flank steak sliced on wood platter

Flank Steak So Tender and Delicious They’ll Think It’s Filet Mignon

From time to time my supermarket runs a special on a cut of beef labeled,  “London Broil.” It’s a very lean piece of meat, about 1 1/2 inches thick, and tough as shoe leather.

flank steak sliced on wood platter

You may wonder why I load up my freezer when it goes on sale, and quite often for about $5 a pound. That’s because I have a secret weapon. I know how to prepare cheap flank steak or any other tough cut of beef so it passes for filet mignon. Well, not exactly, because it does not have all the fat of a filet, but so flavorful and so tender, some say it’s even better than filet.

Know your cuts of beef

But first, let’s clear up something. Apparently, my store is unaware that there is no cut of beef called  “London Broil.” That refers to a preparation method. London Broil is a beef dish made by broiling marinated beef, then cutting it across the grain into thin strips. What I am buying is flank steak. It comes with no seasonings or marinade. Just plain, super-tough beef. And that’s a problem I know how to fix.

 

 

beef cuts

How Marinades Work

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 the tough connective tissue in meats and poultry, making it super tender. Even more, the combination of acid, oil, herbs and spice enhances the flavor. But it takes time. And the longer the meat or poultry sits in and absorbs that marinade, the more tender it will be.

 

 

They’ll Think It’s Filet Mignon

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1  beef flank steak (or cut of choice)

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, onion, ginger, and pepper. Place flank steak in a large plastic zipper bag, pour marinade over, zip, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (if possible, two days is ideal), turning occasionally to keep the marinade well distributed.
  2. Heat an outdoor grill to hot. Grill steak for 7 to 8 minutes per side to no more than “medium” or 145° F on a quality instant-read thermometer, like this Thermopop (please, no more well done than medium, or you will be disappointed).
  3. To serve, thinly slice against the grain on the diagonal.
  4. Yield: About 1 cup marinade. Recipe multiplies well.
  5. Store unused marinade (that has not come in contact with raw meat) in the refrigerator for six weeks.

Other Marinades

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 the amount of meat or poultry you need to prepare.

All-Purpose Marinade

  • 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 black pepper
  • 2 cups olive oil

Coffee Marinade

  • 1 cup strongly brewed coffee
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Mediterranean Marinade

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
flank steak sliced on wood platter

Flank Steak So Tender They'll Think It's Filet Mignon

You may wonder why I load up my freezer when it goes on sale, and quite often for about $5 a pound. That’s because I have a secret weapon. I know how to prepare cheap flank steak or any other tough cut of beef so it passes for filet mignon. Well, not exactly, because it does not have all the fat of a filet, but so flavorful and so tender, some say it’s even better than filet.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 124kcal
Cost: Varies

Equipment

  • large zip-type plastic freezer bag

Ingredients

  • ½ cup soy sauce See NOTES
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced onion
  • 1 tspn ground ginger
  • ½ tspn black pepper
  • 1 beef flank steak, or cut of choice

Instructions

  • In a bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, onion, ginger, and pepper. Place flank steak in a large plastic zipper bag, pour marinade over, zip, 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” or 145° F on a quality instant-read thermometer, like this Thermopop (please, no more well done than medium, or you will be disappointed).
  • To serve, thinly slice against the grain on the diagonal.
  • Yield: About 1 cup marinade. Recipe multiplies well.
  • Store unused marinade (that has not come in contact with raw meat) in the refrigerator for six weeks.

Notes

NOTE 1: Allergic to soy sauce? An excellent substitute is The best substitute  coconut aminos. It’s not soy, it’s not coconut-y. It looks just like soy sauce and tastes like it too! I use it to marinate and has the same tenderizing properties as soy sauce. I get it at my local Costco. Also available from Amazon.
NOTE 2: If some of the marinade is to be used as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat or poultry in it. However, if the marinade used on raw meat or poultry is to be reused, make sure to let it come to a boil first to destroy any harmful bacteria.

Other Marinades

All-Purpose Marinade

  • 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 black pepper
  • 2 cups olive oil

Coffee Marinade

  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Mediterranean Marinade

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Nutrition

Serving: 2tbsp | Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 1101mg | Potassium: 190mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

photo credit: Jeremy Keith 

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6 replies
  1. Shannon says:

    In a pinch, you can also use Italian Dressing. I used to marinate it in Italian Dressing overnight, pull it out when I got home from work and broil it in the oven. Easy and reasonably quick. Quite tasty.

    Reply
  2. Deb Blonski says:

    5 stars
    Flank steak? Uh absolutely!! It’s become a favorite with my family in the summer. Yes marinade makes all the difference in the world. Thank you for posting different ones. If you like sweeter than you can make the teriyaki or others that are more traditional. We get flank steak from Costco’s and cut them in half for our small family. I put the marinade in a freezer bag along with the steak and when I pull one out, poof, a great meal that only needs to thaw. It is the best kept secret, but now I’m going to have to keep my eye out for London Broils on sale. Always looking for a great deal!

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      Yes … I would do this under the broiler as you would broil a steak. With the rack set about 6-8 inches below the broiler element, 7 mins or so on each side. Watch carefully and keep your meat thermometer handy!

      Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      The best substitute (I use it frequently as our son is allergic) is coconut aminos. It’s not soy, it’s not coconut-y … looks just like soy sauce and tastes like it too! I use it to marinate and has the same tenderizing properties as well. I get it at my local Costco, but I’m sure you can find it locally … or just get it from Amazon.

      Reply

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