Flavored Fun: Your Guide to Smoked London Broil

I only learned to make smoked London broil a couple of years ago. I heard about it from one of my chef friends and asked for a recipe. I tried and I liked it so much that I decided to see how I could take that recipe up a notch. Now you can see my results!

In this post, I will guide you through the recipe and offer up all the tips and tricks that you need to know to achieve perfection!

Understanding London Broil

Before you can prepare smoked London broil, you first have to understand the basics of the recipe. For instance, what is London broil?

The definition can get pretty confusing. This is because, originally, this term was used to describe a flank steak. After that the name was extended to a top round steak and top round roast as well as other lean and thick cuts of beef.

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steak on a grill

These days, however, the London broil refers to a lean but tough cut of beef that is marinated and then grilled or broiled in an oven.

For this recipe, I am skipping the grill and the oven and heading straight to the smoker instead! Of course, a pellet grill converted into a smoker can work just as well.

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Should You Brine Your London Broil or Marinate?

When you smoke London broil, you have two options. Now, the most common method is to marinate the meat in a solution. This is the one that I prefer.

However, if you don't want the fuss or aren't a fan of marinades, then you may want to consider dry brining the meat beforehand.

The great thing about dry brining a steak is that it doesn't take much time at all. While you can let the seasoned steak sit for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator, you can also only brine it for 45 minutes before smoking London broil.

To brine, use kosher salt. Take a pinch of salt hold your hand high over the steak and sprinkle. Flip the steak and repeat this. Let sit for 45 minutes.

Then, pat dry and season with dry rub or Montreal steak seasoning before smoking.

Smoked London Broil Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 top round steak

For the Marinade

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of red wine or red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 tbs. of Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. of ground black pepper
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 3 tsp. of dried rosemary
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme or 3 tsp. of dried thyme

For Searing

  • 1 tbs. of oil

Method

Step 1

Mix the ingredients for the marinade together.

Place the top round steak in a Ziploc bag and then pour in the marinade. Place in the fridge and marinate for 4 to 8 hours or marinate overnight. Make sure that the marinade is evenly covering the entire cut.

Step 2

Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Take the steak out of the marinade and gently shake to dislodge any excess. Place on the grill grates and close the lid.

smoked beef and sweet potato fries

Step 3

Smoke for up to 40 minutes and check internal temperature for desired level of doneness. If it is reached, remove the steak from the smoker. Otherwise, continue to check every few minutes until the steak is done.

Step 4

Add the oil to a cast iron skillet and heat over medium high heat. When the skillet is sizzling, add the steak. Cook each side for 2 to 3 minutes or until appropriately browned.

Take off the heat and place on the cutting board to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Choosing Your Top Round Steak

Now, this is a fairly inexpensive cut as their is lots of connective tissue that makes it tough. This is why it is a good idea to get the best quality possible. Go to a good butcher for your top round steak as you will enjoy better results when you cook London broil.

Figuring Out the Marinade

The marinade is a pretty important part of smoked London broil. Now, you can certainly come up with your own concoction but remember that fat (or oil), acid, and flavorings are key here.

As for tweaking this marinade here, there are a couple of things that you can consider. For instance, don't have red wine vinegar, then red wine will do nicely. Just make sure to choose something dry like a Cabernet or Chianti.

Then, there is the matter of sweetener. If you don't have much of a sweet tooth, try adding just two tablespoons of honey, taste, and then take it from there. If you are trying to cut down in sugar in general, then you can omit this all together.

There is also the matter of fresh flavorings vs. dried ones. Personally, I prefer fresh garlic, rosemary, and thyme. In case you don't have them on hand, though, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried herbs will work. When it comes to the garlic and onion powder, though, I would use it little by little as these can pack quite a punch.

How Long to Marinade Round Steak For?

I will start off by saying that this isn't a recipe that you can make spur of the moment, it requires prep time and work.

That being said, you do have some wiggle room in deciding how long to marinate your steak. At the very least, let it sit for 4 hours, although 8 hours will be better. And, if time permits, then let it marinate overnight.

person cutting meat on a board

Keep in mind that this time period is especially important as this steak is so tough. So, the acid needs to be able to work its magic and this can take some time. Not to mention, you want the flavors to fully penetrate into the cut.

What Wood Chips Should You Use?

With such a small cut of beef, it is all about balance. Yes, you want a nice, smoky flavor but you don't want the natural flavors of the steak to be overpowered.

This is why I prefer sweeter options such as cherry or pecan. If you prefer something smokier and neutral, then oak is a great option. Whatever you do, though, steer clear of hickory as it can end you being too bitter for such a small cut.

The Smoker Temperature

I would advise against going over 225 degrees. For this small cut, even 250 degrees can seem like too much. It is all about low temperatures here.

Don't worry as you are smoking a relatively thin piece of meat, it isn't going to take too long. In some cases, your steak may be done in as little as an hour.

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Internal Temperature and Levels of Doneness

Most people agree that London broil is best cooked to medium rare or medium. Anything more than this and you will be left with a leathery piece of meat.

This means that you can take the steak off the smoker when it reaches between 130 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

In case you are going to sear the meat, I would suggest taking the steak out a couple of minutes before it is done according to your preference. This way, the steak can cook a little longer but still be done to perfection.

I feel like it is always a good idea to check the steak at the 40 minute mark. If the cut is quite thin then you may want to do this sooner. After this, check every 5 to 10 minutes to determine if the steak is done.

Searing Your Steak

While you don't have to sear your London broil, I certainly recommend it. It adds a crispy touch to your steak and the high heat can also add a slightly charred flavor.

Always use a cast iron skillet for even browning and use a vegetable oil that doesn't smoke at higher temperatures for the best results.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is London Broil Good to Smoke?

Yes, it is good to smoke as this tougher cut yields to the low and slow form of cooking.

How Long Does London Broil Take to Smoke?

Depending on the size and smoker temperature, it can take up to an hour or a little longer to prepare.

What Temperature Do You Smoke London Broil At?

It is best to smoke this cut of meat at 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Final Thoughts

This smoked London broil is certainly a dish that you need to try at least one. It is delicious and unique and make soon become your favorite way of preparing cheaper cuts of beef!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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