Discovering new cuts of meat and learning how to prepare them is an enlightening experience for any cook. Learning, for example, that a London broil is not a cut of meat but rather a method for cooking flank steak or top round steak may be an epiphany to the average cook. Finding out where the cuts of beef come from on the cow is another educational experience. The main difference between sirloin steak, flank steak and round steak is the different areas of the cow they are cut from.
London broil is a method for preparing and cooking flank steak or top round steak. To cook a steak with the London broil method, marinate a flank or top round steak in a sauce with a base of Worcestershire or soy sauce, garlic and salt and pepper for several hours. Cook under a broiler or on a grill for about five minutes on each side and set aside to rest for five minutes. Slice the meat diagonally against the grain and serve. Meat cooked London broil style is good for fajitas, sandwiches, salads, or as a simple dish with pasta or potatoes.
Sirloin steak comes from the loin, or lower back and side of the cow. Sirloin steaks are flavorful, tender and moderately priced. Sirloin comes from the French word "surloine," which means "above the loin." Legends say that King Henry VIII of England loved this cut of meat so much he named it "Sir Loin." Prepare this meat with salt and pepper and grill or broil to no more than medium or slightly pink in the middle. The sirloin cut turns tough when overcooked.
Flank steak comes from the flank, or lower side and belly of the cow directly below the loin. Flank steaks are flat and usually no more than 1 or 2 inches thick, which make them perfect for broiling. This cut is flavorful, lean and becomes tough when overcooked. Flank steaks are often mislabeled as a "London broil" cut and are best prepared with the London broil method.
Top Round Steak
Top round steak is an alternative candidate to flank steak for London broil preparation. Top round steak comes from the round, or backside, of the cow, directly behind the loin and flank. Top round has also been mislabeled as "London broil." This steak is economically priced and moderately tender. Prepare this cut with a marinade consisting of acidic ingredients such as citrus juices or vinegar, which tenderize the meat before cooking.