak. It’s better to call it the London broil method rather than London broil steak.
The London broil is the best cooking method for a lean but affordable top-round steak. This turns it into a tender and highly flavorful dish. Some of the most common London broil recipes include stew meats or other recipes where you can use flank steaks. It’s also used as a substitute for meat where you need to use a traditional skirt steak.
The preparation involves marinating the raw steak in a balsamic and honey-based sauce and sous vide cooked to juicy perfection with precise temperature control. It’s then pan-fried at high heat for a nice brown crust.
The flank or top-round steak used is a tough, lean steak. When using traditional cooking methods such as frying, baking, or broiling, meat can easily become tough and dry if the perfect little cooking window is missed.
Marinating eliminates this problem. You’ll be able to tenderize the steak by leaving it in the marinade for some time. It also helps you get well-made steaks that are evenly cooked from edge to edge. Try it once and you will want to do it again!
To prepare the marinade, simply whisk your marinade ingredients. These can include honey and balsamic vinegar. Next, pour the mixture into a large gallon bag and add the steak. Finally, let the steak stay in the marinade for up to four hours or overnight and it should be ready for the grill.
Marinating for at least four hours will make the steak more tender and give it great flavor. However, it’s okay if you want to do this overnight. However, I don’t recommend marinating it for 24 hours or more. You’ll end up with a mushy piece of beef with little to no nutritional value.
They are not the same though similar, and can be substituted in any recipe. Both are lean cuts of steak. But you have to take note that London broil is more tender because it has been tenderized with a marinade.
While some cooks and butchers like to use the words flank steak and London roast interchangeably, these two cuts of beef are not the same. London broil is just the preparation method of a flank teak or any other tough cut of meat such as top-blade steak.
Flank steak can be called London broil if it has been marinated and cut across the grain.
London broil is a healthy lean cut of meat that’s tender and flavorful due to the spices used in the marinade. But it’s not as nutritionally rich as the raw flank steak.
For conscientious foodies, both steaks should not be mixed up. Even the name suggests that flank steaks come from the cow’s belly area. Meanwhile, London roast beef is just a preparation method used for various types of steaks. I can conclude that London Roast is the cooking method, while flank steaks are the most-used beef cut for the cooking style.