Filipino-Style London Broil
Source: Steven Raichlen
SERVES 4 TO 6
2 medium-size lemons
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 bay leaves, crumbled
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 flank steak or piece of sirloin or top or bottom round steak (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds)
Rinse the lemons. Cut each in half and squeeze out the juice with a citrus press. Place the lemon juice in a large non-reactive mixing bowl. Cut the rind of 1 lemon into 1/4-inch dice and add it to the juice. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, oil, onion, garlic, bay leaves, coriander seed, and pepper and whisk to mix. Set aside half of the lemon juice mixture to use as a sauce.
If using flank steak, score it on both sides in a crosshatch pattern, making shallow cuts on the diagonal no deeper than 1/8 inch and about 1/4 inch apart. This will keep the flank steak from curling as it cooks; you don’t have to score sirloin or top or bottom round.
Spread half of the remaining lemon juice mixture in the bottom of a non-reactive baking dish just large enough to hold the meat. Place the meat on top and spread the other half of the lemon juice mixture over it. Let the steak marinate for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight. The beef can also be marinated in a re-sealable plastic bag.
When ready to cook, drain the meat, scraping off most of the marinade with a
rubber spatula. Cook the beef, following the instructions for any of the grills listed below, until cooked to taste. To test for doneness, use the poke method; when cooked to medium-rare the meat should be gently yielding.
Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let sit for 5 minutes. Cut the meat into broad thin slices, holding a sharp knife blade at a 45-degree angle to the top of the meat. Spoon the reserved sauce over the slices and serve at once.
When cooking on a contact grill (such as a George Foreman), you’re best off using a thick cut of steak, like sirloin or round (flank steak will most likely turn out well-done). Preheat the grill; if your contact grill has a temperature control, preheat the grill to high. Place the drip pan under the front of the grill. When ready to cook, lightly oil the grill surface. Place the beef on the hot grill, then close the lid. A thick slab of sirloin or round steak will be cooked to medium-rare after 7 to 10 minutes; flank steak will be cooked to medium after 3 to 5 minutes.
Rodolfo Lagua, a thirty-year California barbecue veteran of Filipino heritage, was the inspiration for this recipe. Lagua learned this way of preparing tri-tips from his friend Sammy Ariola, one of the area’s first Filipino immigrants. “I have no money for you to inherit,” said Ariola, as he lay on his deathbed, “but I’ll give you the recipe for my marinade.” Since then Lagua has won numerous barbecue contests with his Filipino-style tri-tips, raising thousands of dollars for Filipino community charities. He’s now working on bottling the sauce commercially, once again as a fund-raiser. The interplay of salty, sweet, and sour is pure Filipino, and the lemon rind adds an intense blast of citrus flavor. I’ve adapted my approximation of Lagua’s recipe to London broil. Lagua would serve the meat with boiled rice.