London Broil…  I’ve been searching for the origin of the term but keep coming up short.  But I did find out that contrary to popular belief, “London Broil” is not that thick ol’ slab of top round.  In fact, it’s not a cut of beef, at all – it’s a method of cooking.  Who knew?!?

And, the traditional cut of beef used was flank steak.  Over time, it became a marinated piece of beef, grilled close to the fire, sliced thin, against the grain.   Really.  Who knew?!?

I remember in my cooking days at the Hyatt Lake Tahoe, we had a bin in the meat walk-in with marinating flank steaks in it 24/7/365.  I honestly don’t know if that thing was ever emptied in all the years I worked there.  It seems we just kept adding to it.  But it was some of the best damned flank steak I’ve ever had.  We’d just push up a sleeve and stick a hand in there to pick a few out, as needed.

It was definitely a different world, back then.  Agribusiness still hadn’t taken control of our food supply and we still had standards.  It’s funny to think of basic, normal things we did back then that would flabbergast people, today.  For instance… we used to smoke and drink while working!  There were no such thing as latex gloves and we literally had cases of cold beer at our disposal at all times.  Customers would buy us drinks for grilling that perfect steak or just from appreciation for a stellar meal.  Make that a double Jack Daniels, thankyouverymuch!

But lest anyone think it was a free-wheeling party, we also had an Executive Chef, Peter Koenig, who ran that kitchen like a well-oiled Swiss watch.  I mentioned standards, earlier?!?  His cooks were clean, his kitchens were clean. We worked hard and we played hard. We had a lot of fun.  But there was no horseplay.  Trust me on that one.

Peter went on to become one of the founders of the Max’s chain in San Francisco.  He was a great guy.  In fact, he hired me twice.  The first time as a cook at Hugo’s Rotisserie right on the lake, and then, after a brief stint back in SF and a move back to Tahoe (long story) he rehired me on the spot and had me open the all-you-could-eat Ponderosa Buffet. I learned a lot from him.

Looking back, it really was a great place to be young.  And we ate really well.

So fast-forward almost 35 years and we’re grilling a big, thick, top round steak labeled “London Broil”.  I did a bit of a marinade in some Dale’s Seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Basic and simple.  Mashed potatoes, steamed asparagus, and a bit of mushroom gravy finished the plate.

I was going to do the traditional thin-slice-against-the-grain, but Victor said to just cut him a slab.

Worked for me.

It was good.