Everyday Cheapskate: They'll Think It's Filet Mignon
From time to time, my supermarket runs a special on a cut of beef it labels "London Broil." It's a lean piece of meat, about 1 1/2 inches thick and tough as shoe leather.
You may wonder why I load up my freezer when it goes on sale for $3.97 a pound. That's because I have a secret weapon that turns flank steak or any other tough cut of beef into filet mignon. Well, not exactly, because it does not have all the fat of a filet, but it's so flavorful and so tender some say it's even better than filet.
But first, let's clear something up: Apparently, my store is unaware that there is no cut of beef called "London Broil." That refers to a cooking method that involves marinade and seasonings.
What I am buying is flank steak. It comes with no seasonings or marinade, just plain tough beef. And that's OK because I know how to fix that problem.
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 beef flank steak (1 1/2-pounds) (or cut of your choice)
In a shallow bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, onion, ginger and pepper. Place steak in a large plastic zipper bag. Pour marinade over. Zip the bag, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours if possible (two days is ideal), turning occasionally to keep the marinade well-distributed.
Heat an outdoor grill to hot. Grill steak for 7 to 8 minutes per side to no more than medium temperature, or 145 degrees F on a quality instant-read thermometer, like this ThermoPop (please, don't cook past medium, or you will be disappointed).
To serve, slice thinly against the grain on the diagonal. Serves 6. Recipe multiplies well.
How Marinades Work to Tenderize
A marinade is a combination of three basic components: acid (vinegar, wine, citrus, soy sauce, coffee) spices and oil. The acid is the key ingredient, as it helps to break down tough connective tissue in meats and poultry, making them tender. The combination of acid, oil and herbs/spices enhances the flavor. But it takes time. And the longer the meat or poultry sits in that marinade, the more tender it will be.
One word of caution: Once you've used the marinade to tenderize and flavor meat or poultry, do not reuse it. Once it's been in contact with raw meat, it can harbor bacteria. Unused marinade can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for later use.
Here are some general recipes for other marinades. Use them with meat or poultry. While the proportions are important, you can multiply these recipes to accommodate how much meat or poultry you need to prepare.
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup mustard
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons pepper
2 cups olive oil
1 cup strongly brewed coffee
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest, more or less
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at firstname.lastname@example.org, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.