Q: I like to grill outside and keep my dish lowfat. I get tired of chicken and fish. Is beef a lowfat food, or is there any other main dish that I can try?
A: Lucky for you, grilling is a low-fat cooking method. Usually, what you grill determines the amount of fat in the dish. Beef, unfortunately is high in saturated fat. And, too much saturated fat will send your blood cholesterol through the roof.
One cut of beef that I grill now and then, is flank steak. Flank steak is relatively lean, without surface fat or much muscle fat. You should know that flank steak is the traditional cut for true London Broil. London Broil is a method for cooking and slicing flank steak. London Broil is not a cut of beef. Often, you might find beef round steak labeled London Broil in the meat case — beware! Unless that beef round is perfectly cooked and sliced, it will be tough to chew.
Flank steak suits the London Broil method perfectly. Before you proceed, note the direction of the grain in the meat. All grain goes in one direction on a flank steak, making it an ideal candidate for slicing the cooked steak.
You can marinate the steak in Worcestershire sauce or tamari soy sauce in the refrigerator for an hour or two before cooking. Grill the whole steak 6-10 minutes on each side, depending on heat, thickness and desired doneness. Press the steak with your finger, after 5-6 minutes on each side. If it is soft, it is rare. A springy firmness, means medium. Firm and hard mean the meat is well done. Cook more, if needed. It is good to aim for medium when cooking flank steak for London Broil.
When cooking is finished, remove flank steak from the grill and let stand five minutes. This redistributes the juices throughout the meat, for a moist meal. If you cut it immediately, the juices end up on the cutting board. Again, note the direction of the grain in the meat. With a sharp, long-bladed knife, cut ¼-inch slices across the grain. Slicing across the grain guarantees tender eating. You’ll be amazed at how many slices you can cut from a small flank steak. One steak really goes a long way toward feeding a group.
If you are serving the sliced London Broil on a Kaiser roll, the condiment of choice is horseradish mayonnaise. Just mix the two ingredients to taste. For a more elegant meal, overlap 3-4 slices of London Broil on a dinner plate and top it with mushroom gravy. I like to slice fresh mushrooms and cook them with a jar of low-fat roasted beef gravy.
Remember, London Broil is a method for cooking and slicing meat. And you should know there is an alternative to beef. Ask your butcher for a turkey London Broil. This is the latest rage for low-fat grilling. One side of a boneless turkey breast is removed from the turkey breastbone. Marinate it and cook it on the grill before slicing. Serve it the same way as traditional London Broil. There is one precaution: Always cook turkey London Broil well done. You cannot serve turkey meat cooked medium or rare. To fully cook the turkey, I always cover the grill. A medium heat setting on the grill helps, because you need to cook turkey longer than beef. In a covered grill, I cook a small, boneless turkey breast 10-12 minutes on both sides. A meat thermometer should register at least 180°F. My last test for doneness is absolute — cut a thick slice of meat off the thickest end of the turkey breast. The meat should be opaque-white throughout, with no sign of red meat. If meat is red or dark in the center, return the breast to the covered grill and cook an additional 5-7 minutes.
Have fun and be careful when cooking and serving food during the hot weather season. Enjoy the weather and pay attention to food safety precautions.